Citadel of the Portuguese in India: St. Jerome fort, Nani Daman
A place not to miss while backpacking or travelling around the beautiful union territory of Daman is the Portuguese fort of St. Jerome. The St. Jerome fort is also referred to as Nani Daman fort by the locals. The fort is located on the northern side of the Damanganag River and is about a 10 minute walk away from the Nani Daman bus stand.
The construction of the fort was started by the Portuguese in the year 1614 AD. It took over fifty years for the construction work which was completed in 1672 AD. The fort is named after St. Jerome one of the most respected priests of the Catholic Church.
The construction of the fort of St. Jerome has been done in such a way that it more or less resembles a large, tall boundary wall. This wall surrounds this section of Nani Daman. St. Jerome fort is not like most other forts in India which are generally large building structures.
This fort has a giant gateway facing the Damanganag River with a large statue of St. Jerome and two giant human figures, on either side of the gateway. Within the premises of the fort are the church of Our Lady Of The Sea and a small grave yard. There are daily masses in the church, one in the morning and one in the evening.
There are a few old stone steps located all around the fort that lead you to the top of the fort. It takes not more than ten to twelve steps to reach the top of the fort. At the top of the fort is a path way broad enough for two people to walk. This path way goes all around the fort and the view of the sun set from here is splendid.
The section of the fort facing the river also gives a very good view of the Damanganga River and the fishing trawlers that are parked near the jetty.
Inside the fort is a big ground where people come to play cricket and football in the evenings. Joining them in a game is a brilliant way of having some fun and also getting to know a bit more about the locals. The end of the days play is usually followed up with a glass of beer or a glass of cold drink.
While visiting the fort it is advisable to not scribble anything on the walls of the fort and also to refrain from littering inside the fort.
In close proximity to the fort of St. Jerome are a couple more attractions – the Gandhi Park and the temple of Shri Satya Narayan.
A food court is located near the fort which has plenty of food stalls offering a wide variety of snacks like pav bhaji, roasted corn, cotton candy and a lot more. The ice lollies or more commonly known as golas by the locals is a must try from the food court.
The fort of St. Jerome is a great place to visit and should not be missed by anyone who is travelling around Daman. The fort and the church display the Portuguese architecture at its very best.
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