In this post, we highlight for you THE 3 BEST & AMAZING PLACES TO SEE IN DAMAN. We went on a 3-day road trip to Daman from Mumbai taking the coastal route via Dahanu and Bordi. From our experiences, we shortlisted 3 places which everyone should visit in Daman other than beaches.
On the west coast of India, tucked between Maharashtra and Gujarat is the tiny city of Daman – the capital of newly merged union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
Daman is just a perfect place for whiling away some lazy hours. Located within a short distance from Mumbai and Surat, it gets busy on weekends. Known as a drinking den due to the cheap availability of alcohol which flows at every corner, you can see crowds going crazy. As Gujarat is a dry state, people frequently visit Daman in high spirits to get boozed out.
But Daman is not only about alcohol, nightlife, parties, and resorts. We have seen a beautiful side of this lovely enclave. The coastal town is home to a variety of historical monuments and some beautiful churches, which reflect the architectural skills of the Portuguese. Walking the roads of Daman is a sheer delight if you have an eye for photography, where your pictures will exhibit the history and marvels of the vintage old buildings.
A LITTLE ABOUT OUR RIDE
Leaving the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway at Charoti Naka, we turn left towards Dahanu Beach, around 22 km. Riding a motorcycle on a highway and internal village roads is a different experience. We enjoy the ride more when it passes through farms, seeing men and women working in the fields, village houses, and old trees guarding the road with their shades and cattle passing by. All these give a good feeling of being on the road.
We stopped at the Dahanu beach to soak in the serenity. And to give a much-needed break to the motorcycle engine. The ride from Dahanu to Bordi Beach is coastal. The sea stayed with us as we cruised between casuarina trees.
After 30 minutes of the ride, we reached Gholvad, one of the last villages of Maharashtra, before crossing over to Gujarat. While in Gholvad, we saw the vast chikoo orchards amidst the ancient Parsi-Irani bungalows.
Bordi Beach is only 2 km away, which is less crowded as compared to Dahanu Beach.
When in Bordi, visit Chikoo Parlour on Gholvad-Bordi Road and try their variety of sweets, ice creams, milkshakes, etc., made from fresh farm chikoos.
Daman is around 50 km from Bordi. As we entered Daman, the landscape revealed a burst of colonial houses, churches, and vibrant official buildings.
On the outskirts of Moti Daman Fort, The Church Of Our Lady Of Remedios catches attention. The 17th-century engravings of the main altar captivate the senses and radiate an old-world charm. Observing the church feels like exploring Daman’s rich colonial past.
We ended day 1 of our ride after attending the Good Friday mass in the Church of Bom Jesus. The long-standing church completed in 1603 witnessed a large gathering to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
THE 3 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN DAMAN
- MOTI DAMAN FORT & NANI DAMAN FORT
- MIRASOL LAKE GARDEN
- UDVADA – THE HOLY SHRINE
MOTI DAMAN FORT & NANI DAMAN FORT
The Damangana creek bifurcates Daman into Nani Daman (Little Daman) and Moti Daman (Big Daman). We could count the colorful fishing vessels moored on either side of the creek. It was a beautiful sight of fishing boats with colored flags having a siesta on the jetty. At the confluence where the Damanganga River merges with the Arabian Sea, the twin forts are each built on the opposite banks of the river.
MOTI DAMAN FORT – The main street of the Moti Daman fort runs from the land gate to the sea gate and houses the famous Church of Bom Jesus, Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary, and the most visited by tourists during sunset –The Lighthouse. The walk inside the fort gave us an experience of the bygone era. It has a large number of cannons beautifully designed with note-worthy carvings. Some part of the fort needs restoration. Old buildings converted into government offices have retained their architecture. There are a few pretty colorful houses with thatched slate roofs. We enjoyed doing photography here.
There are some old trees and well-maintained gardens which attract birdlife. We spotted the kingfisher, baya weaver, drongo, flycatcher, chattering mynas, and rosy bulbuls. It took us 2 hours to explore just the outer ramparts of the fort, which sprawls over an area of about 30,000 sq m giving spectacular viewòs of Nani Daman Fort, Damanganga Creek, Football Ground, and Jampore Beach.
Near the sea gate of the fort, there is a pedestrian bridge that connects the two forts. Standing in the middle of the bridge, feeling the breeze, and watching the Damangana River merge with the sea is best enjoyed when the sun goes down.
