|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Area||3,702 km² (1,429 sq mi)|
|Largest city||Vasco da Gama, Goa|
• 363 /km² (940 /sq mi)
|Chief Minister||Digambar Kamat|
|Established||May 30, 1987|
|Legislature (seats)||Unicameral (40)|
|"↑"Konkani, the sole official language but the government allows the use of Marathi for any or all official purposes.|
Coordinates: Goa pronunciation ▶ (Konkani: गोंय goṃya; Marathi: गोवा govā; Portuguese: Goa) refers to 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, the state of Maharashtra bounds it to the north, Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.
Panaji (Panjim) serves as the state's capital. Vasco da Gama (Vasco) ranks the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the influence of Portuguese culture. Portuguese merchants first landed in Goa in the fifteenth 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 India took over in 1961. 
Renowned for its beaches, hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists each year visit Goa. Goa has won acclaim for its temples and world heritage architecture including the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, which makes it a popular Christian pilgrimage site. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
The name Goa came to European languages from the Portuguese colonisers, but its precise origin remains 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' appeared in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana. In the latter, Goa has been called "Gomanchala." Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, and Gomant represent other examples of names for the region in texts such as the Puranas.
Goa's known history stretches back to the third century B.C.E., when it formed part of the Mauryan Empire. The Satavahanas of Kolhapur later ruled it 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, the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyas of Kalyani, rulers of Deccan India successively ruled Goa. 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 and culture.
In 1312, Goa came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate. The kingdom's grip on the region proved weak, and by 1370 Harihara I of the Vijayanagara empire forced them to surrender. The Vijayanagara monarchs held on to the territory until 1469, when the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga appropriated it. 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 [[[Old Goa]]. Goa, then a term referring to the City of Goa on the southern bank of the River Mandovi, represented the largest trading center 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.
With the imposition of the Inquisition (1560–1812), the Portuguese forced many of the local residents to convert to Christianity by missionaries, threatened by punishment or confiscation of land, titles or property. Converts retained parts of their Hindu heritage. To escape the Inquisition and harassment, thousands fled the state, settling down in the neighboring towns of Mangalore and Karwar in Karnataka, and Savantwadi in Maharashtra. With the arrival of the other European powers in India in the sixteenth century, the British and the Dutch surrounded most Portuguese possessions. Goa soon became Portugal's most important possession in India, granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon. In 1843 the capital moved to Panjim from Velha Goa. By mid-eighteenth 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 Goa as non-self-governing and favored 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), became a centrally administered Union Territory on India. India commemorates its takeover of Goa on December 19 (Liberation Day). The UN Security Council considered a resolution condemning the invasion which the Soviet Union vetoed. Most nations later recognized India's action, and Portugal recognized it after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. On May 30, 1987, the Union Territory split, and Goa elevated to India's twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining Union Territories.
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 forms a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats range of mountains, which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The Sonsogor constitutes the highest point, with an altitude of 1,167 metres (3,827 feet). Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 miles).
Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Betul number among Goa's main rivers. The Mormugao harbor on the mouth of the river Zuari serves as one of the best natural harbors in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi act as 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 measures 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 springs.
Laterites, rich in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in color, make up most of Goa's soil cover. Further inland and along the river banks, alluvial and loamy soil exist. The soil, rich in minerals and humus, serves farming well. Some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent lay in Goa between Molem and Anmod on Goa's border with Karnataka. The rocks, classified as Trondjemeitic Gneiss, have been dated by the Rubidium isotope dating method to 3,600 million years old. Goa University exhibits a specimen of the rock.
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, being the hottest, has day time 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. of Goa receives most its annual rainfall through the monsoons which last till late September.
Goa has a short cool season between mid-December and February. Cool nights of around 20 °C (68 °F) and warm days of around 29 °C (84 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity mark those months. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights read a few degrees cooler.
The state divides into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Panaji serves as the headquarters of the north Goa district and Margao of the south district. A district collector, an administrator appointed by the Indian government governs each district.
The districts divide further into eleven talukas – Talukas of North Goa are Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Satari and Tiswadi, the talukas of South Goa are Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcete and Sanguem. Headquarters of the respective talukas are Mapusa, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Valpoi, Panjim, Chaudi, Vasco, Quepem, Margao and Sanguem.
In the Parliament of India, Goa has two seats in the Lok Sabha, one representing each district, and one seat in the Rajya Sabha.
Forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km², mostly owned by the government. Government owned forest comprises an estimated 1224.38 km² while private accounts for 200 km². The interior eastern regions of the state serve as home for most of the forests in the state. The Western Ghats, which form most of eastern Goa, have been internationally recognized as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. The February 1999 issue of National Geographic Magazine compared Goa with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity.
Goa designated the Gaur its state animal, the Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul (a variation of Black-crested Bulbul) its state bird, and the Asan its state tree.
The important forests products include bamboo canes, Maratha barks, chillar barks and the bhirand. The ubiquitous Coconut trees grow 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 live in the jungles of Goa. The avifauna includes kingfishers, mynas and parrots. Fisherman catch numerous types of fish 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 Sanctuary and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on the island of Chorao.
Goa has more than 33 percent of its geographic area in government-protected forests (1224.38 km²) of which about 62 percent has been brought under Protected Areas (PA) of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Park. Since a substantial area remains in private forests and large tracts in cashew, mango, and coconut plantations, the total forest and tree cover constitutes 56.6 percent of the geographic area.
|Gross State Domestic Product at Current Prices (in millions of Indian Rupees)
figures in crores of Indian Rupees
|Year||Gross State Domestic Product|
Goa's gross state domestic product for 2004 reached an estimated US$3 billion at current exchange rates. Goa, India's richest state, has a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole, and one of its fastest growth rates: 8.23 percent (yearly average 1990–2000). Tourism has become Goa's primary industry: it handles 12 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals in India. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summertime (the rainy season in Goa) tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.
Tourism generally focuses on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2004 more than two million tourists visited Goa, 400,000 from abroad. The land away from the coast yields an abundance of minerals and ores and mining forms the second largest industry. Mining in Goa focuses on ores of iron, Bauxite, manganese, clays, limestone and silica. The Marmagao Port handled 31.69 million tons of cargo last year, and accounts for over 39 percent of India's iron ore exports.
Agriculture, while declining in importance to the economy over the past four decades, offers part-time employment to a sizable portion of the populace. Rice constitutes the main agricultural crop, followed by areca, cashew and coconut. The fishing industry provides employment for about forty thousand people, though recent official figures indicate a decline of the vitality of that sector with a decline in catch, possibly from over fishing by large factory trawlers. Medium scale industries include the manufacturing of pesticides, fertilizers, tires, tubes, footwear, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wheat products, steel rolling, fruits and fish canning, cashew nuts, textiles, brewery products. Consumers have noticed Goa's inexpensive liquor as a result of extremely low excise duty on alcohol. Another source of cash inflow into the state comes from many of its citizens who work abroad and remit money to their families. Zuari Industries (2005 gross income Rs.36,302 million) and Sesa Goa (2005 gross income Rs.17,265 million), two S&P CNX 500 conglomerates, have corporate offices in Goa.
Goa's sole airport, the Dabolim Airport, serves as a military and civilian airport catering to domestic and international airlines that stop en route to other Indian destinations. In addition to regular flights, the airport handles a large number of chartered flights. Goa receives International flights from Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East and from the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Dabolim airport hosts the following carriers services: Air India, Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Kingfisher airlines, Go air, Spice jet, Jet Airways besides Charter flights from Thomas Cook (condor) and other travel companies.
Goa's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run buses, maintained the Kadamba Transport Corporation, links both major routes (like the Panjim–Margao route) and some remote parts of the state. In large towns such as Panjim and Margao, intra-city buses ply. Public transport in Goa has undergone little development, residents depending mainly on their own transport, usually motorized two-wheelers. Goa has two National Highways passing through it. NH-17 runs along India's west coast and links Goa to Bombay in the north and Mangalore to the south. NH-4A running across the state connects the capital Panjim to Belgaum in east, linking Goa to cities in the Deccan. The NH-17A connects NH-17 to Mormugao Harbour from Cortalim, and the new NH-17B, once complete will be a four lane highway connecting Mormugao Harbour to NH-17 at another location, Verna, via Dabolim airport. Goa has a total of 224 km (139 mi) of National highway, 232 km (144 mi) of state highway and 815 km of district highway.
Hired forms of transport include unmetered taxis, and, in urban areas, auto rickshaws. The Motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers locally called "pilots," constitute a unique form of transport in Goa. Those vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares usually negotiated prior or after the journey. In some places in Goa, ferry boats operated by the river navigation departments service river crossings. Goa has two rail lines—one run by the South Western Railway and the other by the Konkan Railway. The line run by the South Western Railway, built during the colonial era, links the port town of Vasco da Gama with Hubli in Karnataka via Margao. The Konkan Railway line, built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting Mumbai to the Malabar Coast.
