), is a city and a municipal council
in Daman district
in the union territory of Daman & Diu
. Although there is no public airport in the area, the Indian Coast Guard
operates the small Daman Airport
which is sometimes used by public companies (mostly state run airlines operate some aircraft from there).
Daman is located at . It has an average elevation of .
Daman is divided by the Daman Ganga River
into two parts namely Nanidaman (Nani meaning "small") and Motidaman (Moti meaning "big"). Ironically, Nanidaman is the larger of the two towns. It is the downtown area containing most of the important entities like the major hospitals, supermarkets, major residential areas etc. While Motidaman is mainly the old city inhabited mostly by the fishing communities and government officers (most of the public offices are located there). Both Nanidaman and Motidaman are connected to each other by two bridges (one for light vehicles like two-wheelers and the other for heavy vehicles like trucks, cars etc). The smaller bridge collapsed in August, 2004 killing 28 school children. It was replaced but that bridge also collapsed. Since then it has not been rebuilt. Small boats ferry people from one side to the other several times a day for INR2
Daman was discovered in 1498 by Vasco de Gama. Soon after it was settled as a Portuguese colony and remained so for over 400 years. A larger fort was built in Motidaman in the 16th century to guard against the Mughals who ruled the area until the Portuguese arrived. It still stands today, most of it preserved in its original form. Today the majority of the municipal government offices are situated inside this fort.
India went to war with Portugal for control of Daman in 1961. Many of Daman's Catholic citizens fought on the side of Portugal, but could not withstand the Indian onslaught. To this day, many of Daman's adults consider themselves more Portuguese than Indian.
Located north of Mumbai, Daman, along with neighboring Vapi and Silvassa form an important manufacturing hub. A variety of products like pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, toys, electronics, dyes, printing ink, windmills, plastics, etc. are manufactured here.
People enjoy a modest quality of life here as Daman has a number of reputed hospitals, schools and other public institutions. Educated and well qualified people from all over India migrate here in search of work.
Daman is well-connected to other parts of India primarily though NH-8. The neighboring city Vapi (located from Daman) is connected to the Indian rail network.
There are many small villages around Daman. Some of them are Benslore, Kunta, Varkund, Khariwar, etc. These villages mainly act as residential areas for lower-middle class families. These villages are situated around 2-3km from each other and Daman.
As of 2001
, Daman had a population of 35,743. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Daman has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 64.84%: male literacy is 81% and female literacy is 70%. In Daman, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Most of the population in Daman consists of skilled and educated migrant workers (from all over India) who reside in Daman for a period of around 4 to 5 years. The local population consists of mostly fishermen called Tandels in Gujarati. The major part of the population is a mixture of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, with Hindus being dominant in number. There has never been any communal violence reported in this area.
Daman is a popular tourist destination. This is mainly due to its relatively untouched beaches and freedom to drink liquor, which is prohibited
in the neighboring state of Gujarat
. It mainly attracts tourists from neighboring areas like Vapi, Valsad
etc. Nowadays even some foreigners can be seen on its beaches.
Daman along with Vapi is one of the world's most polluted areas. As of 2007, the Blacksmith Institute
, Germany rated this area as the fifth most polluted place in the world. Major pollutants include heavy metals like lead, cadmium, etc.