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The island of Diu, its architecture and historic remains

The island of Diu, its architecture and historic remains

Shokoohy, Mehrdad and Shokoohy, Natalie H. (2010) The island of Diu, its architecture and historic remains. Journal of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS), 26 (2). pp. 161-191. ISSN 2153-2699 (electronic) 0266-6030 (paper) (doi:

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Diu, unlike many ex-Portuguese colonies in India, preserves a variety of cultural and historical edifices of many communities. While impressive churches create landmarks and Portuguese houses give the narrow lanes and urban and village squares a Mediterranean flavour, the legacies of Hindus, Muslims and Zoroastrians are also evident in the island. In the authors’ ongoing project of recording the historic remains of Diu to provide a comprehensive study of the history, architecture and urban development of the island, papers on the earliest mosque, the fort and the town have appeared in this journal. The present article explores the island to show how Diu has preserved its rich and diverse culture from the thirteenth century to the present.

Starting with the pre-Portuguese Muslim remains on the coast near the town we then trace the ancient road – with wheel-marks engraved in the rock – leading to Fudam, where stands the church of Our Lady of Remedies. In Fudam’s vicinity near the coast is the Gangeśvara rock-temple dedicated to Śiva and near the temple are other Hindu remains and the two Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (dakhma), one of which is well preserved and provides an unprecedented opportunity to study its design and construction. Further west takes us to the shrine of Pīr Habash Bābā, (the name indicates Abyssinian origin) revered by Muslims. Finally, at the west of the island the fishing village of Vanakbara is explored, with its shady urban square, the Jamā‘at khāna (mosque) of the Khoja Ismā‘īlīs and the Church of Our Lady of Mercy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diu, architecture, Indo-Portuguese architecture, Zoroastrian dakhmas, Towers of Silence, urban planning, history, archaeology, Portuguese India
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Architecture, Design & Construction
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:12

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