These unique palm trees known as hokka can be found on almost every corner in the UT.
The hokka tree has a fascinating history. Some say, they were planted here first by the Portuguese, who had brought them in from their African colonies. As you know, Diu was a Portuguese settlement until 1961. Other stories suggest they have existed here since the time India and Africa were one continent.
What we do know now is that these trees grow only in this region in India, making them standalone attractions in and around Diu town.
Now, the locals have been known to eat the largish seeds of the tree, although I wasn’t courageous enough to try any. Give me my apples, anyday. They did look somewhat interesting, though. The red skin, when peeled off, reveals a yellow flesh. The seeds can also be used to make liquor, sometimes of the spurious variety. So all those who like their taadi, beware!
The hokka tree is also known as the doum palm or the gingerbread tree and was considered sacred in parts of Africa. What makes hokka seeds or doum fruits special is that they stay well for days and months and well, a real long time, even after they are separated from the tree. Case in point: Doum fruits were found, well-preserved in King Tut’s tomb. Generally offered at funerals, the fruits were meant to accompany the Pharoah on his last journey.
So the next time, you’re in Diu, be sure to take a selfie with this celebrity tree.
Images courtesy: http://travel-diu.blogspot.in/p/interesting-photos.html