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Goa

Goa is a state/Union Territory of India.

Goa is India's smallest state in terms of area and the second smallest in terms of population. The state of Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 sq km. Goa borders the state of Maharashtra in the north and Karnataka in the south and east. The Arabian Sea is on the west. Most of western Goa is at sea level with a coastline of 101 km (63 miles). Towards the east of the state rises the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats.

The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to Goa by the name of Goparashtra - a nation of cowherds. The southern Konkan region was called Govarashtra. In ancient Indian texts in Sanskrit, Goa was also known as Gopakapuri or Gapakapattana. In the Puranas and certain inscriptions, the name of the place also appears as Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, and Gomant. The name that the Portuguese as knew Goa is a small ancient port town of what today is known as Goa-Velha. The term Goa was later applied to the whole territory that the Portuguese came to occupy.

Goa has a long history dating back to the 3rd century BC when it was part of the Mauryan empire. It was later ruled by the Satavahans of Kolhapur at 1st century AD and later was under the control of Chalukyans of Badami who ruled it from 580 CE to 750 CE. Later it was under the rule of Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyans of Kalyani. Goa fell under the Delhi Sultanate in 1312, but they were forced to evacuate it in 1370 by Harihara I of the Vijayanagar. The Vijayanagar kings ruled Goa for nearly 100 years. In 1469, Goa was conquered by the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga. Later Goa came under the control of Adil Shahis of Bijapur, who made Goa Velha their second capital.

In 1510, the ruling Moghul Bijapur kings were defeated by the Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque, on request of a Hindu king, Timayya (Timoja). The Portuguese set up a base in Goa in their quest to control the spice trade. By mid-16th century, the area under occupation had expanded to most of present day limits. On December 19, 1961, the Indian Army moved its troops into Goa taking it over by force. Goa, and the exclaves of Daman and Diu, were annexed to India via the 12th amendment to India's constitution, making them a Union territory of India. On May 30, 1987, the Union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu was split with Goa being made as a state.

Goa is divided into two districts, North Goa and South Goa. These districts are further divided into eleven talukas. They are Ilhas, Bardez, Salcette, Satari, Canacona, Ponda, Marmagoa, Bicholim, Pernem, Quepem and Sanguem.

Tourists from all over the world come to Goa to visit the beaches during the summer vacations. Tourism is particularly important along Goa's coastal stretch, but its impact is more limited in the interior parts of the state. Other industries include mining, canning, fertilisers, shipping, fisheries and alcohol distilleries. The fishing industry provides an employment for 40,000.

The state capital is Panaji (also known as Panjim and Ponnje) is on the banks of the river Mandovi. Panjim is the legislative and administrative capital of Goa. Goa comes under the Bombay High Court. Goa is India's only state to have a Uniform Civil Code governing its citizens. Other states have civil laws framed differently for each religion.

A native of Goa is called a Goan. The main towns are Margo, Vasco da Gama, Panjim and Mapusa. Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam are the three main religions in Goa. Goans prefer an easy lifestyle. The siesta is an integral part of most Goan daily life. The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Ganesh Chaturti, New Year's Day and the Carnival. Goa is known for its rich food especially the meats. Pork dishes such as Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for almost every major occasion. Fish is one of Goa's most well known food delights with varieties of fish cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used in Goan cooking along with chilli spices and vinegar giving the food an inimitable flavour.

The Dabolim airport is Goa's sole domestic airport, linked to all major cities in India. Goa is well connected to Bombay and Bangalore. Ever since the Konkan Railway was inaugurated, Goa has seen a rise in transportation as it directly links towns on India's western sea coast.

Beaches are what most tourists come to Goa to enjoy. 4 lakh foreign and 16 lakh domestic tourists visit Goa annually. Domestic tourists arrive mostly in the summer, Diwali and Christmas holidays. World heritage architecture is another tourist attraction with many coming to see the Bom Jezu Basilica which houses the embalmed remains of St. Francis Xavier. Once every decade, thousands visit Goa during the Exposition of St Francis Xavier, when the body is taken down for veneration. In addition, many tourists also take in sights of famous temples such as the Mangueshi Temple. Goa also has many famous National Parks, including the renowned Salim Ali bird sanctuary.