All About Goa - History Geography Culture Food Tourism

History of Goa
Gomanta, Gopakapuri, Gomanchala, Gopakapattam were some of the names of Goa in ancient time. Mahabharata referred Goa as Goparashtra or Govarashtra, meaning "a nation of cowherds". Goa's history dates back 20,000 to 30,000 years. Portuguese came to Goa in 1510 and laid ruled the region for four and half centuries. After Independence, Portugal refused to combine Goa in Indian Union. The Indian Army began military operations resulting in the annexation of Goa into the Indian union on 19th December 1961. On 30th May 1987 Goa became Indian state from Union Territory.

Geography of Goa
Goa is situated on the western part of India. It is surrounded by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Arabian Sea. It is spread in an area of 3702 sq. km making it the smallest state in the country. Goa has a coastline of 101 km. Zuari, Terekhol, Chapora, Mandovi, kushavati and the Sal are the important rivers in the state. The Mormugao harbor is one of the best natural harbors in South Asia. Goa has tropical monsoon climates.

Government and Administration of Goa
For administration purpose Goa is divided in two districts namely north Goa and South Goa. Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, United Goans Democratic Party, the Nationalist Congress Party are the major political parties in the state. Bombay High Court, which has a bench in Panaji, takes care of the Jurisdiction in the state. It follows Portuguese Uniform Civil Code, based on the Napoleonic code. Goa legislative assembly consists of 40 seats and contributes two members to the Indian Assembly.

Language and culture of Goa
Fugdi, Corridinho, Mando, Dekhnni, are some of the traditional dance forms in the state. Natak, Bhajan and Kirtan are admired by Goan Hindus. Goa Trance was originated in this state. Natak, Tiatr and Zagor are some of the Goa's traditional performance arts. Ramayana and the Mahabharata are narrated with song and dance. Rice with fish curry is the famous food in the state. Goan cuisine mainly contains variety of fish dishes, which are cooked with elaborate recipes. Chili peppers, spices, vinegar, coconut and coconut oil are widely used in cooking. Feni is the famous alcoholic beverage in the state. The Goa's architecture is a combination of Indian, Islamic and Portuguese styles. Konkani is the official language and widely spoken in Goa followed by Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu, English and Portuguese.

Educational Status of Goa
Literacy rate of Goa is approximately 88%. Goa University is the only university in the state. Goa houses six engineering colleges and one medical college. Goa Engineering College and National Institute of Technology Goa are government-funded colleges in Goa. BITS Pilani inaugurated its second campus, the BITS Pilani Goa Campus, in 2004. There are two National Oceanographic Science related centers.

Economy of Goa
The Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure ranked Goa the best-placed state. Goa is one of the richest states in the country. Goa's GSDP was 3 billion in 2007. Tourism is the driving factor of Goa's economy, which is followed by mining. Goa's mining mainly focuses on ores of iron, manganese, clays, Bauxite, limestone and silica. Rice is the main agricultural crop, followed by cashew, areca and coconut. Nearly 40000 people are employed in fishing industry. The Goa government has decided to not allow any special economic zones (SEZs) in the state. Beer, wine and spirits prices are comparatively low in Goa.

Tourism in Goa
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church was built in 1541 and it is one of the first churches to be built in Goa. Bondla wildlife sanctuary is one of the smallest but popular wildlife sanctuary in the state. Arvalem caves also known as Pandava caves give us a chance to steep into the mythological tales. Arvalem waterfalls also known as Harvalem waterfalls, is located at north Goa. In this water falls from a height of 70 meters from sea level. The Portuguese constructed Aguda fort in 1612. Chapoli dam is in valley surrounded by hills. Mahalaxmi temple was constructed in 1413 A.D. and is dedicated to goddess Mahalaxmi. Apart from these they are number of beaches and churches, which are attracting tourists from, round the globe.

Festivals Celebrated in Goa
During Bonderarm festival, two wards in Divar Island used to engage in bitter feuds over property issues, which led to bloodshed and even death. Feast of St. Francis Xavier and Feast of Three Kings are well celebrated in the state. Shigmo is one of the colorful festivals, which is celebrated in the month of March.