The Mormugao harbor near the city of Vasco handles mineral ore, petroleum, coal and international containers. Much of the shipments consist of minerals and ores from Goa's hinterland. Panjim, situated on the banks of the Mandovi, also has a minor port, which used to handle passenger steamers between Goa and Mumbai till the late 1980s.
A native of Goa is referred to as 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 percent per annum, with 363 people for each square kilometer of the land. 49.77 percent of the population lives in urban areas; the sex ratio stands at 960 females to 1000 males. Hinduism (65.8 percent), Christianity (26.7 percent) and Islam (6.8 percent) constitute the three main religions in Goa.  Roman Catholicism reached Goa during the period of European colonization, which began in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar coast. A small community of Sikhs make up 0.1 percent of the population. Goa's major cities include Vasco, Margao, Marmagao (also known as Murgaon or Mormugão), Panjim and Mapusa; they connect creating a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.
Konkani represents the official language of Goa. Following the end of Portuguese rule, Konkani and Marathi became the most widely used languages. People speak primarily Konkani while using English and Marathi for official, literary or educational purposes; and other languages including Hindi and Portuguese. Language has been a controversial issue in Goa, then pro-Konkani and pro-Marathi camps contending for primacy between 1985–1987. Konkani has enjoyed popular support as the mother tongue. After the agitation ended in 1987, a complex formula grants 'official language' status to Konkani, while allowing the use Marathi "for any or all official purposes." Portuguese, the language of the elite before liberation, has been shrinking in the number of speakers. A small number seem to Portuguese at home, and a few Portuguese books have even been published in recent years. Many of the state residents view English as a language of opportunity and social mobility.
Christmas, Easter Sunday, Ganesh Chaturthi (Chavoth-Konkani), Divali, New Year's Day, Shigmo and the Carnival represent the most popular celebrations in Goa. Since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and carnival have shifted to the urban centers, with many in recent times viewing those festivals as a means of attracting tourists rather than indigenous celebrations.
Western English songs enjoy a popular audience throughout most of Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs also have a sizable following. People sing and dance Manddo, the traditional Goan music originating in the nineteenth century, on special occasions. Goa has been renowned for its 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, although on the market for a lengthy time. Thus, that song may fairly be called Goa's favorite English song, and has been referred to as Goa's English anthem.
Dekhnni, fugdi, and corridinho represent some traditional Goan dance forms.
Rice with fish curry (Xit kodi-Konkani) serve as the staple diet in Goa. Goa has a rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Goans widely use coconut and coconut oil in cooking along with chili peppers, spices and vinegar giving the food a unique flavor. For major occasions, Catholics enjoy cooking Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel. An exotic Goan vegetable stew, known as Khatkhate, has a high popularity 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 represents a favorite at Christmas. Feni has the distinction of being the most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa; Cashew feni, made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, and coconut feni, made from the sap of toddy palms, represent two widely enjoyed variations.
Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (officially, the Blessed Joseph Vaz actually the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa has that honored position). Once every decade, the priesthood take the body down for veneration and for public viewing, the last viewing taking place in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions display highly regarded 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 have fallen into disrepair. Fontainhas in Panjim, has been declared a cultural quarter, considered a living museum showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era remain in Goa's temples, notably the Mangueshi Temple, although after 1961, many had been demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.
Football, possibly the most popular sport in Goa, has been embedded in Goan culture. Its origins in the state trace 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 inaugurated, continuing to administer the game in the state under the new name, Goa Football Association. Goa, along with West Bengal and Kerala constituted the locus of football in the country, 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), located at Margao, also hosts cricket matches.
In recent decades, cricket's popularity has grown, partly fueled by coverage on national television, thus making an impact even in a part of South Asia which hardly had any contact with the British Empire Goa has its own cricket team. Field Hockey constitutes another popular sport.
