March 11, 2018

Diu Fort- A remnant of Portuguese legacy in India

When
Diu Fort was built in 1535 by the Portuguese traders who had come to India for primarily doing the spice trade with Indians.

The entrance of Diu Fort

How come India has a Portuguese fort?
• The Portuguese wanted to protect and strengthen their trade. For that, they wanted to acquire an exclusive land on the western coast where a fort could be built, an army outpost could be maintained and their business could be run securely.
• Their wish was granted when Bahadur Shah, the then Sultan of Gujarat Sultanate, formed a defence alliance with them and allowed them to build the fort.
To read more about what transpired between the Sultan and the Portuguese which led to Portuguese rule over entire Diu, click here.

The structure

  • The fort is a magnificent and formidable structure built on the coast of Diu. It was constructed over a period of 6 months. Surrounded by the sea on three sides, it offers a breathtakingly beautiful view of the Arabian Sea and the Panikotha Fort.

Enjoying the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea

The view of Panikotha Fort from Diu Fort

  • There is double moat between the outer and inner walls of the fort for security. The outer moat is a tidal moat. The inner moat which separates the fortifications from the castle is made by cutting through the sandstone rocks.

The inner moat

  • The outer wall of the fort is built along the coastline. The inner wall has towers on which guns were mounted. One can also see cannons kept on top of the fort which were fired by the Portuguese in times of war. The ruins of these towers and the gateways provide an impressive idea of the extent of the military defense that the fort provided in the past.

The Cannons

  • The fort has vaulted ceilings which are a typical characteristic of the European Gothic architecture.

The inside view of the vaulted ceiling

  • The fort is riddled with many underground escape channels. In the past, it had facilities for storage of all kinds of arms and ammunitions, ration and water to withstand any long siege.

The arms and ammunition used by the Portuguese

  • Some part of the fort is off limits where the entry of the tourists is restricted. This area is a jail which is operational even to this date. Prisoners are kept here.

The Sub Jail situated inside the Diu Fort

Renowned all over the world

The fort is renowned all over the world for featuring in the list of New Seven Wonders of Portugal built during their colonial rule. This list was released in 2009 in which the top 7 monuments were chosen out of a total of 27 monuments built in 16 colonized countries during the Portuguese rule.

Visiting Timings

There are no entry or exit timings for visiting the fort. There is no entry fee as well. However, it is advisable to visit the fort during the early morning or evening hours to escape the overbearing heat during the day. Also, one must keep summer gears like hat, shades, water bottle and a pair of comfortable and airy footwear handy as visiting the fort would require a lot of walking under the sun. However, the fort is definitely worth this effort!

Mr. Husband and the Missus admiring the beauty of the magnificent deep blue sea

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