Capital : Panaji
Largest city : Vasco da Gama
District(s) : 2
Population : 1,400,000 (25th)
Density : 363/km² (940/sq mi)
Language(s) : Konkani.Konkani is the sole official language
but Marathi is also allowed to be used for any or all official
Established : 1987-05-30
Goa is India's smallest state in terms of area and the fourth
smallest in terms of population. Located on the west coast of
India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the
state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east
and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.
Panaji (Panjim) is the state's capital. Vasco da Gama (Vasco)
is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits
the influence of Portuguese culture. Portuguese merchants first
landed in Goa in the 15th century, and annexed it soon after.
The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years (one of the
longest held colonial possessions in the world), until it was
taken over by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands
of international and domestic tourists each year. Goa is also
known for its temples and world heritage architecture including
the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, which makes it one of
the biggest Christian pilgrimage sites in Asia. Goa also has
rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats
range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Origin of name
The name Goa came to European languages from the Portuguese
colonisers, but its precise origin is unclear. The Indian epic
Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, as 'Goparashtra'
or 'Govarashtra"' which means a nation of cowherds. 'Gopakapuri'
or 'Gapakapattana' were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts,
and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts
such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana. In the latter,
Goa is also known as "Gomanchala". Gove, Govapuri,
Gopakpattan, Gomantak and Gomant are some other names that the
region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such
as the Puranas. It has also been known as "Apparent".
A chapel in Old Goa, an example of Portuguese architecture.Goa's
known history stretches back to the 3rd century BC, when it
formed part of the Mauryan Empire. It was later ruled by the
Satavahanas of Kolhapur, around two thousand years ago and passed
on to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 580
to 750. Over the next few centuries Goa was successively ruled
by the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyas of Kalyani,
rulers of Deccan India. The Kadambas, a local Hindu dynasty
based at Chandrapura, (present day Chandor - Salcete), laid
an indelible mark on the course of Goa's pre-colonial history
In 1312, Goa came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate.
However, the kingdom's grip on the region was weak, and by 1370
they were forced to surrender it to Harihara I of the Vijayanagara
empire. The Vijayanagara monarchs held on to the territory until
1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga.
After that dynasty crumbled, the area fell to the hands of the
Adil Shahis of Bijapur who made Velha Goa their auxiliary capital.
In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European to set foot
in India through a sea route, landing in Calicut (Kozhikode)
in Kerala, followed by an arrival in what is now known as Old
Goa. Goa, then a term referring to the City of Goa on the southern
bank of the River Mandovi, was the largest trading centre on
India's western coast. The Portuguese arrived with the intention
of setting up a colony and seizing control of the spice trade
from other European powers after traditional land routes to
India had been closed by the Ottoman Turks. Later, in 1510,
Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling
Bijapur kings with the help of a local ally, Timayya, leading
to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa
(or Old Goa). The Portuguese intended it to be a colony and
a naval base, distinct from the fortified enclaves established
elsewhere along India's coasts.
Ruins of Fort Aguada in north Goa; one of the defences that
the Portuguese built during their reign.With the imposition
of the Inquisition (1560–1812), many of the local residents
were forcibly converted to Christianity by missionaries, threatened
by punishment or confiscation of land, titles or property.[citation
needed] Many converts however retained parts of their Hindu
heritage. To escape the Inquisition and harassment, thousands
fled the state, settling down in the neighbouring towns of Mangalore
and Karwar in Karnataka, and Savantwadi in Maharashtra. With
the arrival of the other European powers in India in the 16th
century, most Portuguese possessions were surrounded by the
British and the Dutch. Goa soon became Portugal's most important
possession in India, and was granted the same civic privileges
as Lisbon. In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha
Goa. By mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded
to most of Goa's present day state limits.
After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal
refused to accede to India's demand to relinquish their control
of its enclave. Resolution 1541 by the United Nations General
Assembly in 1960 noted that Goa was non-self-governing and favoured
self determination. Finally, on December 12, 1961, the Indian
army with 40,000 troops moved in as part of Operation Vijay.
