Click on the following links to Know more about Daman.....
1). History of Daman
2). History of Moti Daman Fort, It's Churches, Monuments & Old buildings
3). History of Nani Daman
Click 'BACK' to return to Gujarat Land / Sea Forts Expedition
History of Daman
The name of DAMAN is traced to the 1st Century A.D. In the latter part of the XIII Century when the Timmur Invasion expedited the fall of the Sultanate of Delhi. It was formed out of the dismembered Sultanate and was governed by MLEI MOLUK who governed the Throne of Cambay, under which jurisdiction it fell.
However in ancient times it comprised of two Praganas known as PRAGANA KALANA PAVRI or the LOTUS OF THE MARSHLANDS separated from PRAGANA NEAR by a River Ganga originating in the Hills of Paugysauvar in the Kandesh region. The river passes through the Portuguese villages of Bildary and Gurvary, runs through in various direction through the Pragana NAGAR HAVELI, rounds the south of DADRA enters the Pragana of Kalana Parvi and Naer and meets the Arbian Sea . The Pragaba Kalana Pavri comprise of 13 villagesand 12,883 inhabitants while the Pragana Naer consisted of 23 villages.
It is situated at a Latitude 20.22 North and Longitude 72.35 East of Greenwhich. It comprised an area of 384 square kilometers from the River Auranga in the North to River Agashi or Dantura on the South and with a total population of 49,084 inhabitants as per the Census of 1881. The expansionism of the British and the financial turmoil in the early 1900 witnessed the dismembering Daman from Nagar Haveli and the Daman Road Railway Station was taken over by the Satyagarah movement and joined the mainstream within the Indian Union. Later on 18th December, 1961 the Operation Vijaya annexed and occupied the Territory for Indian Union. And in 1975 the Treaty of Friendship and Peace accorded DE FACTO recognition to form an integral part and parcel of India . From the glorious past with three provinces, one full fledged city, one Villa denominated Palace of Arcos , 101 villages, three parishes and 9,842 cannons it became into tiny 72Sq. Km. In area spread between the Kolak River on the North to the Kalai River on the south. The Pragana Kalana Pavri is known as Nani Daman or Small Daman and the Pragana Naer is known as Moti Daman and the Pragana Naer is known as Moti Daman or Big Daman.
As against the denuded and arid neighboring regions f Gujarat , Daman enjoys a lot of greenery and boasts an enjoyable atmosphere conducive to inherent peace of mind and serenity not easily found elsewhere in the dins and bustles of modern day pace of life and business activities.
Daman in the past sustained great business activities as well as total decadence. The business activities extended to the Oriental coast of Africa , where annually it exported cotton and cotton products manufactured in their weaving cottage industry. From 1917 to 1937 the opium trade gained predominance which was exported from Karachi to Daman and from where it was re exported to China which provided huge income which was sent to public coders at Goa and from which funds a great number of buildings pertaining to the State was erected at Panjim and Campal dominated as D. Manuel de Portugal e Castro.
Daman also witnessed heavy ship buildings activities and its port was always filled with hundreds of vessels from near and far which ceased in the year 1838 when the English gained possession of the Port of Karachi and banned all exports to Daman . From this date we can say that the decadence started which continued its downward well until late 1961 when it was annexed to the Union of India. The administration was exercised by the Captain of the Port which was also known by the title of the Governor of Daman who discharged both military and civil functions, under the Daman & Diu. The Treasury was administered by the Body comprising of the Governor as President, the Delegate to the Procurator of the Crown and Treasury, of the Factor of Overseer and of the Administrative Clerk. The Treasury received orders, there was also the Customs Services which the Decree No 42 dated 15th January, 1881(Official Gazette No. 5) delegated powers to the Chief of Customs of Daman and Diu the process of salt and akbari. While the Christians inhabitants are governed by the Portuguese Rules, the Non-Christians inhabitants are governed by the Code of Usage and customs published at New Goa (Panjim) on 31st August, 1854 . The Non-Christians inhabitants divides into the following categories:
BANIAS: Ladd, Porwad, Modd, Dosa-Simali, Vissa-Simali, Dosa-Vossual, Gujor, Nagar, Panchola, Oudich, Simali, Toloquia and Mevara.
MUSLIMS: Moors, Seamen, Weavers, Ganchis, Ajams, Katkis
HINDUS: Prabhus, Sonis, Dekhnis, Kori Patels, Masons, Suthars, Blacksmith, Barea-Machhis, Somvansi-Xatris, Dubars, Dhobis, Cobblers, Non-muslim barbers, Cambatias, Noria-Machhis, Salmis, Capris, Sagars, Khumbars, Gates, Manguelas, Baria, Parsis, Boruja, Live-Calambis, Konkanas or Corumbis, Probia, Banfuia, Coja or Barbumjas, Hindiarus, Batelas, Gujarati Soni, Bandaris, Rajputs, Dorias, Varlys r Goluys, Kamalias Ora or Lotias.
All these are the inhabitants belonging to the Indo-Caucasian race pertaining to the indigenous population from Himalayas to Ceylon or Sri Lanka .
Amongst other religious places in Daman , the Somanath Mahadev Temple is an important place of worship. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is situated in the village Dabhel. It is believed that the Shivalinga was miraculously originated at its present place on the request of a monk who was a true devotee of Shiva. This miraculous incident is believed to have taken place in the19 th century, which induced people to hold this place as holy place and they built a small temple. It was rebuilt in the year 1972-73 with glass decorative. It is a pleasant spot connected by good roads. Every year there is a fair organised here known as 'Gangaji Fair'. Other important tourist places in Daman are Devka Beach , Jampore Beach , irrigation pond-lake in Kachigam, Nani Danan jetty garden and Hilsa summer house near Hilsa fish Aquarium
History of Moti Daman & the Various Old Churches and Buildings inside the Fort
The Portuguese settlement on the southern banks of the Damanganga River with a formidable fortress is called Moti Daman. Prior to the construction of Moti Daman Fort, there existed a small Muslim Citadel belonging to a Abyssinian Chief who ruled the area.