NANI DAMAN FORT – Surrounded by towering stone walls, this 17th-century small Portuguese fort looks pretty from a distance, with hundreds of boats moored beneath it. At its entrance from the jetty side, the statue of St. Jerome set above the arch of the gate looks beautiful. This fort is also known as St. Jerome Fort. It houses the impressive Church of Our Lady of Sea, counted as the most sacred place of worship. The old church was getting ready for the midnight mass to celebrate Easter – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The excellent altar with superb paneling was getting decorated with flowers. The ramparts of this fort gave a clear view of the fish market and made for a good walk over the elegant stone walls.
MIRASOL LAKE GARDEN
We decided to spend the evening at this beautiful and well-maintained lake garden in Kadaiya village. The alluring natural surroundings were a surprise treat that helped us shun our weariness and revived our lost energies after a day-long exploration of forts.
A toy train runs around the garden, which is serene and peaceful, surrounded by a gorgeous and clean lake. It is a popular picnic location among locals and tourists alike. In the back, there is a water park. But since we are not resort-type travelers, we kept ourselves on this tiny island watching the swans, turtles, and fishes swim in the lake, the sun pouring its golden smile through the palm trees, happy and smiling faces of kids enjoying the toy train ride, couples and families spending some lovely moments in a boat ride. These simple and little things made us happy.
As the sun sets, this man-made marvel gets enlightened with colorful lighting that enhances its beauty. To see a boat pass under the bridge, through the lighted fountains and swans swimming behind is a visual delight.
The Mirasol Lake Garden has also been used for film productions. It is evident from the photos displayed in the lake restaurant of the crew members of the popular TV serial ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chasma.’
If you do not wish to eat in the multi-cuisine restaurant inside the lake garden, there is a food stall opposite the entry gate serving snacks like maggie, sandwiches, and pakoras.
|Opens at||9 am|
|Best time to visit||Evening|
|Entry ticket||Rs 10 per head|
|Toy train ticket||Rs 50 per head|
|Boating||Rs 200 onwards (different options available)|
|Restaurant||Multi cuisine & Bar|
|Washrooms||Neat & clean|
|Childrens play area||Available|
|Note||DSLR photography not allowed|
UDVADA -THE HOLY SHRINE
Udvada should definitely be on your bucket list. Although geographically located in Gujarat, it is only around 15 km from Daman. Udvada is a sleepy coastal town and sacred place for the Parsi communities as it is the abode of Shreeji Paak Iranshah.
Udvada Atash Behram – the oldest Zoroastrian fire temple in India, is situated here. People outside the Zoroastrian community are restricted from entering the temple. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring this peaceful place.
The owner of the Udwada Bakers – a bakery shop opposite the temple informs us that the earliest Zoroastrians settled in Udvada centuries ago when they arrived in India. And this is their most revered temple. Leaving Mumbai long ago, he settled down here to live a slow-paced life. And summarizing his journey in short, he somehow managed to sell us macaroons and mawa cake that we happily munched on.
The architecture and design of the temple is very much impressive. We spend time ambling along the deserted and picturesque streets, photographing the old houses and sprawling bungalows. We marveled at the ancient architecture of the town. Quaint houses with wooden railings and sloped roofs are admirable. Few of the old house even had a well in the forecourt.
Udvada is a place where time stands still. It is still untouched and unexplored and devoid of much commercialization. It has a beach which can be accessed by entering any of the bylanes of the fishermen community.
WHERE WE STAYED
Our home stay R J VILLA FARMHOUSE in Bhimpore was located in a very silent and peaceful location. Mornings were greeted with birdsong and sun-rays peeped in through the windowpane.
The other morning we woke up to the meowing call of a peacock. I opened the window, and there it was, gracefully perched on the top of an old wall of a dilapidated structure. It flew and came down to join a flock of herons busy looking for their prey in a stagnant pond. Being a solitary kind, the peacock distanced himself from herons and joined his mate under a tree, and they both started forming a circle until a dog came and chased them away.
A kingfisher perched on a tamarind tree was watching the herons closely. I think he wanted to make sure the pond inhabited some prey before he dived in. The noisy and chattering babblers entered the morning scene disturbing the serenity of the place foraging from one tree to another. And the kingfisher flew to find some better place.
It was time to ride back home again with pleasant memories of yet another joyous road trip.
– Clement & Steffe