Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a Union Territory in western India. Nagar Haveli is wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, whereas Dadra is an enclave lying a few kilometres north of Nagar Haveli in Gujarat. Its capital is Silvassa. The territory lies some ten to thirty kilometres up-river from the city of Daman. The major spoken languages in the territory are Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli now with capital city Silvassa, in Western India, was ruled by the Marathas till 1779. The 72 villages it comprises were offered to the Portuguese following a friendship treaty. Portuguese rule over the Union Territory lasted until August 2, 1954, and traces of it can still be found. In 1961, Dadra and Nagar Haveli became a part of India and since then, it has been administered as a Union Territory, with Silvassa as its’ capital.
The Union Territory is dotted with ruins from its glorious past. One of Dadra and Nagar Haveli’s major tourist attractions is in Silvassa – the Church of Our Lady of Piety (built in 1889 and still standing strong). The Bindrabin temple, also at Silvassa, is another famous tourist attraction.
Geography and Climate
Dadra and Nagar Haveli are in the watershed of the Daman Ganga River, which flows through the territory. The towns of Dadra and Silvassa both lie on the north bank of the river. The Western Ghats range rises to the east, and the foothills of the range occupy the eastern portion of the district. The territory is landlocked, although the Arabian Sea coast lies just to the west in Gujarat.
53% of the area is under forest cover, and the rich bio-diversity makes it an ideal habitat for a variety of birds and animals. This makes it a perfect spot for eco-tourism. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, Silvassa is an incredible eco-tourism spot. Tribes constitute over 62% of the total population. A perfect example of both can be seen in capital city Silvassa.
The weather in Silvassa and throughout Dadra and Nagar Haveli remains warm and pleasant throughout the year, making any time the best time to visit Silvassa.
The local tribal cuisine of capital city Silvassa and all over Dadra and Nagar Haveli uses an interesting variety of pulses and vegetables, including wild mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Rotis are made from various flours like rice, nagli (raagi) and jowar, and are a must try on your stay at any hotel in and around Silvassa. Crabs, freshly caught on a dark night after a hunt in the wild by the light of makeshift wooden torches, is a delicacy not only in Silvassa, but throughout India. River fish like rohu, katla and mirgals carp are popular. Chutneys made from the fruit and leaves of wild shrubs and aromatic herbs (like karanda berries, ajoola leaves, ambada leaves and raw mangoes) are mouth watering and greatly relished – one of the most savored cuisines of India. You will get a good taste of the Silvassa or Dadra and Nagar Haveli tribal cuisine in hotels in Silvassa and also the rest of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Music and Dance
The tribal’s residing in capital city Silvassa as well as the Dadra and Nagar Haveli are known for their creativity and colourful culture. Dance and music are a big part of their lives, and are a must see at tribal festivals and fairs that you can best experience in Silvassa. Their music instruments are made of locally available material like clay, gourd, bamboo, dried fruits and vegetables, wood and leather, and are prepared by the tribal’s themselves. You can see a collection of these instruments at the Tribal Museum in Silvassa. Tarpa Dance, Bhawada Dance, Tur and Thali Dance, Dhol Dance and Gheria Dance performances are major attraction in the territory.