The massive Fort which runs round the settlement like a girdle dates back to 1559 and took over 2 decades to finish. This structure in the present form encompasses about 30,000 sq. mts. with 10 bastions and two gateways, North & South. The fort is protected by a moat on the land side and also connects the river to the sea. It is basically polygonal in plan with projections at regular intervals of about 500 feet and carrying splayed angular bastions. The parapet above the fortification walls is without merinos but is provided with loop holes. All along the ramparts of the Moti Daman Fort you have interesting closet type structures. Apparantely incase the enemy attacked all the defending soldiers had to do is load their musket, get into these chamber-like niches, aim and fire. I'd imagine that was the end of the invading army while the guardians of the fort stayed completely protected. Unless the enemy army consisted of exceptionally good marksmen.The terraces close to the top of the wall are connected to the inner ground surface by open flight of steps at many places. All along the inner wall, there are barracks for defense personals. The inscription above the southern (land) gate mentions that this gate along with the bastions adjacent to it was completed in 1581 AD after the Mughal invasion in Akbar's reign. The inscription on the Northern (sea) gate gives the date of 1593 AD for the completion of the Fort wall. On the Northern side within the palaces, the Secretariat and other official buildings. A large number of Portuguese gentry and their families reside within the Fort. This was predominantly the Portuguese side of Daman , with houses of the gentry, pretty cottages, gardens, churches, a hospital, a nunnery, and the Governor's palace. Ruins of a Dominican Monastery are also present in the fort. The pile of pillars and arches was once a great seat of Theological studies. Its decline is still a mystery. A public mass is held here on the 3rd Sunday of December in honour of the patron saint Dominic.
Most of the present Christian population speak ‘Low Portuguese' a form of Portuguese Language. (note : High Portuguese is currently being spoken in Portugal )
‘The Bom Jesus Church'
‘The Bom Jesus Church' dedicated to ‘Bom Jesus' was completed in its present form in the year 1603 AD. It served as the Parish Church of Daman during the early days of the Portuguese rule. The doorway with the elevated façade and richly decorated interior, lofty ceiling, carved and guilded altar emblished with statues of six saints attract attention.
‘The Chapel of Our Lady of Rosario '
‘The Chapel of Our Lady of Rosario' was built in 17 Century A.D. In contrast to the external simplicity, the interior is elaborate and magnificiently carved. Stories of Christian saints are depicted on the lateral walls of the Apse. The Ceiling is decorated with multi-coloured rose petals and Cherubic Golden Angels. The Altar of the Chapel is perhaps the most ornately carved and gilded example amongst all the Portuguese churches in India . Graves of several preists (during the Portuguese days) with inscriptions are present in midway path of the main church hall.
Both the above churches, alongwith Daman Sub-Jail and the Daman Municipal Bldg are present on the leftside of the road which connects the South-North gate.
‘The Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies'
‘The Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies' Church in Moti Daman, dates back to the 16th Century. It has outstanding architectural features, partly Gothic and partly Byzantian. This Church has a wide hall of prayer and beautifully carved figures.
‘The Chapel of Our lady of Augustias'
‘The Chapel of Our lady of Augustias' is built on the grave of Agostinho Xavier de Silva Vidigal, born at Lisbon on 3rd December, 1826 and expired at Daman on 20th March, 1843 on the field where the First World War soldiers were laid to rest. The Church was particularly named Anguish in remembrance. The altar is most prized with intrinsic carvings and decorative engraving done by Portuguese artists.
The Daman Municipal Council
The Institute of Local Self Government known as ‘Camara De Damao' subsequently changed as ‘Camara Municipal De Damao' & presently known as ‘Daman Municipal Council' is amongst the oldest municipalities in Asia established in the 16th century during Portuguese rule and enjoyed priviledge similiarly to those enjoyed by the Municipality Evora of Portugal in terms of “Senado Publico Nobre E Leal Provisao De 1581”. The entire area of Daman District was under the control, direction and supervision of Municipal Council who was ruled by the councilors selected by the Government amongst prominent citizens.
After liberation on 19 th Dec, 1961 , a Panchayat Raj institution was introduced and accordingly in the year 1962 village panchayats were constituted. The first elected council took charge of the Municipal Council in Nov 1970. During the constitution of Daman Municipal Council, there were 13 wards and 13 councillors which is now increased to 15 wards and 15 elected councillors at present out of which 5 women councillors are representing different wards in terms of 74 th Constitutional Ammendment.
History of Nani Daman Fort
Realizing the danger from the Mughals, Dom Jeronimo De Azevedo, The 20 th Portuguese Viceroy of India , started the construction of the fort in 1614 A.D on the northern bank of Damanganga River . The fort named after St. Jerome , one of the most eminent fathers of the Catholic church, was completed in the time of Dom Francisco Da Gama in 1627 A.D
The small fort with high stone walls encloses an area of 12,250 sq. mts. It has three bastions and two gateways. The most conspicuous part of the Fort is the giant gateway facing the river with a large statue of St. Jerome and two giant human figures, on either side of the gateway. The imposing church of Our Lady of the Sea is the principal building within the fort.
The fort also houses an old Christian Cemetery with a small church inside. We climb onto the parapet walls and traverse the entire fort. The South entrance has a huge stone cross on top.