Goa - India
|Variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and
"Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of
India in the coastal belt known as Konkan.
The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples,
churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travellers around
But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul which goes
deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural
scenery that India has to offer.
Much of the real Goa is in its interiors, both inside its buildings and in the
hinterland away from the coastal area.
Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord
Vishnu with the creation of Goa.
Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas,
Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have
been rulers of Goa.
Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonisation on December
19, 1961 and became an Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and
Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of
the Indian Republic.
Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West
over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite
different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost
the entire population with minority representation of Muslims and other
All the communities have mutual respect towards one another and their secular
outlook has given Goa a long and an unbroken tradition of religious harmony.
The warm and tolerant nature of the Goan people allows them to celebrate and
enjoy the festivals of various religions such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali,
Christmas, Easter and Id with equal enthusiasm.
The state of Maharashtra borders Goa on the north, the state of Karnataka on
the south and east. The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea on the west forms the
magnificent coastline for which Goa is justly famous.
Terekhol (Tiracol), Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main
rivers which weave their way throughout the state forming the inland waterways
adding beauty and romance to the land besides being used to transport Goa's
main export commodity of Iron and Manganese ore to Mormugao Harbour. Along the
way to the coast these waterways form estuaries, creeks and bays breaking the
sandy, palm-fringed coastline behind which lie the fishing villages among the
Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi river
and Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are the other major towns. Goa is serviced
by an international/national airport located at Dabolim near Vasco. An
intra-state and inter-state bus network also plays an important role in getting
locals and visitors alike in and around Goa.
The vast green expanse of the Sahyadri mountain range ensures that Goa has an
abundance of water. The sea and rivers abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels,
sardines, crabs and lobsters are the most popular with the locals and the
Along with English which is widely spoken all over Goa, Konkani and Marathi are
the state languages. The national language Hindi is also well understood in
most areas around the state.
Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences the Goans had to endure during
the centuries. The staple food in Goa is fish and rice, both among the Hindus
and the Catholics. Unlike the Christian food the Hindu Goan food is not
strongly influenced by the Portuguese cuisine.
Since the arrival of the Hippies in the sixties, Goa has been a major
destination on the itinerary of international and domestic tourists.
The tourist season in Goa begins in late September and carries on through early
March. The weather in these months is usually dry and pleasantly cool.
Then the weather gets fairly hot around May and by end of June, Goa receives
the full blast of the Indian monsoon with sudden downpours and tropical
thunderstorms. However it is also during the monsoon that Goa is probably at
its most beautiful, with greenery sprouting all around.
Besides the natural beauty, the fabulous beaches and sunshine, travellers to
Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people.
After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where
people really know how to relax.