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Daman and Diu

Daman and Diu is a Union Territory in the Western India. The territory comprises of two separate geographical units: Diu and Daman. Diu is a small island separated from the Gujarat coast by a narrow chanel while Daman is a small enclave located along Gujarat Maharashtra border. The distance between the two is 635 km (394 mi).

Daman and Diu were Portugal colonies for more than 450 years. Even today the region resembles Portugese architecture in many ways. The charm of the colonial era with majestic forts, centuries old churches, magnificent cathedrals and scenic location, abundant greenery, sandy secluded beaches, coconut groves and the moderate temperature all through the year attracts weekend tourists from neighbouring Gujarat and Maharashtra states and abroad.

Daman is a small port situated on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The total area of the district is 72 sq.km (28 sq.mi). It is a beach resort and an industrial hub with a coastline of about 12 km (8 mi). Daman town is the biggest settlement in the region and remains Portuguese atmosphere with a fusion of tribal, urban and Indian culture. The city has a multicoloured identity and is divided by the Damanganga River.

The major tourist sites in and around Daman include: Bom Jesus Church, Our Lady of Sea Church, Our Lady of Remedios Church, Forts of Moti Daman and Nani Daman, Jampore and Devka Beaches, etc.

Out of the two Diu has greater Portuguese influence. The tiny island of Diu with a total area of 39 sq.km (15 sq.mi) is linked by two bridges to Gujarat’s southern coast. The biggest settlement in the region is the town of Diu. Diu is renowned for historical churches and forts, winding streets, narrow paved lanes, vintage houses of colonial era. The churches of Diu are the living tribute to the craftsmanship of Portuguese artisans. The island of Diu has 17 km (11 mi) coastline with golden sand beaches and clear waters that offer many opportunities for water sports.

Majour tourist sites in Diu include: St. Paul's Church, Diu Fort and Panikota Fort, Nagoa and Chakratirth, Children's park at Ghoghla, etc.

The Uninion Territory of Daman and Diu has multi cultural heritage. Dance and music is the part of daily life. Well preserved Portuguese dances, Gujarati and colourful tribal dances depict the lifestyle of Daman and Diu people. The popular dances include Garba (Gujarati dance), Mando, Vira and Verdigaoare (Portuguese dances), etc.

The region celebrates a variety of religious and cultural festivals including Holi – Spring Festival (February/March); Diwali – Festival of Lights (October/November); Mahashivratri – Hindu festival celebrating the marriage of Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati (February/March); Id-ul-Fitr – Muslim Festival marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (June/July); Liberation Day - a festival celebrated region wide to mark the end of Portuguese rule (December 19th); Nariyal Poornima - regional festival, also known as the Coconut Full Moo,n signifying the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the fishing season for the fishermen. During this festivals the seashores are gathered with crowds of people offering coconuts to the sea as a symbol of thanksgiving.

The handicrafts of the region are known for old mat weaving tradition, ivory carving and household items made from tortoise shell, etc.

The cuisine of the region has strong Gujarat and Portuguese influence. Fresh catch fish and seafood are popular foods. Some of the dishes prepared on festive occasions include Puri (unleavened deep-fried Indian bread), Lapse (cracked wheat pudding), etc. The Banana Lassi (preparation from curd, a sweet diluted drink) is popular beverage.

The official languages of the Union Territory are Gujarati, Marathi, English and Hindi. Portuguese is widely spoken in Diu. The majority of population is Hindus (90%).

The climate in Daman and Diu varies. Daman has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F) throughout the year with monsoon rains from June to September. Diu has relatively cooler climate. The maximum and minimum temperature of Diu town is of 32 °C (89.6 °F) in summer and 22 °C (71.6 °F) in winter.

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