To the Lighthouse

An impromptu day trip to Daman in the Audi Q3 was the perfect panacea after a month of strenuous toil. From the forts and the Churches to the colourful buildings and the beaches, Daman has it all.

Feb 06, 2024 RACHNA TYAGI No Comments Like

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A few days back, on a beautiful Sunday morning, my classmate, N, and I, decided to take a road trip to Daman in the well-engineered, luxe SUV, the Audi Q3, and boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise! Since we had already driven to Diu last year (Read all about it here –, Daman, which lies between Silvasa and Surat, became this year’s obvious choice. Our drive to Daman, the administrative capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, turned out to be one of the best day trips we had taken, and not merely on account of Daman being a place of immense historical interest, but also because the powertrain on the Q3 made it a real mile-chomper, making the 300+ km drive from Thane to Daman and back on the fabulous NH48 so much fun! 

N, the “Masterchef” of our class, had offered to bring along a picnic hamper so that not only could we could devour the delicacies en route, but could also sit down somewhere on the beach in Daman and enjoy the lavish spread. However, I politely declined. Not only did I not want the clean and classy cabin of the Q3 which still had that faint, lingering “new car fragrance,” to smell of Indian cooking, but also because, picking up food crumbs from the seats and the car mats was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day’s drive. And so, lunch at a local restaurant in Daman, was what was finally decided upon.

The Q3’s 4-cylinder, 1984cc engine, which is really a stonker of an engine that puts out 190bhp and 320 Nm of torque, made driving on the NH48 a really smooth experience, and barring a small delay at the toll booth on account of some traffic, we drove non-stop until we saw a road sign indicating a left turn towards Daman. As we turned left, a few meters ahead another sign in Gujarati announced the word ‘Daman’ and as we took that road, we realized that we were now on the NH-848-B, from where the Bharuch division limit began. 

A few meters ahead, we made a quick halt to pick up a few water bottles. On our return, we encountered a man dressed up as Lord Hanuman, who with his mace was sauntering around the Q3. His ochre robes seemed to be perfectly colour coordinated and totally in sync with the Q3’s Pulse Orange colour and he was only too happy to pose for a picture for us. We climbed back into the Q3 absolutely amused at the astounding attractions as well as colour that our Indian highways offered us, thereby making every single drive distinct. 

After a railway crossing, we drove on some really well-tarmacked roads with scant traffic, before arriving at Magarwada Junction which indicated that Daman was barely 5 km away. By the time we arrived, Daman, still seemed to be asleep as there were very few vehicles on the roads. We took a bridge to enter Daman and soon found ourselves across the water front of the Damanganga river from where we continued onward.

Soon enough we came up to the massive St. Jerome Fort, also called the Nani Daman Fort, built by the Portugese on the banks of the river that houses the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Sea. The fort, boasts a large statue of St. Jerome, a renowned priest of the Catholic Church, at the gateway, and has a massive yard within its high stone walls. By the time we got there, both, tourists as well as visitors to the Church had already started trickling in.

Across the fort, along the riverside, a lemonade guy was busy setting up his shop on his tricycle and a fish market was getting ready to sell its fresh catch. We parked the Q3 and walked along the banks of the river breathing in the air coming in from the ‘Gulf of Khambhat’ and I wondered if the gorgeous Indian model and actor, Persis Khambatta, (who worked in several Hollywood and Bollywood films as well as TV shows) and her family hailed from there. Outside the homes near the fish market, several colourful fishing boats, ferries, and dinghies could be seen parked on the streets and it was truly quite a sight!

After our walk, we returned to the Q3 and drove in the opposite direction of the fort towards the beautiful promenade that was being constructed and what a stunning sight it was! The sea, the promenade, and the Q3 on the road. The scale of construction of laying out the walkway was just enormous. Clearly, the authorities were planning for the future because it was evident that Daman was being readied to become a big tourist attraction in the coming years. Over here too, we parked the Q3 and took a long walk on the promenade. By now it was well past noon and while the sun was beating down on us mercilessly, it was the cool weather thanks to which we managed that long walk along the newly constructed promenade. Besides, it also did us some good as we were able to work up an appetite.

