Wednesday October 17, 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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Hurricane: Development of Beachfront areas Not Safe in US

US Beach Building Persists Despite Nature’s Grip

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Beach
FILE - Homes severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy are seen along the beach in Mantoloking, N.J., April 25, 2013. Mantoloking and Ocean City, N.J., planned to go to court to seize control of narrow strips of beachfront land from property owners blocking a desperately needed protective dune system along New Jersey's 127-mile coast. (VOA)

When a hurricane comes ashore, few images are more iconic than a million-dollar beach house collapsing into the sea.

Undermined by the ferocity of water, shifting sands and sometimes bad construction, waterfront development takes a beating each time a powerful storm barrels into the Eastern Seaboard.

So why do people keep building on the beach?

“Development of beachfront areas is controversial,” writes Florence Duarte of Georgia State University in the report Responsible Beachfront Development. “On one side, a growing human population demands the use of such areas for recreation and work. On the other, environmentalists and biologists hope to preserve these habitats.”

Beach
Sandbags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast. (VOA)

A balance

The balance between the human desire to work and play on the water — and developing the waterfront responsibly — often is tested during hurricane and storm season. Despite increased intensity and frequency of storms, rising sea levels and other weather catastrophes, the beach remains the most desirable of destinations: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that more than half the U.S. population lives along a coast, and 180 million people visit each year.

Housing and rental prices along East Coast beaches in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York’s Long Island and Cape Cod in Massachusetts exceed the national average because of the views, fresh air and access to water activities. The point of sitting for hours in traffic on a hot, summer Friday is to get away from developed, urban, asphalt centers for the weekend.

Development tapped out

But many resort destinations are reaching maximum development.

In Ocean City, Maryland, a 14-kilometer-long barrier island that is home to about 7,000 permanent residents in the off-season, swells to more than 300,000 vacationers in the summer and on holidays.

“The development has pretty much tapped out,” said J.D. Wells, a Realtor and lifelong Ocean City resident. “The oceanfront is completely developed. Any new construction being done is replacing a tear-down that was already there.”

Properties that sit along the waterfront or have a view of the ocean can fetch more than double equivalent properties inland, Wells said.

Building
FILE – People walk along a beach near damaged beachfront homes, March 11, 2018, in Marshfield, Mass. The Northeast is bracing for its third nor’easter in fewer than two weeks. (VOA)

Views and taxes

Towns and cities collect substantial tax revenue from those waterfront and water-view properties, sometimes charging homeowners tens of thousands of dollars more in taxes for the luxury of owning beachfront property. In many areas that have seasonal ebbs and flows, tax revenue from those properties can fill municipal coffers that benefit permanent residents, many of whom cannot afford the waterfront prices of seasonal residents.

“Over the past few decades, society’s wealth, attitude and desires have shifted and floodplains are now being developed in more upscale ways,” said Andy Coburn, associate director for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

“We can’t overlook the demand for coastal land, no matter how vulnerable or risky,” he added.

To protect beachfront properties, some towns have pushed back on nature by replacing sand stolen by storms. And while beach replenishment is expensive — Virginia Beach, Virginia, set aside $10 million for six years of sand replenishment — it is not permanent. The ocean is supposed to pound away at the beach, dragging it back out to sea.

In New Jersey, the state earmarked $1.2 billion for projects that reduce hurricane and storm damage, manage coastal storm risk and replenish the beaches that generate nearly half of the state’s $45.4 billion in annual tourism dollars.

Beach
FILE – The remnants of a home leveled by Hurricane Matthew sit along the beachfront as Chief of Police George Brothers talks on the radio after Hurricane Matthew hit Edisto Beach, S.C., Oct. 8, 2016. (VOA)

Building codes for new construction require windows and doors that can withstand high winds and hold back flooding. Wells explained that seawalls and sand dunes are erected as barriers. But nature is mighty.

Powerful even on a normal day, the Atlantic Ocean, when combined with the energy of an extreme storm, can cut through solid land. Residents of Ocean City, Maryland, wandered out after a storm in 1933 to find that a 15-meter wide, 2.5-meter-deep inlet had been sliced into the south end of their barrier island, opening a convenient channel for fishing and pleasure craft between the ocean and the bay.

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Likewise, the ocean created an inlet in Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, while snatching vintage, brown-shingled cottages into the sea in 2009, according to the Boston Globe newspaper.

“A compromise needs to be found that is responsible to both demands. Rational, sustainable usage of these areas is possible if people are willing to spend time and money in planning,” Duarte wrote.

“Bounded by water, coastal and waterfront communities are challenged to make the best use of limited land while protecting critical natural resources from the potentially damaging effects of growth,” says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in its SmartGrowth report. “These communities must consider a common set of overarching issues when managing growth and development.” (VOA)