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Diu Union Territory
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Population: 39,500
Telephone Area Code: 028758

This laid-back beach town was the first landing point for the Parsis when fled from Persia, although they stayed only three years. Like Daman and Goa, Diu was Portuguese colony until it was taken over by India in 1961. Along with Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as a Union Territory rather than as part of Gujarat. The former colony includes the island of Diu itself, about 13km long by three km wide, separated from the coast by a narrow channel. There are also two tiny mainland enclaves. One of these, on which the village of Ghoghla stands, is the entry point to Diu if you arrive through the town of Una.


Diu's crowning glory is thc huge fort, a sight which justifies the long trip here. The northern side of the island, facing Gujarat, is tidal marsh and saltpans while the southern coast alternates between limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches. The somewhat windswept and arid island is riddled with quarries from which the Portuguese removed vast quantities of limestone to construct their fort, city walls, monuments and buildings.

 The rocky and sandy interior reaches a maximum height of just 29m, so agriculture is limited although there are extensive stands of coconut and other palms. Branching palms (Hyphaene species) arc very much a feature of the island and were originally Introduce from Africa by the Portuguese.

Diu is a popular hangout with travellers and you'll probably see more foreigners here than anywhere else in Gujarat. Although the beaches are nothing compared to those of Goa, this is still a great place to let your hair down, sit back with a cold beer and watch the world drift by.

Helpline
The tourist office (Tel: 2653) is on Bunder Rd, the main road which runs through Diu Town parallel to the water front. It's in the building, on the waterfront, directly opposite the customs office. You can pick up a map of Diu Town here for Rs 10. The office is open from Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm and 2.30 to 6 pm, and on Saturday from 9.30 am to 130 pm (closed Sunday). You can change money at the State Bank of Saurashtra near the town square. The main post office is on the town square. And there's another post office at Ghoghla. The Jethibai bus stand, for intercity buses, is just over the bridge which joins Diu to Ghoghla, and just outside the city walls.

How to reach !

Air
Gujarat Airways has a daily flight to Bhavnagar (US$80). The Gujarat Airways agent is Oceanic Travels (Tel: 2180), located on the town square near the post office.

Bus
Una is the access point for Diu, and there are direct buses to there from Bhavnagar, Palitana, veraval and Talaja. Once in Una, you have to get yourself the 10 or so km to Ghoghla and Diu. Buses depart every 30 minutes from Una bus stand between 6.30 am and 8.l5 pm (Rs 6). From Una, if you don't want to wait for a bus, walk the one km; from the bus stand to Tower Chowk (ask directions), from where crowded share rickshaws take you to Ghoghla (Rs 5), and another share rickshaw on to Diu (Rs 3). An auto-rikshaw from Una costs about Rs 50. There are a number of Gujarat STC buses which run all the way to Diu from paces such as Veraval and Bhavnagar. A quicker and more comfortable option to the STC buses are the private minibuses. At 7 pm, a bus leaves for Ahmedabad (101/2 hours, Rs 90). There are regular departures between 6 am and 8 pm to Veraval (21/2hours. Rs 25). Junagadh  (four hours, Rs 40), Rajkot (seven hours, Rs 60) and Porbandar (five hours Rs 55) There's a bus to Mumbai at 10 am (22 hours, Rs 200). Bookings for all buses should be made preferably 24 hours in advance.

Train
Delwada, between Una and Ghoghla and only about eight km from Diu, is the nearest railhead. A share auto-rickshaw from there to Ghoghla costs about Rs 5. There's a direct train at 6 am from Delwada to Veraval (96km, Rs 27I114). There is also a daily service to Junagadh (164km, Rs 43/159) via Sasan Gir.

Getting Around
Auto-rickshaw drivers will demand Rs 50 to Una, but you may be able to bargain this down. To travel anywhere within the town of Diu itself should cost Rs 7. To Nagoa Beach, expect to pay Rs 35, and to Sunset point, Rs 25. Share rickshaws to Ghoghla cost Rs 3 per person.

Cycling is a good way to get around Diu Town, although it can be a long, hot haul out to Nagoa or further a field to Vanakbara. Chandani Bike Hire at thc back of the town square has bikes for Rs 20 per day. For more mobility with less effort, Manisha electronics next to the Hotel Sanman, rents out mopeds for Rs 120 per day plus fuel, or Rs 630 per week (discounted in the off season). Some of these old rattletraps have been known to break down, stranding riders in far-flung comers of the island - check the bike over carefully before heading off. You can also rent bicycles here.

Local buses from Diu Town to Nagoa to Beach and Vanakbara leave from the bus stand opposite the petrol pump on Bunder Rd at 7 and 11 am, and 4 pm. From Nagoa, they depart for Diu Town from near the police post at 1,530 and 7 pm (Rs 3).

 

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