Daman is a Union Territory that lies between the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The Gujarat coastline ends with Daman and the 720-km long Konkan coastline begins. At its northern end is the quiet seaside town of Dahanu. It was a barren scrubland till the Iranis came and settled down there in the 1880's and transformed the place into a fruit-growing area. Dahanu is the country's main chickoo producing region .
Halfway down the coastal road from Dahanu to Bombay lies the village of Nala Sopara. It was known as Shurparak in ancient times, when it was a busy seaport. Supari (arecanut), which incidentally got its name from Shurparak, was an important item of trade. Oyster fishing was an important occupation and the pearls obtained from the oysters were exported to China.
Legend has it that the Gautama Buddha, in one of his incarnations was born here. Several Buddhist relics, including stupas, have been discovered in the region.
Ten kilometres to the south of Nala Sopara lies the ancient boat-building yard of Papdi in Baxay or Vasai.The boat-building industry flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries under Portuguese rule. The ruins of a once commanding fort, cathedrals and mansions where the hidalgos or the aristocracy lived, stand as silent reminders of the Portuguese rule here. Vasai today is an important supplier of vegetables to Bombay.
Several hot springs are found in and around the bed of the Tansa river, which flows through this region. The most popular springs are those at Vajreshwari and Ganeshpuri. The temperature of the water generally ranges from 110 degrees to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. Bubbles of gas having strong sulphurous smell rise from the water.
Close to Borivli, a suburb of Mumbai, lie the Kanheri caves, the largest group of Buddhist caves in Western India. There are 109 of them. The caves contain carvings, sculptures, pillars and stupas built by Buddhist monks between the second and tenth centuries A.D.
A few kilometres away from the Kanheri caves in Jogeshwari, there is a Shiva temple carved out of rock. It was built in the second half of the 8th century.
There is another famous Shiva temple in the town of Ambernath near Kalyan, which is 54 kilometres from Mumbai. The temple is made of black stone and it lies in a hollow. The Shivalinga, believed to be a swayambhu, lies a good eight feet below ground level.
The city of Thane lies across the narrow 18-km long Thane creek, on the outskirts of Bombay. At the other end of the creek is Trombay, where lies the country's main centre for atomic research, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.