As both, N and I, had left home early in the morning, we had skipped breakfast, and by the end of our walk, N was ready to sit down and polish off “a big meal” and I was in dire need of something to quench my thirst. We drove around the restaurant area in Daman for a bit and looked at restaurants that offered parking and once we found something good enough for the Q3, we entered the restaurant and ended up devouring a Gujarati Thali at quite an incredible speed.

The meal had fortified us and it was now time to explore the even more quaint Portugese side of Daman, Moti Daman. Our first stop was at the Daman Municipal Council Building, one of the oldest buildings in Daman built “by the order of the conqueror of Daman, D.C. de Braganca” in 1581. This area of Moti Daman was really well-maintained and almost looked like a film set with not just cobbled streets and colourfully painted buildings, but also some exquisite outdoor furniture. Located here is also the Bom Jesus Church, established in 1559 and consecrated in 1603, renowned for the artistry of the Portugese artisans.  

After exploring this quaint quarter of Moti Daman we exited the area, and soon enough came across a T-55 tank that was on full display. The Czech (Russia) built tank had been used by the Indian Army extensively during conflicts with Pakistan between 1960’s-1980’s. This particular one was inducted into the service on December 31, 1976, and was fully serviceable for military operations for over 40 years!

After this it was time to head to the Lighthouse. While Daman has two Lighthouses, the older one, a fort-based lighthouse, was built by the Portuguese, and the new one was built by the Indian Government. Unfortunately, entry to the new Lighthouse is restricted for security reasons and so you can only visit the old Lighthouse now. The Old Lighthouse, which isn’t as tall as the new one, had received a lick of paint and was shining in all its splendour, however, it was the expansive New Lighthouse with its revolving tower and a 204m diameter lantern at the top that stole our hearts. 

Next, we headed to Jampore beach and it was here that all the crowd and the action was. Finding a good enough parking for the Q3 was a bit of a pain but we managed just fine, and it turned out to be a great place to sit back and relax with a sundowner.

While, there were still a couple of more places to explore on our ‘Must See’ list in Daman, it was time to head back. Soon enough we were back in the comfort of the luxurious Q3 with directions to ‘Home’ set on Google Maps. As we headed back, Apple Carplay began belting out Madonna’s songs from my playlist. N had dozed off shortly after we left Daman and all through the 165 km drive back on the NH-48, it was really only Madonna that kept me company. The 2200 kg (Gross weight) Q3, as always, was on its best behaviour and maintained its excellent composure throughout. The R18s that the Q3 came shod with and the McPherson struts only further enhanced our driving experience making us truly enjoy this premium SUV to the fullest. What a pity that we had only planned this trip to Daman as a day trip because that meant that we could make absolutely no use of its massive 460-Litre boot space! Next time, for sure, we told ourselves. 

Three hours later we entered Thane and N, woke up with a start, only to realize that the journey had come to an end and that we were almost home. N’s reaction on having slept almost throughout the return journey had me in splits. After dropping N off, I couldn’t believe that I was still not tired from the day’s driving and I certainly was in no mood to return home, and so, I didn’t. I drove the Q3 around for some more time, alone. All the while admiring not just its solid build quality, its enviable engineering and its immaculate design but also that electro-mechanical power steering which was brilliant on the highways as well as on busy city roads. When you get yourself a suitable vehicle you don’t get one for the office and one for off-roading and yet another one as a runabout, you get something that meets your overall requirements and when on the spur of the moment you decide to do something impromptu and you know at the back of your mind that your chosen vehicle is mighty capable of it all, the smile that the confidence brings is something else and today the Audi Q3 did just that for me and maybe a little bit more.







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