no more due…- DIU islands

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VIEW VISIBLE FROM THE OUTER FORT WALL -DIU FORT

Daman and Diu though sound like twin cities, are approx 700 kms apart ! This I wanted to clear before starting the blog, as I have seen many of my friends asking me ..why did you miss Daman ?! ( p.s, I did visit daman and shall share my adventures at Daman in a fresh blog later)..coming back to Diu…..

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SUN SET POINT – JALANDHAR BEACH

The first and the only major disappointment we came across while visiting Diu islands was..It did not feel like an island atall ! Diu has been connected by the mainland via a bridge . As the kid in me wanted an adventure . I wanted to reach the first Island that I had ever put my foot on via a boat or a ferry or a ship or some sea-bound machine…but that fantasy did not happen…

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NEAR GANGESHWAR TEMPLE

Due to its strategic position.. the peaceful,tranquil,calm,serene looking island has seen many blood baths…The first recorded war on this island is battle of Diu(1509) and the last one has to be Operation vijay(1961)..The last and the final battle, which retrieved Diu back to India from almost a 450 years Portuguese rule…(1535-1961)…

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CIRCUIT HOUSE visible from SUN SET POINT JALANDHAR BEACH

Diu, one of the seven union territories of India.. was on our must visit list for long  in-spite the fact that this island has the lowest female to male ration in India that is .533 (2011 census) :(…The best time to visit the islands is winters…It is just 361 kms from Ahmedabad and  can be accessed by road..thanks to the recently constructed bridge….

Gujarat Roads trust me are longdrivephobic( so good they are)..It was a smooth drive, we started early morning..Had our lunch at a restaurant near Somnath( Viraval) and reached our hotel at 3:00 Pm..We( mum ,dad,hubby,Daughter) were exhausted but not dead tired..took a power nap..and were up again at 5:00 to see the sun set…:)We Bid adiu to the sun for the day .. @ Jalandhar beach…( it is near circuit house)…

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VIEW FROM THE TOP – SUN SET POINT JALANDHAR BEACH

The beach named after the Demon Jalandhar is without any doubt one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches I have ever seen…. The water is calm and clear and without any undercurrents. A small memorial is located at one of the hills close to the beach containing a stone face of the demon Jalandhar. Legend has it that the head was severed by the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu. A temple dedicated to Goddess Chandrika is also located in the vicinity.

I read a very interesting story of jalandhar ( King of Asuras) . ” He was born from Shiva ! It so happened that Indra and Brahaspati were going towards mount kailasha to meet Shiva. Shiva dressed as a naked monk,wanted to check their knowledge. Shiva blocked their path. Indra failed to recognize SHIVA and threatened him to vacate the road and let them move ahead, Shiva got furious and this resulted in opening of his third eye…I thunderbolt came out towards Indra,As luck would have it,Indra was saved by Brahaspati, just in time ! But the thunderbolt went and hit the ocean and a boy was born out of it ! This boy grew up to be a handsome young man . He was appointed the emperor of Asuras by their guru Shukra. Jalandhar’s wife was Vrinda ( who later got a boon from vishnu to be Tulsi and is worshiped for her chastity in every Hindu household).  Jalandhar was a very good ruler , Lakshmi considered him her brother ,as he was borne out of ocean. His power and might grow so big,that he started ruling ( teen lok). Jalandhar did all well,except one. His biggest sin was to desire Parvati . This resulted in his death by Mahadev.” I narrated this story to my family while we were looking at the setting sun…..

For Dinner , some locals informed us that fresh fish is available at the very famous Nagao beach..The deal was alluring so we reached the place…Small shacks have been lined up at the shore..Diu being an union territory has no ban on liquor and non veg…We enjoyed our dinner amidst sea breeze ….It was an early dinner and retreated back home to be charged for the next day….

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The hotel that we had booked from makemytrip.com was depressing to be honest..There was not much to do..So we slept early…Next morning we were not even offered chai( Bed tea) as it was only boarding kind of hotel..( Again it took us an hour to get tea, we had to bribe the room boy to get us 4 cups of tea)…All this combined ,we started our day late..:(

DAY 2

First destination : St. Paul’s Church

I learnt that this particular style of architecture was known as ‘Barouque’.  Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy. The St. Paul’s Church, named after St. Paul, the Apostle of Jesus also known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, is most renowned, surviving and functioning church. I was told by a local that  frontal elevation of the church is a replica of the Bom Jesus Basilica Goa.

