Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Heritage, Culture, and Progress
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Dadra and Nagar HaveliExploring the Rich Tapestry of Heritage, Culture, and Progress

Situated in western India, Dadra and Nagar Haveli constitute a district within the broader union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. This area comprises two distinct parts: Nagar Haveli, nestled between Maharashtra and Gujarat, and Dadra, a smaller enclave surrounded by Gujarat.

The administrative centre, Silvassa, governs this region's affairs. What distinguishes Dadra and Nagar Haveli is its intriguing past. Unlike neighbouring regions, it was under Portuguese rule until the mid-20th century.

However, in 1954, pro-India forces gained control, establishing it as Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli before its formal integration into India as a union territory in 1961.

Then, on January 26, 2020, it merged with Daman and Diu to form the new union territory of "Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu." Presently, Dadra and Nagar Haveli stand as one of the districts within this unified territory. 

Join us as we uncover the enthralling history and dynamic present of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, celebrating its distinctive journey and embracing its rich cultural tapestry.

Historical Journey of Dadra and Nagar Haveli

The history of Dadra and Nagar Haveli unfolds a narrative of power shifts and quests for freedom. It all began in 1262 when Rajput prince Ram Singh established himself as the ruler of Ramnagar, which included the region of present-day Dharampur.

Divided into eight Parganas, with Silvassa as its capital, Nagar Haveli played a significant role. However, Maratha's ascendance brought conflicts, with Shivaji Maharaj briefly capturing Ramnagar before it reverted to Somshah Rana in 1690.

The Treaty of Vasai in 1739 marked Vasai's transition under Maratha dominion, granting them revenue rights over Nagar Haveli. 


Portuguese influence commenced in 1783, with control over Nagar Haveli and the later annexation of Dadra in 1785. Despite Portuguese rule under the Estado da Índia, aspirations for independence persisted. 

In 1954, supported by various organisations, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were liberated. They existed as Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli until 1961 when they integrated into India.

The journey culminated in December 2019, when they merged with Daman and Diu to form the new union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, effective January 26, 2020.

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Geographical Overview

Dadra and Nagar Haveli, spanning 491 square kilometres, nestles between  Gujarat and Maharashtra, near India's western coast. It consists of two distinct parts: Nagar Haveli and the smaller Dadra enclave.

Nagar Haveli forms a C-shaped area along the Daman coast, surrounding the Madhuban reservoir and sharing borders with Gujarat. Dadra sits northwest of Nagar Haveli.

The region is crisscrossed by the Daman Ganga River, with towns like Dadra and Silvassa dotting its north bank. To the east, the Western Ghats rise, covering the district's eastern segment. 


Surrounded by Gujarat's Valsad District and Maharashtra's Thane District, Dadra and Nagar Haveli offer diverse landscapes. The southern region boasts hilly terrain, especially towards the northeast, while the central area is flat with fertile soil.

The Damanganga River, originating 64 kilometres from the coast, meanders through the territory, joined by its tributaries. About 43% of the land is covered by forests, housing a wealth of wildlife, including leopards, wildcats and various deer and bird species.

The climate reflects its coastal position, with hot summers, monsoons from June to September, and mild winters, with temperatures ranging from 14 °C to 30 °C.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli’s Administrative Divisions

Administrative Divisions
Administrative DivisionsAdministrative Divisions

Dadra and Nagar Haveli, covering 487 square kilometres, is divided into two sub-districts: Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Dadra, located in Dadra taluka, hosts its headquarters along with Dadra town and two other villages, namely Vagadi and Demni.

Dadra town, also known as Dadrá in Portuguese, serves as the primary urban centre, while Vagadi and Demni contribute to the rural setting. Conversely, Silvassa acts as the administrative centre of Nagar Haveli, overseeing Silvassa town and 68 surrounding villages within Nagar Haveli taluka.

Silvassa, bustling with activity, functions as the heart of Nagar Haveli, providing governance and community services, while villages like Tigrá (Tighra) complement its rural landscape. Together, these administrative divisions ensure the smooth functioning and development of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, meeting the needs of both urban and rural residents.

Economic Landscape

The economy of Dadra and Nagar Haveli has experienced notable growth over time, with its gross state domestic product rising from $218 million in 2004 to $360 million in 2009.

Additionally, it enjoys a per capita GDP of $1,050. This economic progress is driven by five main sectors: agriculture, industries, forestry, animal husbandry, and tourism.


Agriculture continues to be a fundamental aspect of the territory's economy, involving around 60% of the workforce.

With nearly half of the total geographical area allocated to farming, crops such as paddy, ragi, and sugarcane, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables, flourish here, playing a crucial role in the region's prosperity.

Furthermore, forestry and animal husbandry are essential components, particularly with many farmers belonging to tribal communities.

Due to tax incentives and government support, the manufacturing industries in the territory have become a major driving force. Since the inception of the first industrial unit in 1965, industrialisation has surged, leading to the creation of job opportunities and attracting entrepreneurs.

Presently, there are over 2,710 operational units in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, employing approximately 46,000 individuals and injecting a capital investment of 377.8310 million. The diverse industrial scene includes small, medium, and large-scale industries, adding to the economic dynamism of the region.

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Demographic Profile of Dadra and Nagar Haveli

In the 2011 census, Dadra and Nagar Haveli recorded a population of 343,709, marking notable growth and ranking 566th among all Indian districts.

With a population density of 698 inhabitants per square kilometre, the territory witnessed a remarkable population surge, registering a growth rate of 55.5% from 2001 to 2011, the highest among all Indian states and union territories.


The sex ratio in Dadra and Nagar Haveli is 775 females for every 1,000 males, accompanied by a literacy rate of 77.65%. The territory is largely populated by tribal groups, constituting 62% of the population, with prominent tribes such as Dhodia, Kokna, and Warli.

Moreover, the region's diversity is enriched by non-tribal residents from different parts of India, attracted by employment prospects and favorable climatic conditions.

The religious composition of Dadra and Nagar Haveli mirrors its historical legacy, with a substantial Hindu population coexisting alongside a prominent Roman Catholic community, particularly concentrated in Silvassa.

Linguistic diversity thrives, with languages such as Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and English commonly spoken and taught in schools. The territory's demographic tapestry, enriched by vibrant tribal cultures and diverse communities, contributes to its cultural richness and social harmony.

In conclusion, Dadra and Nagar Haveli symbolise a fusion of history, culture, and development. From colonial rule to integration into India and recent mergers, it has evolved into a dynamic economic centre powered by agriculture, industries, and tourism.

Its diverse demographics, including a significant tribal presence and a rising non-tribal populace, enrich its cultural tapestry and foster social harmony. Moving forward, the region epitomises unity in diversity and holds the promise of a prosperous future for its residents.

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