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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Diu?

Anupriya Bedi DEC 10 2012
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Diu is one of those places that has been the centre of power struggle since time immemorial. The enigma of this tussle is as enigmatic as the place itself. Diu is situated on the west coast of India and is surrounded by the river Kalem towards south, Bhagwan towards north, Arabian Sea towards west and district of Valsad towards east. The exquisiteness and its accessibility from the coast has been a drawing factor for power hungry rulers since time immemorial.

We if look at the legends and the Indian Mythology, the reference of Diu is found even in the Puranas when this place was ruled by the Daitya or the demon king called Jalandhar who was beheaded by Lord Vishnu by his Sudarshan Chakra. Hence Diu was also referred to as Jalandhar Kshetra during Satyug.

The rich and variegated past of Diu stands testimony to the tolerance of India towards foreign communities when Parsis landed here for safety while fleeing persecution in Iran in 7th century.

It is said power in itself is the biggest illusion. The wheels of time brought Diu under the rule of Mauryas during 322-320 BC and was the major trade centre of Saurashtra coast. From 1st century AD to 415 AD, Diu came under the rule of Kshatrapas which was followed by the Guptas from 415 to 467 AD. The constant power struggle brought it yet again under the rule of Mitrakas and Chavdas which was ultimately succeed by the Chalukya dynasty.

Diu always had an edge of being a city with strong naval force and defence. This gave it the advantage of being a successful and flourishing trade centre, which attracted various countries who were just beginning to explore sea routes and extending trading opportunities.

Diu was under the rule of Sultans of Oman during the 14th and 16 centuries before it was captured by the Portuguese in 1529 who used it's strategic position to usher a new era of commercialization and colonization.

Diu finally gained independence from colonial subjugation in 1961, and became a part of Indian republic along with Daman and Goa. It is currently being controlled and governed by Delhi as a Union Territory.

The socio cultural life of Diu is just as multifaceted as the dynasties which ruled it once, Portuguese being the last. The culture here is a potpourri of European, tribal and Indian elements. The fairs and festivals have an air of grandeur and pomp and show with vital elements of music and dance. The majority of the people in Diu are Hindus with a generous number of Christians and Muslims as well, while Gujarati language predominates.

Since Diu is predominantly Hindu region, most of the festivals which are celebrated are from Hindu religion. Two major festivals being the Garba festival in the month of October during the much anticipated Garba and the folk dance festival. The
Folk Dance Festival is a very significant part of the cultural life of Daman and Diu. The dance forms associated with the Folk Dance Festival in Daman and Diu are Mando Dance, Verdigao Dance and Vira Dance. The folk dance festival attracts people from all walks of life with equal vigour who specially dress up in bright traditional clothes to infuse the surroundings with an air of celebration.

People of Gujarat have quite a flair for craftwork which is evident in the ivory carvings and tortoise shell works mainly used for ornamental and decorative purposes.

Interestingly you will find a lot of influence of Gujarati and Portuguese flavour in the local cuisine which has adapted itself to suit the Indian palate. You can also enjoy exquisite and exotic sea food here. Diu is a perfect place near the Arabian sea to relax yourself and unwind from the mundaneness of the day to day life. Explore this ancient town that has attracted the most powerful rulers since time immemorial. The footprints of the history are still scattered in the ruins. Seek them out for yourself.

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