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3.7 /5 41 votes
16 Hotels found
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Best Time: Nov-Jun Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Surat Check Flights

Silvassa Tourism

With the hills of the Western Ghats and surrounding lush greenery, it is an ideal indulgence into the wild side for a tourist and its Portuguese heritage makes it famous amongst the history enthusiasts as well.

Located in the southern region of Gujarat and close to Vapi, Silvassa is the capital of the union territory Dadra and Nagar Haveli and is famous for its greenery, exotic resorts, industries and tax - free alcohol. Silvassa is a treat for adventure enthusiasts with several water parks based activities available to its visitors. It is also a paradise for those looking for handmade products. Kilvani Road is the main market in Silvassa where handmade products like Warli paintings and paper bags are sold. People who love to experiment with food have a wide range of options available to them at the restaurants in Silvassa, mainly focusing on the local Gujarati cuisine along with international cuisines including Italian, Chinese etc.

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History of Silvassa

The sylvan paradise Silvassa derives its name from the Portuguese word “Silva” meaning wood. The history of Silvassa dates back to before the 17th century. It was initially ruled by the Kohli tribes but was invaded by the Rajputs in the 17th century. Later it was conquered by the Marathas in the 18th century. During this time, the Marathas and Peshwas were in power, in most of western India and were fighting off the British who were rapidly gaining control of the Indian territory. In an attempt to ward off the British forces, the Marathas formed a friendly union with the Portuguese on 17th December 1779. In 1885, Silvassa was made the head town of the Portuguese in the name of Paço d'Arcos, and most of the administrative functions were carried on from here. However, the old name ‘Silvassa’ prevailed. Post-Indian independence in 1947, the local and tribal groups of Silvassa yearned for freedom. In 1961, the town came under the Republic of India and in 1974, a final treaty was signed between India and Portugal wherein Portugal gave away all control on Silvassa, and it came to be an Indian Union Territory.

Culture and Language

Silvassa has a vibrant and fascinating culture owing to its 75% tribal population. Warli, Dhodia and Kokna are the most prominent tribes while few other small tribes are Koli, Kathodi, Naika etc. The Warli tribe consider the Sun and Moon as the eyes of the Almighty. They worship stone carvings and images as deities. They dress in traditional outfits. Men wear loincloths, waistcoats and turbans whereas women dress in knee-length sarees called Lugden. The women also take to beautifying themselves with silver and white metal jewellery. They have an exclusive musical instrument called Ghangal made from gourd, bamboo and iron strings which they use to play music. Warli paintings are another famous feature of the tribe. They use chewed bamboo sticks to make abstract graphic-y designs. Some of these paintings date back to 3000 BC and are highly priced. Another major population tribe of Silvassa is Dhodia. They are the most populated tribe in the area and use cultivation and maintain a proper system of livelihood. Majority of the tribe follow Christianity whereas they are primarily believed to be Hindus. They celebrate Holi and Diwali. “Kanser Festival” is their most popular festival dedicated to goddess Kanseri (of food). They also celebrate “Divaso Festival” and “Vagh Baras” where they paint themselves as tigers and cattle and race to celebrate, ending the day with a village meal together. The official languages of Silvassa are Portuguese, English and Gujrati. Another prominent language is Warli which is a dialect of Konkani, given the fact that Silvassa ha 62% Warli population. Marathi is also a popular language in some parts.

A Paradise Unexplored

Silvassa is the official capital of the union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli. Developed as the capital of the same by Portuguese imperialists, it is now a major commercial hub for Western India, housing many an industry, allowing the city to maintain a low level of taxation.
Far from being a tribal town, Silvassa is a bustling city, touted as one of the famed Smart Cities under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. However, there's more than what meets our eye. Silvassa, apart from having a distinct history, also is a home to beautiful tourist hotspots, be it the woods of Khanvel, or the Lion Safari. Like Daman, Silvassa has a charm of its own, surprisingly unexplored by many tourists.

Restaurants and Local Food in Silvassa

Silvassa is the place to be if you want to taste a bit of everything and indulge in countless options and a colourful, vibrant and almost surprising variety. The food of the local tribes here is rich and has numerous elements. Ingredients include Rice, Jowar, Pulses, Wild mushrooms, Bamboo shoots and huge variety of vegetables. One also finds here preparations of crabs and river fishes as well as a teasing variety of Chutneys. One must try Ubadiyu which is prepared with herbs and vegetables as well as Khamman and Gamthi, which are chicken preparations. Other than this a number of places will serve Continental, Chinese, Punjabi, Parsi, Gujrati and Moglai cuisines.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 - Reach Silvassa, preferably by noon and take some rest. In the evening, you can go to the main market in Kilvani Road for a stroll, where you can buy precious, handmade curios and souvenirs.. 
 Day 2 - You should begin ideally with Vanganga Lake, an astounding waterbody worth a visit in Silvassa. Then, you can proceed to the Church of Lady Piety.
Day 3 - This day you can visit the remaining sites in Silvassa, especially the Lion Safari Wildlife Park to begin with. Then, you can proceed to Hirwa Van Gardens for a refreshing retreat.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

A beautiful confluence of nature and history.

What's Not So Great?

Congested in peak seasons. Not easily accessible.

For Whom?

Ideal for bold backpackers. Suitable for tourists touring nearby sites like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune etc.

How To Reach Silvassa

With beautifully maintained roads dotted with trees along the edges, it is the best way to travel to Silvassa. Bus and cab services are also available from Mumbai. The nearest train station is at Vapi and the nearest airport at Mumbai.

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Silvassa Reviews

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Aashimi Bhatia 1 year ago
- Marathi and Gujarati are mainly spoken in Silvassa, but English is also widely understood.
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