Saturday, December 1

Moti Daman

I thought Nani Daman and Moti Daman were names of the two Portugese forts in the town of Daman, but I've come to realize that this is actually a distinction between two areas of the town. I think "Nani" means little and "Moti" means big.

I woke up early and went to the fort of Nani Daman, where I watched the sun rise over the Daman Ganga, kids exercising in the courtyard of the fort and the fishermen prepping their boats for the day. As the sun rose I made my way to Moti Daman and explored the larger of the two forts. This was quite a treat.

The fort of Moti Daman contains three or four churches (one a ruined monastary), a light house and a whole bunch of little Portugese influenced houses. I thourougly explored it and was able to find a number of places where I could climb up to the walls and bastions to have a better look at the town and ocean (or rather the Arabian Sea).

It's an inhabited fort and the people that live in it seem to be really well off. The traffic seems restricted to motorcycles and cars with a permit and the streets are lush, lined with trees and shrubs. There are jungle-like gardens everywhere and they're full of animals, bugs and flowers that were all new to me. The place is well taken care of and I noticed people sweeping the streets, racking leaves, etc. There are no locked gates, guards, guides or admission fees. You go where you please and only once in a while do you see a sign that warns of fines if any ruins or the fort is damaged. This was a first for me in India and I think it's because not many tourists visit here. I haven't ran into any foreign tourists, even at the internet cafes.

Tomorrow I leave Daman. It was quite peaceful and definitely one of my highlights on this trip. I made arrangements to take a train to Mumbai (Bombay) where I'll hop on a domestic airplane and make my way to Aurangabad.

The bridge over the Daman Ganga, heading to Moti Daman:

Inside the Moti Daman fort:

Inside one of the wall fortifications:

Dominican monastery ruins, used by the local boys for