Fighting lasted for twenty-six hours before the Portuguese garrison
surrendered. Goa, along with Daman and Diu (enclaves lying to
the north of Maharashtra), was made into a centrally administered
Union Territory on India. India's takeover of Goa is commemorated
on December 19 (Liberation Day). The UN Security Council considered
a resolution condemning the invasion which was vetoed by the
Soviet Union. Most nations later recognised India's action,
and Portugal recognised it after the Carnation Revolution in
1974. On May 30, 1987, the Union Territory was split, and Goa
was elevated as India's twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu
remaining Union Territories. The Supreme Court of India maintains
it was conquest, not a "liberation". Since Goans were
not offered the opportunity to vote their will, the UN mandated
Goa is famed for its sunny beaches.Goa encompasses an area of
3,702 km² (1,430 sq mile). It lies between the latitudes
14°53'54" N and 15°40'00" N and longitudes
73°40'33" E and 74°20'13" E. Most of Goa is
a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is
an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats range of mountains,
which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point
is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167 meters (3,827 feet).
Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 miles).
Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol,
Chapora River and the Betul. The Mormugao harbor on the mouth
of the river Zuari is one of the best natural harbors in South
Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa, with
their tributaries draining 69% of its geographic area. Goa has
more than forty estuarine, eight marine and about ninety riverine
islands. The total navigable length of Goa's rivers is 253 km
(157 miles). Goa has more than three hundred ancient tanks built
during the rule of the Kadamba dynasty and over a hundred medicinal
Most of Goa's soil cover is made up of laterites which are rich
in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in color. Further inland
and along the river banks, the soil is mostly alluvial and loamy.
The soil is rich in minerals and humus, thus conducive to plantation.
Some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent are found
in Goa between Molem and Anmod on Goa's border with Karnataka.
The rocks are classified as Trondjemeitic Gneiss estimated to
be 3,600 million years old, dated by the Rubidium isotope dating
method. A specimen of the rock is exhibited in the Goa University.
Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has
a warm and humid climate for most of the year. The month of
May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35 °C
(95 °F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon rains arrive
by early June and provide a much needed respite from the heat.
Most of Goa's annual rainfall is received through the monsoons
which last till late September.
Goa has a short cool season between mid-December and February.
These months are marked by cool nights of around 20 °C (68
°F) and warm days of around 29 °C (84 °F) with moderate
amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation,
the nights are a few degrees cooler.
Flora and fauna
Main article: Flora and fauna of Goa
The Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the best-known bird sanctuaries
in India.Forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km², most
of which is owned by the government. Government owned forest
is estimated at 1224.38 km² whilst private is given as
200 km². Most of the forests in the state are located in
the interior eastern regions of the state. The Western Ghats,
which form most of eastern Goa, have been internationally recognised
as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. In the February
1999 issue of National Geographic Magazine, Goa was compared
with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity.
Goa's state animal is the Gaur, the state bird is the Ruby Throated
Yellow Bulbul, which is a variation of Black-crested Bulbul,
and the state tree is the Asan.
The important forests products are bamboo canes, Maratha barks,
chillar barks and the bhirand. Coconut trees are ubiquitous
and are present in almost all areas of Goa barring the elevated
regions. A large number of deciduous vegetation consisting of
teak, sal, cashew and mango trees are present. Fruits include
jackfruits, mangos, pineapples and blackberries.
Foxes, wild boars and migratory birds are found in the jungles
of Goa. The avifauna includes kingfishers, mynas and parrots.
Numerous types of fish are also caught off the coast of Goa
and in its rivers. Crabs, lobsters, shrimps, jellyfish, oysters
and catfish form some of the piscine catch. Goa also has a high
snake population, which keeps the rodent population in control.
Goa has many famous National Parks, including the renowned Salim
Ali bird sanctuary. Other wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla
Wildlife Sanctuary, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife
Sanctuary, Madei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
located on the island of Chorao.
Goa has more than 33% of its geographic area under government
forests (1224.38 km²) of which about 62% has been brought
under Protected Areas (PA) of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National
Park. Since there is a substantial area under private forests
and a large tract under cashew, mango, coconut, etc. plantations,
the total forest and tree cover constitutes 56.6% of the geographic
A native of Goa is called a Goan in English, 'Goenkar' in Konkani,
'Goês' (male) or 'Goesa' (female) in Portuguese, and a
'Govekar' in Marathi. Goa has a population of 1.344 million
residents, making it India's fourth smallest (after Sikkim,
Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh). The population has a growth
rate of 14.9% per annum. There are 363 people for each square
kilometre of the land. 49.77% of the population lives in urban
areas. The sex ratio is 960 females to 1000 males. Hinduism
(65.8%), Christianity (26.7%) and Islam (6.8%) are the three
main religions in Goa.  Roman Catholicism reached Goa during
the period of European colonisation, which began in 1498 when
the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar
coast. There is also a small community of Sikhs that make up
0.1% of the population. Goa's major cities include Vasco, Margao,
Marmagao (also known as Murgaon or Mormugão), Panjim
and Mapusa. The region connecting the last four cities is considered
a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.