Panaji, known as Panjim in English and earlier called Pangim in Portuguese times, and known in the local language as Ponnje serves as the administrative capital of Goa lying on the left bank of the Mandovi near Panaji. Porvorim, the seat of the Goa assembly is Goa's legislative capital; it lies across the Mandovi River. Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay, the capital of Goa's neighboring Maharashtra state), as the state comes under the Bombay High Court acts as the state's judicial capital. A bench of the High Court presides in Panaji. Goa contributes two seats to the Lok Sabha and one to the Rajya Sabha, in India's bicameral parliament. Unlike other states, which follow the British Indian model of civil laws framed for individual religions, the Portuguese Uniform Civil Code, based on the Napoleonic code, has been retained by the Goa government.
Goa has a unicameral legislature consisting of a 40-member Legislative Assembly, headed by a Chief Minister who wields the executive power. Mr. Digamber Kamat sits as the present Chief Minister of Goa. The ruling government consists of the party or coalition garnering the most seats in the state elections and enjoying the support of a simple majority of the House. The President of India appointes the governor who has a largely ceremonial but crucial role. He decides who should form the next government or when to suspend the legislature, events that have taken place in the recent past. After having stable governance for nearly 30 years up to 1990, Goa has become notorious for its political instability with 14 governments turned from 1990 to 2005. In March 2005, the governor dissolved the assembly and declared President's Rule, suspending the legislature. A by-election in June 2005 saw the Congress coming back to power after winning three of the five seats up for election. The Congress party and the BJP represent the two largest parties in the state. In the assembly poll of 2007, Congress-led coalition won. Other parties include the United Goans Democratic Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.
People living in urban centers of Goa receive most television channels in India by way of cable. In the interior regions, viewers receive channels via satellite dish. Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster, airs two free channels. STV Goa News, an independent 24 hours satellite TV channel, broadcasts news from around the state. A Free to Air (FTA) channel, satellite Thaicom 5 beams the programming. Goa has number of local news channels registered under Cable News Channel Association, broadcasting in a variety of languages: English, Maranthi, Konkani. Channel X5, a 24 hour entertainment cable channel, reaches over 10,000 houses in the capital city of Goa and beyond. News, Songs, Movies, Dramas, Current issues, Talk Shows and variety of other programmes in short we aim to cover everything in entertainment business in Goa. Local newspaper publications include the English language The Herald (Goa's oldest, once a Portuguese language paper known as O Heraldo), the Gomantak Times and the Navhind Times. In addition to those, The Times of India and the Indian Express ship from Bombay and Bangalore in the urban areas. Officially-accredited newspapers include The Navhind Times, The Herald Times and The Gomantak Times (all in the English language) and Gomantak, Tarun Bharat, Navprabha, Pudhari, Goa Times, Sanatan Prabhat, Govadoot (all in Marathi), Sunaparant in Devanagiri-script Konkani. All are dailies. Other publications in the state include Goa Today (English-language, monthly), Goan Observer (English, weekly), Vavraddeancho Ixtt (Roman-script Konkani, weekly) Goa Messenger, Gulab (Konkani, monthly), Bimb (Devanagiri-script Konkani), Harbour Times, Digital Goa, and "J's House."
According to the 2001 census, Goa has a literacy rate of 82 percent with 89 percent of males and 76 percent of females being literate. Villages comprise talukas, each having a school run by the government. Many of the state's residents prefer to enroll their children in privately run schools, which offer better facilities. The state Education department prescribes programs for all schools under the state SSC. The all-India ICSE board govern a few schools. Most students in Goa complete their high school using English as the medium of instruction. Primary schools (in private, but government-aided schools), on the other hand, use Konkani. As in the case of most schools in India, English as a medium for education has been preferred.
After ten years of schooling, students join a Junior College which offers courses in popular streams such as Science, Arts, Law and Commerce. Additionally, many join three year diploma courses, receiving a professional degree after two years of college. The Goa University, the sole university in the state located in Taleigao, serves as the hub for all Goan colleges. Four engineering colleges and one medical college offer degrees in the state. The state runs the Goa Engineering College and Goa Medical College while the other engineering colleges are privately run. The BITS Pilani Goa Campus, Shree Rayeshwar Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Shiroda, and Padre Conceicao College of Engineering, Verna. Colleges offerpharmacy, architecture and dentistry degrees and numerous private colleges offer law, arts, commerce and science diplomas.
Many residents must take programs in other states as the demand for a course in Goa surpasses the available seats. Goa has well-known courses in marine engineering, fisheries, hotel management and cuisine. The State also hosts a premier business school - the Goa Institute of Management, autonomous and founded in 1993 by Fr. Romuald D'souza. Students may study Portuguese in the colleges, often as a third language. The Goa University offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in Portuguese.
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