Diu is currently hosting Asia’s longest beach festival, Festa De Diu. The festival was kick started on December 1 and will end only on February 15, 2016. Diu, one of the most understated union territories of the country has a lot to offer for travelers. From beaches and forts to churches and more… the island destination has a Portuguese past that makes it rich in cultural and historic inheritance.
1. Church of St Francis of Assisi
This was the first church to be built by the Portuguese. Constructed in 1593, the Church of St Francis of Assisi is the oldest and one of the three most beautiful churches on the island. The church is located on a hillock that overlooks the Arabian Sea. The church was built to replicate churches built in Europe. A long flight of stairs leads to the entrance of the church that were built on the eastern and the northern ends of the church. Today, it functions as a hospital and a famous tourist attraction in Diu.
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2. Church of St Thomas
The Church of St Thomas was constructed in the late 16th century and was the second church to be built by the Portuguese. Dedicated to St Thomas, the construction of the fort was completed in 1598 and is, to this day, one of the major churches of Portuguese India. It is one of the few churches in India that have been constructed in Gothic style of architecture. With white washed walls and faded Portuguese frescoes, the church was abandoned for a few decades before it was converted into a museum in 1998.
St. Thomas Church is located in the market area of the Diu fort. It has Baroque facades along with a collection of local artifacts, stone sculptures of Christ and Virgin Mary and wood carvings made of wood that are more than over four centuries old. Despite not functioning as a church, there is mass held here once a year.
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3. St Paul’s Church
Founded in the 17th century, the St Paul’s Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. It is one of the most famous and well maintained of the three churches built by the Portuguese in Diu, It is indeed one of the best examples of baroque style of architecture in India constructed in 1610.` The detailing and intricacy of the design of this church makes it one of the finest examples of all the Portuguese churches in India. Located by the Gulf of Khambat resembles the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa.
The church is named after St Paul one of the disciples of Jesus known as Apostle to the Gentiles. Though the newest of the three, it is the only functioning church in Diu that caters to the entire Christian community in the union territory.