Bartolomeo_Montagna_-_Saint_Paul_-_Google_Art_Project St. Paul

( In christian theology, twelve Apostles were the primary disciples of Jesus , they became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus)

Second Destination :DIU FORT

The fort was built in 1535 subsequent to a defense alliance forged by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat and the Portuguese when Humayun, the Mughal Emperor, waged war to annex this territory. Some additions made in 1541 and the fort was strengthened over the years, till 1546. Portuguese ruled over this territory from 1537 (from the year they took control of the fort and also the Diu town fully) until 1961.

The lighthouse is Diu’s highest point, with a beam that reaches 32 km in every direction. There are several small chapels, one holding engraved tombstone fragments. Part of the fort also serves as the island’s jail. It was time for lunch…We were so famished after hoping around the fort.We hit Nagao beach ( Apart from shacks , there are several AC restaurants/hotels on the beach)…After relaxing..We were heading back to the main town ,when we came across this very unique ‘Shell Museum’ This museum has a private collection of shells and dried fish from different parts of the world..The owner is a chirpy naval officer..He did not allow us to take pics..He said he has registered his name in limca book of records and is aiming for Guinness book of world records..

Third Destination: PANIKOTHA

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PANI KOTHA – Captured from Diu fort

I got the first sight of this beauty from Diu fort…I wanted to get a closer look..no one as able to guide us…Thanks to captain sahab from the shell museum..he told us the gateway to this beauty…I shall revel the secret ! In case you plan to meet this beautiful fort ( PANI =Water + KOTHA =house/fort) ,One has to reach a place called “jetyy’ ( P.S – Plan your trip to panikotha early morning before 2:00 PM, then you can get to enter the fort, after 2:00 PM, water gets a bit violent and hence entry is prohibited). We managed to reach the place after all the searching at 3:30PM, We took a ferry and had a closer look…( Ticket charges 20 rs per person).

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PANIKOTHA

PANAKOTHA The fortress of Fortim do Mar (Sea Fort or Pani-Kotha) is a magnificent stone structure in the sea. It is made on an island in the shape of a ship ! This fort according to me is the USP of DIU ! It also has a light house and a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea.

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(Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary.)

Fourth destination: DIU MUSEUM

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                                            St. Thomas Church – Diu Museum

The old St. Thomas Church has been converted into a museum which houses antique statues, various stone inscriptions of the earlier rulers, wooden carvings and idols, in evening, multicolored fountains and special lighting of the imposing building fascinate everyone. Saddest part, no one was there, to explain anything to us…I came home and researched…

( St. Thomas is one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus . He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told .Tradition claims he traveled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamilakam which are the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India.

Thomas St. Thomas.

 

Fifth destination:  GANGESHWAR SHIVLING….

We rushed to this place as we wanted to end that magical day after taking the blessings of (Panch shivling)

gangeshwar-temple

source:http://bit.ly/2oRnjzJ

 

It seemed to be a popular sight compared to other spots, Five shivlings are placed inside a cave, local legend says that these five shivlings were installed here by the panch pandav. Everyday the shivlings get abhishek from the sea during high tide!

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NEAR GANGESHWAR TEMPLE

After all the hoping …we settled down to enjoy the SEA, the SAND, the SETTING SUN and the SMASHING DIU…

ALL dues cleared at DIU …

TIPS

BY FLIGHT : There is an Airport at Diu. You can easily get regular flights to Diu from major cities of the country.

BY TRAIN :There are no regular trains from other major cities to Diu. Nearest train station is Somnath. Diu 63 km away.

BY BUS:Diu is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses.

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Gujarat Ke Gaddhe..a desert famous for its Ass ( little Rann of Kutch)

My first thought on meeting LRK( Little Raan of kutch)- By all evidence we are in this part of the world to do nothing…..We encountered Nothingness the moment we stepped into the Raan…It felt so silent….It was kind of scary !

