About SilvassaSilvassa is the shared capital of the Indian Union Territory, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The town is wedged in between Maharashtra and Gujarat, and is a beautiful landscape of lush green terrain. Silvassa is on the northern bank of Daman Ganga river, which runs across the Union territory.
Surrounded by nature, this place is a tourist paradise. It is a quiet town comprising of small villages, winding small rivers, beautiful waterfalls and patches of tall green trees. One can enjoy their stay in small cottages lying under the shadow of big trees and enjoy umpteen fresh air, visit the century old Church of Our Lady of Piety, the ruins of the Tadkeshwar Mahadev Temple and see the local tribal art museum.
Origin and History of the Silvassa
During Portuguese rule, Silvassa was also known as Vila de Paco d’Arcos. The name “Silvassa” originated from the Portuguese word “Silva”, meaning woods, as the landscape is largely covered with tall trees. At the beginning of Portuguese rule, Silvassa was a small village. During 1885, the two territories Dadra and Nagar Haveli, merged together to come under the rule of same municipality with Silvassa becoming the head town.
Even after India’s independence in August 1947, Portuguese ruled this territory till 1954. From 1954 to 1961, the territory got liberated and was administered by a body called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli. This finally got merged with the Indian administration in 1961, although they stayed under the International Court of Justice.
On 31st August 1974, Dadra and Nagar Haveli came under Republic of India and became an Indian Union Territory, with Silvassa being the capital of the place.
Demography of Silvassa
Silvassa falls under the Nagar Haveli taluk of the union territory with a total area of 491 sq. kms or 190 sq. miles. The population density as per 2011 Census is 21890, out of which 47% are female and 53% are male.
The town has a literacy rate of around 80% and 15% of the population are under the age of 6 years. There are two official language of the place, Marathi and Gujarati. Various tribal clans reside in the area among which the prominent are the Warli tribe who speak in Warli language, which is of a Konkani dialect. Agri is also a well known language among few tribes.
Geography and Climate of SilvassaSilvassa is exactly situated at 20.27o north and 73.02o east, at the foothills of Western Ghats. Valsad district of Gujarat surrounds the place from almost all the sides, with Thane district of Maharashtra on the south-east corner. The whole town is at an elevation of 32 meters and has Sahayadri mountain range running from the north-east.
Since it is on an elevated terrain, Silvassa experiences a moderate climate throughout the year. Summers are in general pleasant ranging from 25-39 degrees with cool winters having temperature of 14-30 degrees. Monsoon is exceptionally beautiful over here, with an annual rainfall of 200-250cm. The whole Union Territory is known as the Cherrapunji of Western India. Best time to visit Silvassa is between November and March.
Also Read: Geography of Silvassa
Tourism in Silvassa
- Swaminarayan Temple- This architectural masterpiece is situated on the banks of river Daman Ganga, on Silvassa Bhilad road. The intricate carvings on the temple wall are a viewer’s delight. The temple complex is covered with green lawn and is cleanly maintained. The temple opens at around 11.30am and the gorgeously dressed idol welcomes everyone.
- Dudhni Lake- 17kms away from Khanvel, this lake is formed by the Madhuvan reservoir water. One can reach the place by taking an autorickshaw from the town or a private vehicle is always helpful. Visitors can get be mesmerized by the nature and shining water, especially during monsoon. It is often termed as the Kashmir of West, as the river has amazing shikara rides.
- Vasona Lion Safari- Located on the Khanvel Silvassa road, this park is adjacent to the Satmalia Deer Park. It is basically a mini safari with almost no lions and one lioness alive. The safari is spread over 20 hectares and are open to the tourists from 9am to 5pm excepting Mondays. There is a caged bus ride of 20minutes costing about R25/- per person.
- Satmalia Deer Park- This park is adjacent to the Vasona Lion Safari Park on the Khanvel Silvassa road. The place boasts of having different species of deer and variety of birds. There are government gypsy rides around the park worth Rs 25/- per person.
- Church of Our Lady of Piety- This 18th Century church is the oldest standing building of Silvassa. The church is well maintained with big arches decorating the doors and the windows and is one of the beautiful Portuguese architecture.
- Vanganga Lake Garden- This lush green garden is located on the Vapi Silvassa road, around 26kms away from Khanvel. The entry fee are Rs25/- and Rs10/- respectively for adult and children. Tourist can relax while boating on the lake and enjoy the cool breeze. Best time to visit this place is early morning.
- Silvassa Tribal Museum- Located in the heart of Silvassa town, this is a small museum holding the heritage of different tribal culture of the union territory. One can find different utility items, ornaments and hunting weapons used by the local tribes.
- Kauncha- 40kms south of Silvassa, this place is a trekking paradise. One can do star gazing at night, while staying in a tent. Different kinds of water sports are available for the tourists like jet skies, rowing boats, kayaks and canoes.
Also Read: Tourism of Silvassa
Economic Growth in SilvassaSilvassa at the beginning was an agricultural based community with nearly 40% of the place covered with forests and fields. Due to good monsoon, the land is pretty fertile and produces paddy, mango and banana in abundance. Still today most of the villagers are into agricultural activity.
Apart from this, tourism is also an important industry of the place. With time, the government of India has encouraged industrialization, by giving tax-free status to all the players of industrial movement. Presently, Silvassa is one of the developed places of Western India with big industries like Hindalco, Ramco, Reliance, Gulf Oil, Hindustan Unilever etc. It has a huge hub for plastic products. It is one of the largest collectors of Excise duty among the states of India.
Also Read: Economy of Silvassa
Healthcare Facilities in SilvassaSilvassa being a small place has limited healthcare facilities. But with increasing population, government has taken help from the private players to come up with few hospitals apart from the old Government Civil Hospital. Few new hospitals are Vardhaman Hospital, Yogi Hospital, Sai Marigold Children Hospital, Sai Krishna Hospital etc.
How to Reach SilvassaSilvassa has got well connected roads and is a perfect weekend gateway for travelers with private vehicle. It is connected to the Western Express Highway (NH 8) and government and private AC buses run every day from Mumbai and Pune. Daman is only 30kms away from Silvassa.
The nearest railway station is Vapi (13kms away), from where tourists can find local auto rickshaws to Silvassa.
The nearest connecting airport is the Chatrapati Shivaji International airport of Mumbai, about 120kms from Silvassa. Airport Cabs are available for a day’s trip to Silvassa.
If one wants to get away from the hassles of the city traffic and enjoy fresh air among beautiful greenery, then Silvassa is the place to visit. Come to get mesmerized by the gorgeous nature.