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
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
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
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
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.
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)