The official language of Goa is Konkani. Following the end of
Portuguese rule, the most widely used languages are Konkani
and Marathi. Konkani is the primary spoken language; English
and Marathi for official, literary or educational purposes;
and other languages including Hindi and Portuguese. Language
is a controversial issue in Goa, over which an agitation was
fought between two contending pro-Konkani and pro-Marathi camps
between 1985–87. Most of the Goans united and fought for
Konkani as their mother tongue. After the agitation
ended in 1987, a complex formula grants 'official language'
status to Konkani, while Marathi is also allowed to be used
"for any or all official purposes." Given the bitter
rivalry between the two lobbies, clubbed with a maudlin issue
has resulted in a stalemate over the actual implementation.
Portuguese, the earlier language of the elite, has been hit
by shrinking numbers, though a small number still prefer it
as the medium for discourse at home, and a few Portuguese books
have even been published in recent years. English,
viewed as a language of opportunity and social mobility, is
widely understood by many of the state residents.
An example of traditional Portuguese-influenced Goan architecture.
Mangueshi Temple, a Hindu temple in Old Goa.The most popular
celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Easter Sunday, Ganesh Chaturthi
(Chavoth-Konkani), Divali, New Year's Day, Shigmo and the Carnival.
However, since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and
carnival have shifted to the urban centres, and in recent times
these festivals are seen more as a means of attracting tourists.
Celebrations for all festivals usually last for a few days and
include parties and balls.
Western English songs have a large following in most parts of
Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs also have a sizable following.
Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the nineteenth
century, is sung and danced on special occasions. Goa is also
known for its Goa trance music. In the year 2006, the AIR FM
channel ran a program "Goa Top 10", which listed the
most requested tracks of the week. During analysis, it emerged
that the song "Faithful" by Lobo had an unusually
high, consistent popularity, in spite of not being a fresh track.
Thus, this song is arguably Goa's favourite English song, and
has been referred to as Goa's English anthem. It has been found
that Goans have a preference for pop music, soft rock and ballads
over hard rock, hip-hop, etc.
Some traditional Goan dance forms are dekhnni, fugdi,
Rice with fish curry (Xit kodi-Konkani) is the staple diet in
Goa. Goa is renowned for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked
with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used
in Goan cooking along with chili peppers, spices and vinegar
giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo,
Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among the
Catholics. An exotic Goan vegetable stew, known as Khatkhate,
is a very popular dish during the celebrations of festivals,
Hindu and Christian alike. Khatkhate contains at least five
vegetables, fresh coconut, and special Goan spices that add
to the aroma. A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known
as bebinca is a favourite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic
beverage in Goa is feni; Cashew feni is made from the fermentation
of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made
from the sap of toddy palms.
Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and
a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains
of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron
saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually
the Blessed Joseph Vaz. Once every decade, the body is taken
down for veneration and for public viewing. The last such event
was conducted in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions are also
known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture.
In many parts of Goa, mansions constructed in the Indo-Portuguese
style architecture still stand, though in some villages, most
of them are in a dilapidated condition. Fontainhas in Panjim,
has been declared a cultural quarter, and are used as a living
museum showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa.
Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some
of Goa's temples, notably the Mangueshi Temple, although after
1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the
indigenous Indian style.
The height of Goa's glory was closely and mutually linked with
the heyday of Portugal, but Goan grandeur pre-dated the Portuguese.
Chieftains, kings and a host of Indian dynasties had made this
little jewel glitter with royal pomp. The Batpuras, the Bhujas
and, after the fall of Ashoka and the Mauryans, the Satyavahanas,
ruled over Goa. The inscription of around A.D.1000 (when Shashtadeva
of the Goa Kadamba dynasty sat on the throne), describes the
early splendor of the capital: 'Gardens on every side.White
plastered houses, alleys, horse stables, flower gardens, agreeably
connected bazaars, harlots' quarters, and tanks.' In his son's
reign, Goa is reputed to have commanded a powerful fleet and
traded with four- teen foreign lands.In essence, it was a coveted
land with the most sought-after port in India. And as the word
spread, this advantage was to become a liability. The friendly
harbours that had sent out sparkling blue ripples to the world
were to backflow and become the road of conquest and colonization.
