Diu, India

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Zampa Gateway - Diu
Zampa Gateway, Diu
Diu is located in India
Location in India
Coordinates: 20°43′N 70°59′E / 20.71°N 70.98°E / 20.71; 70.98Coordinates: 20°43′N 70°59′E / 20.71°N 70.98°E / 20.71; 70.98
Country India
Union TerritoryDaman and Diu
 • TypeMunicipal corporation
 • Total40 km2 (20 sq mi)
0 m (0 ft)
 • Total21,576
 • Density540/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • OfficialGujarati, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Sex ratio0.85 /

Diu is a town in Diu district in the union territory of Daman and Diu, India. Diu District is the tenth least populated district of India.

The town of Diu lies at the eastern end of Diu Island and is known for its fortress and old Portuguese cathedral. It is a fishing town.

The city is one of the hundred Indian cities competing in a national level competition to get the funds under Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. Diu will be competing for the one of last 10 spots against 20 cities from across India.


Diu town and the Portuguese fort (British engraving, 1729)
An allegory of the Second Siege of Diu, in 1546

The town and district were historically part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and an important port on trade routes of Arabian sea of Indian Ocean.

Due to its strategic importance, there was a Battle of Diu in 1509 between Portugal and a combined force of Mamluks, Venetians, the Ragusians, the Zamorin of Calicut, and the Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada. In 1513, the Portuguese tried to establish an outpost, but negotiations were unsuccessful. There were failed attempts by Diogo Lopes de Sequeira in 1521 and Nuno da Cunha in 1523. In 1531 the conquest attempted by D. Nuno da Cunha was not successful.

In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, concluded a defensive alliance with the Portuguese against the Mughal emperor Humayun and allowed the Portuguese to construct the Diu Fort and maintain a garrison on the island.

The alliance quickly unraveled, and attempts by the Sultans to oust the Portuguese from Diu between 1537 and 1546 failed. Repenting his generosity, Bahadur Shah sought to recover Diu but was defeated and killed by the Portuguese, followed by a period of war between them and the people of Gujarat. In 1538, Coja Sofar, lord of Cambay, together with the Ottoman Suleiman Pasha, came to lay siege to Diu and were defeated by Portuguese resistance led by Anthony Silveira. A second siege was imposed by the same Coja Sofar in 1546. It was repelled by the Portuguese conquerors, led on land by D. John Mascarenhas and at sea by D. João de Castro. Coja Sofar and D. Fernando de Castro, son of the Portuguese viceroy, perished in the struggle. The fortress, completed by Dom João de Castro after the siege of 1545, still stands.

After this second siege, Diu was so fortified that it could withstand later attacks of the Arabs of Muscat and the Dutch in the late 17th century. From the 18th century, Diu declined in strategic importance (due to development of Bombay) and was reduced to a museum or historical landmark as commercial and strategic bulwark in the struggle between the forces of the Islamic East and Christian West.

Diu remained in the possession of the Portuguese from 1535 until 1961, when it fell in the possession of the troops of the Indian Union, which invaded all of former Portuguese India under Operation Vijay. The island was occupied by the Indian military on 19 December 1961. The Battle of Diu involved overwhelming land, sea and air strikes on the enclave for 48 hours until the Portuguese garrison there surrendered. It was declared a union territory of India, Goa, Daman, and Diu. Goa separated as a state in 1987; the remainder became union territory of Daman and Diu.

Diu in the early 17th century (in Braun et Hogenberg, 1600)


Street view of Diu


The languages spoken in Diu include Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi.


As of 2001 India census,[1] Diu had a population of 21,576. Males constituted 46% of the population and females 54%. Diu has an average literacy rate of 71%, falling below the 2011 national average of 74.04%. Male literacy is 81% and female literacy is 69%. In Diu, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Geography and climate[edit]

Naida Caves, near Jalandhar Beach
Gangeshwar Temple

Diu is at 20°43′N 70°59′E / 20.71°N 70.98°E / 20.71; 70.98.[2]

The island is at sea level and covers an area of 38.8 km². The climate is extremely warm and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 mm.


With no tall buildings except the fort, Diu has a characteristically low skyline.

Old Diu is known for its Portuguese architecture.

Diu Fort was built in 1535 and maintained an active garrison until 1960.[3]

The Diu fort is the most visited landmark in the district. The fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa were chosen as the two wonders from India, among the seven from across the world, out of a list of 27 monuments built in 16 countries during the Portuguese rule. The fort is built on a hillock next to the sea. There are only remains now, but the fort must have been a very romantic place.

There are three Portuguese Baroque churches, with St Paul’s Church, completed in 1610, being the only one in use for its original purpose. The Church of St Francis of Assisi (the first church built in Diu, in 1593) is now used as a hospital. St Thomas Church is used as a museum.

An ancient Lord Shiva temple is on the Gangeswar coast.

Naida Caves are near Jalandhar Beach, at 1km distance from the city center via Hadmitya road. The entry to Naida caves is free. The caves' origin remains a mystery as it is believed that they were formed by geological forces or due to quarrying done by the Portuguese. Naida caves create a natural sunlight show which sparkles big orange rocks. A labyrinth-like structure gives it a mesmerizing beauty which is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Caves are open for 24 hours though security personnel may sometime deny the entry at night after 5:30 pm as the inside of the caves become much darker.

INS Khukri or Khukri memorial is near Chakratirth Beach. It is known for its open amphitheatre and sunset shots.

The nearby Nagoa beach and offshore lighthouse are popular tourist destinations, and the coast is a popular recreational area for parasailing, boating and jet skiing. Off late water sports activities are suspended by the authorities.

Dinosaur park with life size Dinosaur structures and large play area for kids right on the bay. Bird watching sanctuary. Sea Shell Museum, Summer House. Lovers Point.

There are several hotels and resorts and there is a growing hotel and leisure industry.

Unlike in Gujarat State, alcohol is legal in Diu.


Diu is linked to the mainland by a bridge. Local transport is available by road from Una, Gujarat. Alliance Air,an Air India subsidiary, flies from Mumbai, landing at Diu Airport.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  2. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Diu
  3. ^ Bradnock, Roma (2004). Footprint India. Diu town. Footprint Travel Guides. pp. 1171–72. ISBN 978-1-904777-00-7. Retrieved 1 March 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrada (undated). The Life of Dom John de Castro: The Fourth Vice Roy of India. Jacinto Freire de Andrada. Translated into English by Peter Wyche. (1664). Henry Herrington, New Exchange, London. Facsimile edition (1994) AES Reprint, New Delhi. ISBN 81-206-0900-X.

External links[edit]

Media related to Diu at Wikimedia Commons