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Witness a memorable sunset at Malala.

Summary: Diu might get seasonal attention from Bollywood but it still remains one

of India's well kept secrets tucked away along the western coast, a

land that time seems to have forgotten. And there are secrets within the

secret, such as the stunning sunset at the Malala quarry in Diu.

Explore Diu for its rich Portuguese heritage which is still alive on

every street of the coastal town.

A slice of Portugal

As our travelling habits evolve and daily lives get increasingly hectic--going away to do nothing is becoming more and more popular. Diu is a destination ideal for that. Every point along the limestone quarry of Malala in Diu is a 'sunset point'. Sit idly at dusk by the cliffs and watch the divine artist get to work. The sky is a bright orange and blue and the ball of fire waits to sink into the horizon. It is as though an artist was painting his picture in reverse, taking away the colours one by one--first and slowly goes the blue from the sky, and then the orange ball in the horizon begins its slow game of hide and seek--going, going... gone. And then you are in darkness with only the sound of the wind and the waves.

This is something you won't find in any guidebook. The limestone quarries of Malala, an amazing labyrinth in the south of the island, could well be one of India's, not just Diu's, little secrets. Watch the sun go down as you rest on the cliffs--it is much quieter here than rest of Diu as the weekend crowd from the nearby states doesn't usually venture this side. That only adds to the charm of this abandoned quarry, a place that even the locals seem to have forgotten. But back in Diu it's business as usual. Daman and Diu were a Portuguese enclave for over four centuries till the close of colonial rule in 1961. When Goa achieved statehood in 1987, Daman and Diu were made into two districts in one Union Territory, although almost 700 kilometres apart. Diu, however, with its quiet and serene beaches, its mix of Portuguese and Gujarati culture, seemed like a land that time had forgotten.

Today, Diu seems to have found its place under the sun with many Bollywood films being shot here--Ajay Devgn has shot three of his films here--and Diu was turned into the badlands of Madwa in the recent Bollywood flick Agneepath.

The limestone quarries of Malala though still remain Diu's best kept secret.

Plus says

Stay: Resort Hoka, Diu

Duration: 3 nights

Cost: Rs. 2,550 a night for a room

Season: Take a walk along the scenic Gangeshwar beach

Good to know

Weather: Unfortunately, both Daman and Diu are crowded during weekends, thanks to revellers from 'dry' Gujarat. In the monsoon, however, the numbers go down a bit and that's the time you should look at planning your trip. October to February is ideal.

Getting there: You can drive down to Daman from Mumbai in less than four hours; or take a train to Vapi, the nearest railhead (about 12 km from Daman). Silvassa is about 18 km from Vapi and 30 km from Daman. Jet airways has direct connections from Mumbai to Daman. Diu is about 400 km from Ahmedabad and is also directly connected from Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Food: For Indo-Portuguese food, try Diu's Heranca Goesa where you can have fish recheido, chicken cafreal, chicken or prawns with peri peri sauce. 205/3, behind Diu Museum, off Hospital Road; tel: (02875) 253 851

Plus picks

1. Get high on Tari: A locally made palm wine, Tari can give you a good high. A favourite of locals, this drink is an essential during all festivals in this region. Though, for those not used to the drink, its best to sample the drink and decide if it suits you.

2. Experience Parsi culture at Udvada: A short drive away from Daman is a Parsi ghost town with phenomenally beautiful houses, and a Sun temple, which though has restricted entry. Two decades ago there were nearly 5,000 Parsis in Udvada and now there are barely 100 left. But for one of the last authentic bastions of Parsi culture Udvada is worth a visit.

3. Visit a wildlife sanctuary: The Satmaliya Dapada Sanctuary is a gem tucked away on the road to Khanvel from Silvassa in Dadra & Nagar Haveli. There is a viewing tower near a waterhole within the sanctuary from where you can spot a variety of birds and wildlife. Timing: 7 am-11 am and 3 pm-6 pm. Mondays closed.

4. Pay homage to the poet Bockage: The House of Bockage, which was the residence of the poet in the 18th century, is located near the main gate of the Daman fort.

3. Have fun at a waterpark: Devka beach in Daman might not be safe for swimming, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun in the water. Hop across to the Mirasol Waterpark in Devka for children's water play areas, slides and coaster rides.

11 Heritage walk

Daman, Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli

Daman has rich Portuguese heritage that still echoes in its monuments. Take a heritage walk during a pleasant winter morning that would take you along the shaded street of fort of Moti Daman, onto two-storey mansions, once residences of Portuguese nobles and now government offices and of course the beautiful churches like the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Plus says

Route: Starts at the Daman fort through the Portuguese quarters and ends at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary

Duration: 3 hours

Season: October to March

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Publication:India Today Travel Plus
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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