On July 4, 1497 when Vasco da Gama set sail from the River.
Typical Street in Panjim having residence with Sloping Roofs
. Tagus in Lisbon commanding the flagship St. Gabriel, no one
could have imagined the implications of his voyage. At that
time the potentates of the East were wealthier than the financially
em- barrassed Western kings.Vasco da Gama never actually visited
Goa, though now there is a coastal town by his name to commemorate
his link with Portugal. It was Afonso de Albuquerque who is
credited with sowing the seeds of the Portuguese empire in India,
first by destroying, then creating. the Arabian Sea into the
fresh mouth of the Mandovi. Little did anyone know that Goa
would change face. Now a stranger on the throne was to remould
the past, reshape the present and go so far as to influence
the future psyche of an entire people.
The Portuguese brought to Goa the magnificence of the West and
the might of a nation at the height of its imperial power. Their
vision was lofty and ambition sky high, but it blazed a short
trail like a meteor. An art historian remarked, 'Portugal was
a very small nation of a people then heroic. However, at its
peak, Goa was one of the wonders of the world, larger than Lisbon
and even the London of its time! Some 300,000 people had made
it their home. Goa re- sembled the 'meeting upon the burse in
Antwerpe' wrote Linschoten, the Dutchman, and it was then that
epithets like 'Rome of Asia' and 'Pearl of the Orient' were
coined. 'Goa Dourada' or 'Golden Goa' sands was not an advertising
stogan to beckon tourists, but more precisely the gilt-coated
reredos and altars in the churches that dis- played layers of
the real gold Portugal had discovered in Africa.
Contemporary descriptions do not undertake this glitter. 'Quem
viu Goa excusa de ver Lisboa', the word went round, 'Who has
seen Goa needn't see Lisbon.' In 1606 Goa got Santa Monica,
the first nunnery in the East. The imposing Basilica of Bom
Jesus impressed Christians and non- Christians; it went even
further and tyrannised the Century, elegant mansion by an gans.Fantastic
Italian architecture-typically renaissance modelled on architectural
details from the churches circled the city's skyline. There
were compulsory orders to paint the mansions annually, af- ter
the monsoon had passed. The regulations insisted that al- though
white may be used for picking out architectural details like
quoins and cornices, and window edges and balustrades to contrast
with the wall surfaces of yellow-ochre, Indian red or pale green,
no buildings but churches might be white all over. In 1839,
Caption Marryat in his novel The Phantom Ship de described Goa:
'The squares behind the palace and the wide streets were filled
with living beings: elephants with gorgeous trappings; led or
mounted horses with superb housings; palanquins carried by natives
in splendid liveries; running footmen; syces; every variety
of nation, from the proud Portuguese to the half-covered native;
Musselmen, Arabs, Hindoos, Armenians; Officers and soldiers
in their uniforms, all crowded and thronged together: all was
bustle and motion. Such was the wealth, the splendor and luxury
of the proud city of Goa- the Empress of the East.' As Vishal
Saxena architect urban designer and a keen visitor and student
of Goan architecture puts it 'Now Old Goa is a sad remnant of
its opulent past'.(http://vishalsaxena.50webs.com/)
Football is perhaps the most popular sport in Goa and is embedded
in Goan culture. Its origins in the state are traced back to
1883 when the visiting British priest Fr. William Robert Lyons
established the sport as part of a "Christian education".
On December 22, 1959 the Associacao Futebol de Goa was formed,
which continues to administer the game in the state under the
new name, Goa Football Association. Goa, along with West Bengal,and
Kerala. is the locus of football in the country and is home
to many football club in India's National Football League, including
three of the ten Premier Division teams. The state's football
powerhouses include Salgaocar, Dempo, Churchill Brothers, Vasco
Sports Club and Sporting Clube de Goa. The state's main football
stadium, Fatroda (or Nehru stadium), is located at Margao and
also hosts cricket matches.
In recent decades, a growing influence of cricket is visible,
in large part fuelled by the massive coverage this sport gets
on national television, thus making an impact even in a part
of South Asia which hardly had any contact with the British
Empire. Goa now has its own cricket team. Field Hockey is the
third most popular sport.