Thinking of taking a trip to Daman?
Well, Daman, near Mumbai, is interesting place to go to, and not just because it was once ruled by the Portuguese. It’s long, winding, tree-lined roads and quaint architecture remind one vaguely of Goa. But this is where the comparison with Goa ends. The town of Daman in Daman is a small green sea-side town. The poverty here is evident. Tourists are not visible. Neither Indian nor foreign.
There are any number of hotels and sea-side resorts, some of them very decent. Bookings are easily available. Be warned however that Daman has black sands. While this may not appeal to everyone, the bleakness of the grey beach has a beauty of its own. At places the beach gets very narrow, but its great fun when the tide goes out as it reveals a huge expanse of rocky sand which one can walk on. The jutting rocks are popular with couples who sit and watch the sunset. It is not always possible to swim in the sea as it is shallow and rocky in parts. Most of the good hotels however have nice, large pools.
The main tourist attractions are the two forts built by the Portuguese several centuries ago, as well as an old church. The area is very green and it’s a good place for walking.
One can amble along the fort and along its walls and there is a view of the sea from the top. A hundred year old lighthouse is also in this area. The church is well maintained, but the forts are not. Although Daman is choc-o-bloc with hotels which are packed with people, the monuments are deserted and unswept. There is litter on the streets as well. It is indeed lucky for guests that most hotels keep the beaches in front of their places clean.
The large number of tourists who come to Daman are not interested in sight-seeing. They go to Daman for the alcohol. They pour in from neighbouring Gujarat, which is a dry state and its illegal to drink alcohol without a licence! We found it amusing to see guests drinking beer with their breakfast! And the numerous signs on the highway warning motorists not to drink and drive (on the Gujarat side!). This is not to say that the crowd is bad, not if you go to a good hotel. It’s a family crowd. Women, children, grandparents…
The way to get around in Daman is preferably your own car although there is public transport – rickshaws. Tourists can also hire motorcycles.
Usually a couple of days are all that one requires in Daman. It’s a good place for Mumbaikars who want to get away for the week-end as it’s just 150 kms from Mumbai. And the road is good. All in all, a quick week-end get-away which is light on the purse.
Hotel review: Hotel Miramar at Daman