The Portuguese certainly knew what they were doing when they captured India’s West Coast in order to control trade routes. Judging by the sheer size and expanse of the outstanding and absolutely robust Diu Fort, no force could have stood a chance against the Portuguese.
Built in 1535 as a vantage point over the Arabian Sea, the Diu Fort covers 56,736 sq mts. (I know, right?) and is a huge delight to explore. I won’t be surprised if, while exploring the fort, you start to feel like an intrepid sailor out to discover new lands.
The entrance, with its double moat and imposing walls, can be pretty intimidating. One architectural feature that lent an air of friendliness to this otherwise formidable monument was this balcony here.
Granted, it was meant as a look-out. Nevertheless, it offered a certain degree of human contact. All that was missing was a cute Portuguese soldier, singing fado, drinking port wine and mournfully waving out to visitors.
The entrance has a huge iron door where one has to bend to enter the fort. From what little I know of this standard practice, the bending was meant to instill a sense of deference on part of the visitor.
Walking around, the mind boggles at the grandiosity of this monument. Although sparsely decorated, one gets a fairly good idea of its functionality. There are numerous chapels inside the fort, indicating the presence of a great many soldiers. In addition, you’ll find storage rooms, underground tunnels and of course, canons that menacingly look out over the sea. Needless to mention, the fort was built to withstand long sieges. (Note, though that certain areas of the fort may be closed off. )
On one end of the fort stands a lighthouse. Westwards, you’ll see the Panikota Fort in the middle of the sea, built by the Portuguese to defend the supply on their boats. The Panikota Fort looks like a ship and houses a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady Of The Sea, in addition to a lighthouse.
Signs of vibrant life prevailed inside the fort, thanks to this gorgeous Gulmohur. Other signs of life include a prison on the premises of the Fort, obviously off-limits to visitors.
Provide a good hour at least to explore the fort from end-to-end. Wear good sports shoes and carry your water bottle and camera with you. This one is a must-do for all those who love their history and adventure.