Diu was a stark difference in terms of the rest of our trip and a time we were looking forward to spending by the ocean. After a leisurely breakfast, we made our way to the Diu Museum. It is a church converted into a museum and it seemed even more charming with the bustle and energy of the children in the school that it shared a wall with, providing a contrast to it’s calm interiors. The simple museum houses figures carved in wood of almost every christian saint we’ve heard of (mostly as part of names of educational institutions)- St.Anthony, St,Johns,St.Francis to name a few.
A short walk away was the St.Paul’s church which is supposedly one of the best examples of baroque architecture of the 16th century in Italy with Roman influences.
While the outside is quite impressive, the true beauty of it to our eyes lay inside with the very intricate woodwork that adorned the main altar and several areas inside the church.
A little ahead is the church of St.Francis of Assisi by climbing up a pretty flight of steps up to the church that lies at the turn of the road.
It is purportedly used a hospital today but seemed to have no signs of it with a peek inside the locked doors.
We couldn’t resist the ocean any longer and went right to it to at the Jalandhar beach. We got to what was called the “heritage walk” point. It is a lovely viewpoint to enjoy the sights and sound of the sea that manages to look both soothing and intimidating at the same time.
The heritage walk itself turned out to be a walk over the endless fort walls – while it manages to give you a higher view of the city, it’s otherwise something we’d have spent lesser time on, had we known that it was not leading anywhere.
Yet, we had a top view of the Naida caves from the fort to which we decided to make our way.
It is a maze of underground caves that make up quite a sight with the light streaming in through various slots above the rocks with the roots and branches of trees casually entwining the boulders and creating their own patterns.
There are scattered Hoka trees brought in by the Portuguese from Africa here too, seemingly having embraced their newer home. There is debate wrt whether these caves are a natural formation or rocks dug up to be used in the Diu fort or maybe a little bit of both. While Anand was enjoying his picture taking, I found it a great spot to lie down on one of the benches and take in the view of the rocks in various shapes and textures, the overhanging roots and the play of light.
Fort Diu is perhaps the most known of Diu’s places to visit and welcomes you with its moat gushing with the monsoons waters. The fort itself has an unparalleled location by the ocean. It is the perfect spot to stroll by churches, cannon balls, tombs, lighthouses as you explore its every intriguing turn. There’s something poetic about the tomb of a soldier(?) with an open roof and a window that provided the sights and sounds of the ocean just outside its tall walls.
We next headed to the dry dock in the city to spend some time watching the colorful fishing boats and folks crushing of huge blocks of ice. Just as we were about to leave, a gentleman asked us to head to the Nagoa beach. And of course, we followed orders. On the way we noticed a board stating “Fudam Bird Sanctuary“. However a man sitting at the entrance casually told us it was closed which seemed hard to believe since it was simply a small open area. Nevertheless we climbed up the watch tower outside and took in the sight of the stream and made do with sighting a few birds casually flitting by before we made our way to the beach.
The Nagoa beach was definitely a favorite of the places we visited in Diu. It was the perfect evening hangout with a warm cob of corn to watch the waves crashing against the shore endlessly. The sounds of the water were only interrupted by the occasional words from a passing conversation or giggles of kids enjoying themselves in the park by the water.
Note :We see reviews often calling this beach crowded . It just maybe that we were there during what’s considered the off-season(August-monsoons) but it was just on point for our tastes at this time 🙂
After checking in to the hotel at Veraval for the evening, we headed off to the temple – Somnath. We were just in time to get there since it closes at 9 PM. The temple is well lit up, large, has beautiful carvings on its exterior and interiors . It is surrounded by a town whose economy is seems pretty much based around the visitors to the temple. The main deity in the temple is in the form of a Shiva linga. The temple is particularly known for having been re-built many times since the 11th century despite invasions by several rulers. When one looks at a map, it’s also observed that an imaginary straight line from here to the south pole would encounter no landmass till Antarctica. Since it was dark by the time we got there, we couldn’t truly enjoy the view of the ocean just beside the temple- nevertheless the soothing sounds of the ocean and slivers of the ocean waves still provided a peek into the experience.
Note :You would have to leave behind phones, luggage, footwear before entering the temple and it’s a bit of a distance from the temple to the place where you’re supposed to leave all your things- so if in a group, take extra care to stay together since it’s otherwise easy to miss each other. Interestingly the queues for men and women are separate and there were relatively very few women- that however led to most women waiting for up to an hour for their spouses/relatives to come out of the men’s queues. Not having phones along meant you were stuck to waiting at a predetermined place like I was too.