Pop: 63,775 (Daman Town: 27,625)
Tel Area Code:
Right in the south of Gujarat,
the 56sq km enclave of Daman was, along with Diu, taken from the Portuguese at the same time as
Goa. For a time, Daman and Diu were governed from Goa but both now constitute the Union Territory of Daman & Diu, which is governed
from Delhi. Daman is a laid back little town with a somewhat tropical
flavour, although its beaches are rather drab and dirty. Daman's main role now seems to be as a place to buy alcohol, since the surrounding state of Gujarat is
completely `dry'. The streets of Daman are lined with bars selling beer, 'Finest scotch Whisky - Made in India' and various other spirits such as feni (distilled from fermented cashew nuts or coconuts). You are forbidden to take
alcohol out of Daman into the dry state of Gujarat unless you obtain a permit. There are police checks as you leave Daman and alcohol without a permit will be confiscated.
The Portuguese seized Daman in 1531 and were officially
ceded the region by Bahadur Shah, the last major Gujarati sultan, in l559. There is still a lingering Portuguese flavour to the town, with its fine old forts and a number of churches but it's definitely not a smaller version
of Goa. The town is divided by the Daman Ganga River. The northern section is known as Nani Daman, or Little Daman, and contains the hotels, restaurants, bars and so on. In the southern part, known as Moti Daman, or Big Daman,
government buildings and churches are enclosed within an imposing wall.
The main post office is south of the river in Moti Daman, but there's a more
convenient branch near the Hotel Sun n Sea in Nani Daman.
to reach !
Vapi station, on the main railway line, is the access point for Daman. Vapi is about 170km from Mumbai and 90km from Surat. The road from
Daman to Surat would have to be one of the most congested in India so expect delays. It's the major route for trucks
traveling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It's about l0km from Vapi to Daman. Plenty of share taxis
(Rs. 10 per head) are available outside the railway stations and leave frequently for Daman. The trip takes about 20 minutes. Also available are
buses (Rs 2 per head).