Welcome to The LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH – the word ‘little’ is a misnomer as this (Raan) desert is not at all little ! LRK is a marsh land in  Gujarat…It is famous for its Gaddhe or Wild ASS( Khur). It is the only place in the world,where this handsome animal is found galloping around in glory…..

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source: http://bit.ly/2nxnDRA

The area is plain dry, vegetation is sparse..Flora is almost zero,but the place is rich in Fauna..Specially during winters our (videshi feathered mehmaan) migratory birds troupe the place…waterbirds like cranes, ducks, pelicans, flamingos and land birds like sandgrouse, francolins and the Indian bustards. It is also home to various unique mammals apart from wild ass such as the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), desert fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) and nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)….

I shall share the details of how and what to see at Little Rann of Kutch…We started our new venture early as the distance between Ahmadabad and Little Rann of Kutch is around 180 kms. We were on road at around 5:00 Am and reached our destination enjoying a lazy drive at around 11:00 AM. We crossed  a place called Patdi, Fort wall remains  and grand archaic gates advocated its royal past…On returning back, thanks to (Google baba)  I found the following…Patdi is a town and former princely state on Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat. Patdi used to be an estate in Jhalawar prant of Eastern Kathiawar under the rule of (rare) Kunbi Chieftains, styled (Desai) Darbar.source-Wikipedia

Moving ahead,….Our First destination…

Rann Riders(http://www.rannriders.com/). It is a Motel…The only place that we could locate ,where decent food(non veg)/Water/Restrooms/Rooms were available..It is a themed resort…the cottages are made like ‘Kuba’ houses( Huts made of mud)..one can get a feel of real life of a kutchi…(unfortunately I lost most of the pics…courtesy my toddler..She does not let me touch my phone these days..She has denied me access to my own mobile phone..)

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Kuba house @ Rann Riders..

Anyways I was lucky, as my husband clicked a few pics of LRK from the ordinary camera that we own…We took the lunch buffet ..After (pet pooja), we were becoming impatient for the safari to start..It happened around 3:00pm…Open Jeeps are available with them, We hired one from Raan Riders @4550/- (Advice – Make pre booking with rannriders for food/safari)

Second destination – zaniabad village...

Before entering the desert, One has to take permission from a govt check post located in this village. After doing all the formalities and paying a sum of 500/- we entered the ‘ not so little Raan’….

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There we encountered a mob ( all pretty little girls)..They were all so curious and chirpy. They wanted to know my darling’s name..in seconds the air around was filled with their echos.. MISHI… MISHI… MISHI !!! ( I was happy to see them so happy !)

Third and our final destination LRK…

we kept taking pics to our hearts content !

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Long sheets of Cracked parched land was all that we could see…Occasionally we could spot a few cactus species sprouting ..That is the main source of food for Nilgais and Wild Ass..

 

I kept nagging that I could see huge water body at a distant end, where the land was touching the sky..My driver simply told me ‘Madam you are experiencing chalawa( Mirage)’

 

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Little Raan of kutch has a light brown , to be precise sandy shade unlike Great Raan of Kutch..that is completely white ! This part of land has its own beauty ….You will feel ‘Nothing’ in front of the huge empty before your eyes . It is indeed an unique occurrence

No car honks, No planes, No pollution, No human over-explosion, No buildings, No cars, No roads,No vegetation…The feeling of nothingness is what we experienced at this Rann…The feeling to be alone and be content with your past ,present and future…and while all this was brewing inside us and we were trying to quite my overexcited daughter so as, not to spoil the tranquil outside….She was the first one to spot it ..She referred to it as HORSE !!!( That is the only word,till date that she uses to call any animal).

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we got the darshan of The great Indian WILD ASS ( My daughters horse !)

We spotted a few Nilgais…saw few birds( migratory ones ) at a distance…Satisfied we were back to our Camp site by 6:00 Pm. Had a little snack and it was time to go home….

There is a famous hindi proverb “mushkil ke waqt gaddhe ko bhi baap banana Padta hai”..Sadly the common donkeys( gaddhe) have a very low status  in our society (  compared to other four legged animals)…Certainly these donkey’s of LRK belong to a different world…and it was worth spending on these handsome Gaddhes…