Sunday January 21, 2018

Daman & Diu: Tourist haven or national heritage?

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By Akash Shukla

While you try walking barefoot on Sun kissed sands and the gentle wave effortlessly washes over your feet and crumbles your stress away, don’t forget to say this in Portuguese– Ilha de Calma (Welcome to the land of Calm).

If there is heaven on earth, it’s got to have a beach attached to it. How about Devka Beach, Nani Daman, Nagoa Beach (Diu), and Jampore Beach all bundled at one spot in India?

Bound by the river Kolak in north, Gujarat’s Valsad district in east, river Kalu on south and Arabian Sea in west, it is difficult to decipher whether Daman is loved more for parasailing, water scooter riding, and boat sailing or is it a symbolic witness to tourists’ fetish for exploring Fort Moti Daman and Fortress of Panikota.

 

Fort of Moti

Fort of Moti

Erected by an Abyssinian chief who ruled over the area before the settlement of Portuguese, the remarkable historical sight took two decades before the colossal structure could actually see the light of the day in 1559 AD. The northern gateway has inscriptions embedded on it and the writings embedded within the gate walls give the actual date of fort construction.

Traipsing a huge land area, the fort has two entrance passages and 10 citadels. On the outside, the fort is besieged by a moat with emerging projections of about 500-feet high shaped as citadels. If this much of security wasn’t enough, the insides of the fort have army barracks and still it retains an archaic charm with lush green surroundings for perennial visitors.

Fort of Nani

Fort of Nani

Comparatively, though, it’s a smaller fort, the gate facing river showcases exquisite statue of St Jerome. The cynosure of the fort is Lady of the Sea Church. Stretched in an area of around 12,250 square metres, Nani Daman fort, Nani Daman jetty and Gandhi Park are popular sightseeing destinations within the region. Along the Ganga bridge, light house gardens enhance the beauty of the already enchanting region.

Fortress of Panikota

Fortress of Panikota

Offering a breathtaking view of Diu and being located at the mouth of a creek, Fortress of Panikota is situated near the Diu Fort and is famously known as Fortim do Mar. Located about a nautical mile from the jetty of Diu, the fortress is an unparalleled stone work and anyone can reach there by a canoe. The fortress bears witness to a kaleidoscopic view of Diu Island and the peaceable sea.

Behold a small chapel and a lighthouse in Fortress of Panikota and the latter is consecrated to Lady of the Sea. The fortress is essential as it bares the sociocultural vitality of this part of the world.

Church of our Lady of the Rosary

Church of our Lady of the Rosary

Woodcarving, flower motifs and golden cherubs are the sights to behold for long hours without batting an eyelid. Yes! We are talking about the Daman Church of our Lady of the Rosary, which dates back to the 17th century.

Under Portuguese influence in 16th century, the wood carving in this glorious chapel proudly stands as one of the most refined tasks and is a true feast for eyes.

Apart from the amazing wood work, the chapel’s ceiling stands adorned with beautiful rose petals, colored in hundreds of hues. The splendor is further enriched and magnified with golden cherubs that bestow benediction. Illustration of the stories from the lives of the holy saints is another magnificence to behold at the site and it is projected on lateral walls of the Apse.

Jain temple

Jain temple

The temple can be spotted in the northern region of Nani Daman. The temple unfolds magnificent sights to the refined mural paintings and will completely enthrall you. Most of these paintings are of 18th century. The temple unravels sights that are beyond comparison and depict life of Mahavira, a highly venerated Jain saint who lived in 50 BC.

As the sight promises to offer you heights of joy with depths of Indian culture, remember that the soulful destination is 67 km from Gir, 90 km from Somnath, barely a quick flight from Mumbai and a short road trip from Ahmedabad.

 

(Pictures for representational purpose only)

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Kashmir becomes a favourite again this New Year’s Eve

"It is just like the old times in Gulmarg. I cannot fully express my joy when I see the numbers of tourists here today," said Abdul Gaffar, a pony owner here.

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Kashmir. Pixabay
  • This new year starts with a bang for Tourism industry in Kashmir as it experiences the sudden boom of the tourists.
  • Hoteliers and Resort owners are especially overjoyed with the prospect of increased Tourism.
  • Increased tourism is also indicating an increase in Kashmir’s economy.

New Year couldn’t be likely to begin on a better note for the tourist industry of Kashmir. This world-famous ski resort was completely sold out on Saturday as scores of tourists from far and near thronged the place to start celebrations on New Year’s Eve on Sunday.

“It is a great omen for the tourist industry of the state. Gulmarg is completely sold out as hundreds of tourists have arrived here to welcome 2018.

“All hotels and tourist huts are occupied as more arrivals are expected tomorrow as well. “We have domestic tourists as well as foreigners from Thailand, Malaysia and some other countries.

“Not only Gulmarg, all high-end hotels and those in the middle class range are completely booked in Srinagar city. Pahalgam tourist resort also has appreciable presence of tourists these days,” state Director, Tourism, Mehmood Shah told IANS.

He said that aggressive and realistic tourist wooing campaigns through social media by the Tourist Department and other stakeholders have started paying dividends now.

“What is encouraging is that domestic tourists from south India are now looking at Kashmir as a holiday and honeymoon destination. Hopefully, we will be having a wonderful tourist season this winter and during the coming spring and summer months,” Shah said.

2017 had not begun on a good note for the local tourist industry. Lesser number of tourists came to Kashmir during this year, but the sudden boom noticed around the New Year’s Eve, signifies that 2018 will be a welcome year.

 Kashmir tourism is seeing a boom after a year of stagnancy. Wikimedia
Kashmir tourism is seeing a boom after a year of stagnancy. Wikimedia

“We had very little occupancy during peak tourist periods in 2017, but given the number of tourist arrivals towards the year end, we are hopeful of a great season ahead”, said Altaf Ahmad, manager of Hilltop Hotel here.

Managers at the highend Khybir Resort also expressed satisfaction at the tourist arrivals around the year end.

Even when the temperature outside is around minus six degrees Celsius, Gulmarg is abuzz with life.

The increased tourism is a matter of joy for the Kashmir's economy. Wikimedia Commons
The increased tourism is a matter of joy for the Kashmir’s economy. Wikimedia Commons

Taxi operators, ponywallahs and others directly or indirectly associated with the tourist industry in Gulmarg hope the tempo sustains and 2018 proves to be a blessing for the tourist industry.

“It is just like the old times in Gulmarg. I cannot fully express my joy when I see the numbers of tourists here today,” said Abdul Gaffar, a pony owner here.

Hoteliers in Srinagar especially those around the Dal Lake are busy attending to their guests.

“It is great to see guests arrive in such numbers at this time of the year,” said a hotelier in the Boulevard Road area on the banks of the lake. IANS