From Udvada , the Union Territory of Daman which is a part of Daman & Diu ( the latter is away at a driving distance of 636 Kms and is 199 Kms by air) is practically at a walking distance, at least the river crossing if not the town.
I remember Daman from my childhood for two reasons. Government servants from Goa were sent to Daman on punishment transfers. (At this time Goa, Daman & Diu was one single Union Territory and before that one single Portuguese colony- Estado da India). The second reason is more interesting as it pertains to an expression in Konkani language. ‘Damao paishan ghodo’. One said this in exasperation when another one describes how cheap and inexpensive things are at another place. Literally it means – In Daman a horse is sold at one paisa. But then Daman is far away!!
I expected Daman to have a sizable Roman Catholic population as it was under Portuguese rule between the years 1531 to 1961. Surprisingly the population is very small about 3000 or roughly 1.5% of the population. They have 8 places of worship some of them more than 400 years old.
One of our old friends Mr. & Mrs. Mukund Phadanvis have joined us driving 310 Kms. from Pune. We stay at Nani Daman and start the day by driving across the river to Moti Daman. It is a very short distance away. One has to just cross the bridge. The old bridge had collapsed in 1983 drowning 23 people. It is not in use now. The new one is not visible in this picture.
Daman is divided into Nani Daman (small Daman) and Moti Daman (Big Daman) separated by Damanganga river. Interestingly Moti Daman is smaller than Nani Daman and also has most of the commercial activity (which is Hotels and Liquor shops) . Both Damans have a Portuguese each. Portuguese were fond of building forts, they left behind a large number of them. Most of them are in bad shape now.
The Moti daman fort is larger of the two. This appears to be the older place and with a lot of Portuguese landmarks.
One can see 3 churches within the Fort and one outside. This one, the Church of our Lady of Remedios is outside and is of 1607 vintage. Currently under renovation.
The Moti Daman Fort also has the offices of the Daman Municipality- 1581 !!!!!!
Near the Municipal square which has a small garden , beside and besides the Municipality offices are two churches. This one is of Our Lady or Rosario with nice wood carvings on the altar.
This one is Church of Bom Jesus. ( Holy Jesus)
The Fort in Nani Daman is smaller and comparatively well maintained. The apparent reason is that it has a school, a church and an operational commentary. It is close to the jetty which is used by fishing boats.
The fishing jetty.
As per 2011 Census , Daman has a sex ratio of 618 females per 1000 males.
Nani Daman has a Parsi Agiyari or Fire Temple. The notice of non-Parsis being disallowed inside is in Portuguese. Arguably the only one of its kind in Portuguese language. It says Sacred Fire of Parsis. Entrance prohibited. I am sure they did not mean to prohibit all.
The Jain temple in the town is quite nice as most Jain temples are.
SILVASA is in a maze. It used to be a part of (Portuguese) Daman district. In 1954 it was overrun by Indian nationalist but the de jure control remained with the Portuguese until 1961 when it became part of Indian Union as a Union Territory but not a part of Daman. When I say Silvasa I meant the ‘enclaves’ of Dadra and Nagar Haveli which are two different territories within the State of Gujarat but administered separately. Geographically it is a big confusion. You don’t know when you enter and come out of Gujarat and enter Dadra & Nagar Haveli and the other way around. The only signs are the liquor shops and bars. They are present in D & NH and absent in Gujarat, to resume again in Daman.
We drive through an industrial area in Dadra , visit a dam in Gujarat and then visit a Butterfly park in Dadra & NH. All the time one feels that the UT administration is better than that of the State.
25th & 26th Sept. 2016
Posted on 2.10.2106