Diu Day 4: Fusing closer
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Read the Day 1 recap here
Read the Day 2 recap here
Read the Day 3 recap here
Of Brown and Green, Reeds and Ruin
Post 11 AM is the ideal time for #spelunking in #NaidaCaves when the sun-rays can expose its spectacular underbelly, as my conversation with the locals revealed. And so I woke up late, relished some seafood breakfast from Hoka and finished two rounds of tea before reaching here. This #cave is close to Zampa gateway, spectacularly red and horizon-hinged with lion carvings and inscription dated to 1702, as well as to Jalandhar beach. From Nagoa beach, it took me about 15 minutes to reach Naida caves.
'A fruit that's death to taste' and a Speleologist's paradise, the prehistoric Naida cave stands like a rock-faced, crab-clawed hermit. There's something unabashedly strange about its burrows that breaches the surface of awareness. The juxtaposition of drama and subtlety, the oblique intersection of light and darkness magically fused with weird and whimsical order of walls, the encroaching masks and dark nudity of its puzzling passages tantalize my sluggish, dangling roots of being. One needs to cast the skin and slide into another time here.
Naida Caves, Diu
I follow the hint of direction painted on the rocks in recent times to help the visitors; it's too easy to get lost here otherwise. No wonder, this place served as soldiers' refuge during #OperationsVijay. It is also believed that the #Portuguese constructed #Diu fort by excavating a huge rock formation and that's how this daunted witch-like structure came into fruition through other geological transformation.
An aloof evening
I leave the tightly-drawn curtains of history and return in the afternoon at Hoka Island while accusing Diu of evolutionary stasis. No matter how hard I try, it doesn't warm up beyond the mutating harmony of its surroundings and relinquishes all hyperbole of existence. My Pavlovian attempt at being a tourist doesn't also find its fodder at #GhoglaBeach, which takes me a little below half an hour to reach by auto in the evening from Nagoa.
Somebody has been 'thoughtful' enough to place some benches and kid rides (similar to Nagoa, but lesser crowd) on the beach, only serving to stunt my imagination, which is otherwise dazzling with vast simplicity of golden sand. Morning presents the options for parasailing and surfing, but the evening appears like a narrative set against a salty blank canvas, waiting to leave all the confines of sugar-coatings. Here my earthbound self experiences slight sensation of Agoraphobia. But how swiftly that fear becomes meaningless too with theatrical gestures of waves!
I will be leaving tomorrow early morning for Ahmedabad to catch my flight back to Bangalore. And as I walk back shaking the grains of entwined sand particles from my legs, I know in that moment's rupture, distilled in separation, I'm leaving here a part of me. The rest, in move, has started its farewell.
P.S. Wish to drift like a cloud in a far far removed place? Visit Diu. It will leave you just with an allusion of faint hope, but a hope that is timeless... It's difficult to be angry, sad, happy, witty or funny here. If you get into its groove, Diu will make you still. It will teach you how to surrender your 'must-haves' brilliantly.
Plop. Ripples. Quiet. STILL.
PhotoStory Date: 7.4.2015
Place: Diu island, Union Territory of Daman and Diu
Words and Photograph: Amrita Ghosh
Located adjacent to the coast of Kathiawad region at Veraval port on the southern borders of Gujarat, Diu is a very small island in the westernmost region of India. It is located at a distance of about 660 km from Daman by road and is surrounded by Chasi River on the north and the Arabian Sea on the other three sides.
During the early period, Daman and Diu were part of Goa. It got separated in 1987.
Nearest railway station: Delwada; The nearest broad gauge railway junction is Veraval, which is 90 km from Diu and well-connected with major cities.
Nearest airport: Diu airport, 1.2 Km away from the central place.
Best Season: Weather in Diu Island is pleasant throughout the year. The average temperature remains in between 25 to 28 degree Celsius. March to July period is better time to enjoy water sports. You can also plan your visit during #FestaDeDiu (typically from November to February) to enjoy carnival-like atmosphere.
Places to see: Naida Caves, Diu Fort, Chakratirth beach, Jalandhar beach, INS Khukri War Memorial, Shell Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, Nagoa beach, Ghogla beach, Nani Daman Fort, Gangeshwar Mahadev Temple, Gomtimata beach (keep an eye out for Heuglin’s Gulls if you are into birdwatching), Vanakbara village (if you are interested in marine life conservation and want to engage in conversation with local fishermen), and Fudam Bird Sanctuary (if you're lucky, you may see Lesser Flamingos and Blue Rock Pigeon among others). I wrote about most of these places in my travelogue.
Note that I journaled about my experience at The Hoka Island Villa which now has undergone a make-over and called The Palms Beach Resort. Since things have changed a lot, I am refraining from recommending any stay.
You can expect to get delicious sea food. Recommend Cat's Eye View and La Dolce Vita based on my experience. O Coqueiro near Diu Museum offers good Portuguese dishes along with good music. Explore the bylanes if you are into street food. For great homemade ice creams and milkshakes, head to Ram Vijay Refreshment at Bunder Road.
Diu is part of Gujarat, but it is a union territory. Hence, alcohol is legal in Diu.
Tip: Since there is no restriction on alcohol consumption on the beach, it is prudent to get inside hotel before it gets late, unless you are travelling in a big group. Carry water with you while visiting Diu Fort and Naida Caves because nothing is available inside and you need to roam around quite a bit to explore these places.
Disclaimer: Note that the observations and recommendations in this travelogue series are based on facts as well as on my personal accounts in the year of 2015. Even though I wrote this series in 2019 and verified with current information at my disposal to keep it up-to-date, a place naturally evolves over time and hence few details may differ in the present.