The end of a year calls for some celebration, and more so if it’s also the end of a decade. My family wanted to go somewhere to spend a weekend before the new year came rolling in. Before taking help of the god-like engine named Google, we wondered – where do we go? Our first priority was, of course, a place with cool weather. That’s something we’ve been craving as Mumbai-based people, given that winter gods rarely smile upon us. Somehow, after much contemplation, we settled on Daman.
Daman is a significant half of Daman and Diu, a Union Territory of India. It used to be a part of Portuguese India which explains a lot of architecture you might see here.
And so we were off to Daman. Nani Daman, to be very specific. Daman is divided by the Daman Ganga river into two parts – Nani-daman (nani meaning “small”) and Moti-daman (moti meaning “big”). Despite its name, Nani-daman is the larger of the two parts, while the old city is mainly in Moti-Daman.
The gloomy weather, the perfect roads lined by palm trees on both sides and the restaurants on the highway gave us company as we traveled out of the state of Maharashtra. Three hours later, we were in Daman, welcomed by the huge sign at the entrance.
It’s a lush city, packed with trees and greenery all around. The huts and small buildings give a rustic feel, making you realize that yes – you’re not in a concrete jungle anymore! You’ll see many bungalows with varied colors, patterns, textures – new and aged. Silent roads came to life with the sounds of bikes and scooters. A lone cat meowed, climbed a wall and peeked out. There was something special even in the ordinary.
Soon, we reached our temporary abode – a hotel located a stone’s throw away from a beach. Brownie points to me for booking a hotel at such a nice location, I thought (and I’m guessing my parents thought so too).
After freshening up, we headed out for lunch. I picked a Punjabi restaurant to try some authentic Punjabi food, and so we walked and walked until we reached our destination. Some Chicken Patiala and naans were in store for us that afternoon and boy, was it yummy. We ate hungrily, as Punjabi songs played on the tv in the background. The chatter of fellow diners merged with the music coming from the tv. A child cried at the top of her lungs at a table, while the mother tried to calm her down, slightly embarrassed.
And so, our afternoon ended with us feeling sleepy (the long journey and delicious food are to blame) and we took a nap. At around 4pm, we ventured out again, hoping to look at the Jerome Fort and revisit a part of Portuguese history.
It was closed, much to our disappointment. There’s always a silver lining though, and in our case, the silver lining was the array of colorful boats at the Nani Daman jetty, right in front of the fort. We observed, took pictures and videos of the waves as the sun quietly set in the sky. It was a magical sight, to see the sun slowly drowning into the waters, only to come back again tomorrow.
We walked a bit more and ended up on a beach with black sand. The roaring waves were scary yet comforting. It reminded me that nature is beautiful but you don’t want to mess with it. We sat there, speechless and humbled by the sheer vastness of the sea. Soon, it was time to go back and so we did. Our dinner time was accompanied by a little puppet show at the restaurant, meant for small kids, but thoroughly enjoyed by my family and I. We ended the day with a walk down the road by the hotel and by grabbing a cup of kesar pista ice cream. The drop in the temperature was evident and welcomed.
The next morning involved buffet breakfast, yet another walk to a different beach and sadly, packing to go home. Time passes by fast when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s very important to cherish every second of joy you experience, big or small. This trip to Daman made me realize that the place doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy for you to enjoy being there. All you need is a wonderful and peaceful state of mind. That’s all.