Goa Tourism | Goa Map
Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
History of Goa:
Goa's history stretches back to 8000-6000 BC. Early Paleolithic and Mesolithic rock art engravings have been found on the bank of river Kushavati at Usgalimal.
Petroglyphs, cones, stone-axe,choppers dating back 10,000 years back have been found in many places in Goa like Kazur,Mauxim and the Mandovi-Zuari basin. Palaeolithic cave existence is seen at Dabolim, Adkon, Shigao, Fatorpa, Arli, Maulinguinim, Diwar, Sanguem, Pilerne, Aquem-Margaon etc. Difficulty in carbon dating the laterite rock compounds poses problems in determination of exact time period. These discoveries have shed light on Goa's prehistory.
The Sumerians inhabited Goa around 2200 BC which was followed by several waves of Indo-Aryan people and the Dravidians from the Deccan. The early Goan society underwent radical changes when aboriginal locals and the migrants amalgamated, forming the base of early Goan culture.
In 3rd century BC, it formed part of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. Buddhist monks laid the foundation of Buddhism in Goa. Between the 2nd century BCE and the 6th century CE, Goa was ruled by the Chutus of Karwar as feudatories of the Satavahanas of Kolhapur (2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE), Western Kshatrapas (around 150 CE), the Abhiras of Western Maharashtra, Bhojas of the Yadav clans of Gujarat, and the Konkan Mauryas as feudatories of the Kalachuris.The rule later passed on to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 578 to 753, and later the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed from 753 to 963. However from 765 to 1015, the Southern Silharas of Konkan ruled Goa as the feudatories of the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas. Over the next few centuries, Goa was successively ruled by the Kadambas as the feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani. They patronised Jainism in Goa.
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 established as their auxiliary capital the city known under the Portuguese as Velha Goa.
In 1510, the Portuguese 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).
In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa. By the mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Goa's present day state limits. Simultaneously the Portuguese lost other possessions in India until their borders stabilized and formed the Estado da India Portuguesa, of which Goa was the largest territory.
After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to negotiate with India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian enclaves. On 12 December 1961, the Indian Army commenced with Operation Vijay resulting in the annexation of Goa, Daman and Diu into the Indian union. Goa, along with Daman and Diu was made into a centrally administered Union Territory of India. On 30 May 1987, the Union Territory was split, and Goa was made India's twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining Union Territories.
Geography and climate of Goa:
Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Sal. The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbours in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa, with their tributaries draining 69% of its geographic area. These rivers are some of the busiest rivers in India. 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 springs.
Most of Goa's soil cover is made up of laterites which are rich in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in colour. Further inland and along the riverbanks, 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 hot 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 winter season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by nights of around 21 °C (68 °F) and days of around 28 °C (84 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler.
During March 2008 Goa was lashed with heavy rain and strong winds. This was the first time in 29 years that Goa had seen rain during March.
Flora and fauna of Goa:
Equatorial forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km2 (549.81 sq mi), most of which is owned by the government. Government owned forest is estimated at 1,224.38 km2 (472.74 sq mi) whilst private is given as 200 km2 (77.22 sq mi). 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 recognized as one of the biodiversity hot spots 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 wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles.
Rice is the main food crop with pulses, ragi and other food crops are also grown.
Main cash crops are coconuts, cashewnuts, arecanuts, sugarcane and fruits like pineapples, mangos and bananas.
The State has a rich forest cover of more than 1,424 km². 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 'black-berry' ('podkoam' in konkani). Goa's forests are rich with medicinal plants.
Foxes, wild boars and migrating 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 under 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% 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 area.
How to reach at Goa:
Goa's sole airport, the Dabolim Airport, is both a military and civilian airport catering to domestic and international airlines that stop en route to other Indian destinations. The airport also handles a large number of chartered flights. Goa receives international flights from Qatar, Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East and from Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Dabolim Airport is serviced by the following carriers – Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, besides charter flights from the UK, Netherlands, Russia, Germany operated by Thomas Cook, Condor, Arkefly, Monarch Airlines etc.
Goa's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run buses, maintained by 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. However, public transport in Goa is less developed, and residents depend heavily on their own transport, usually motorised two-wheelers.
Goa has two National Highways passing through it. NH-17 runs along India's west coast and links Goa to Mumbai 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, is 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. A unique form of transport in Goa is the Motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated.
River crossings in Goa are serviced by flat-bottomed ferry boats, operated by the river navigation departments.
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 was built during the colonial era linking the port town of Vasco da Gama, Goa with Hubli, Karnataka via Margao. The Konkan Railway line, which was built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting major cities on the western coast.
The Mormugao harbour 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, which is 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. There was also a short-lived catamaran service linking Mumbai and Panaji operated by Damania Shipping in the 1990s.
Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2010, there were more than two million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 1.2 million of whom were from abroad.
Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the climate. In the summertime (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.
With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of Portuguese culture, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than other parts of the country. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourism destinations.
Historic sites and neighbourhoods of Goa:
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 Panaji has been declared a cultural quarter, showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Shanta Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple, although after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.
Museums and science center in Goa:
Goa also has a few museums, the two important ones being Goa State Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. The Aviation museum is the only one of its kind in the whole of India.
Also, a place not well known to tourists is the Goa Science Center, which is located in Panjim.
The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is also located in Goa at Dona Paula.
People and culture of Goa:
Prominent local festivals are Chavoth, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Shigmo, Samvatsar Padvo, Dasara etc.The Goan Carnival and new year celebration is known to attract a large number of tourists.
Dance and music of Goa:
Goan Hindus are very fond of Natak, Bhajan and Kirtan. Many famous Indian Classical singers hail from Goa, including Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishori Amonkar, Kesarbai Kerkar, Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Prabhakar Karekar. Some traditional Goan art forms are dekhnni, fugdi, corridinho, Mando and dulpod.
Theatre of Goa:
Natak, Tiatr and Zagor are the chief forms of Goa's traditional performance arts. Other forms are Ranmale, Dashavatari, Kalo, Goulankala, Lalit, Kala and Rathkala. Stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata along with more modern social subjects are narrated with song and dance. The drummers, keyboard artists, and guitarists are part of the show and give the background score.
Food in Goa:
Beach in Goa:
Baga Beach is a popular beach and tourist destination in North Goa, India, located a few kilometers north from the famous and crowded Calangute beach.The beach contains rows of shacks and fishing boats, and at high tide the beach is narrow.The beach is named after the Baga Creek, which empties into the Arabian Sea at the north end of the beach.
Currently no major hotels exist in this area due to local pressure. Room rates are available at reasonable rates when compared to tourist laden beaches such as Baga and Candolim. Arambol beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa, amongst many other popular locations including Vagator, Anjuna and Palolem.
A short walk north off the main beach is a smaller beach with a "fresh water lake" close to the sea. The water here is a mixture of fresh water and sea water. The jungle valley, enclosed between low hills hide a spectacular Banyan tree. Adjoining the banyan tree there is a stone sculpture created by an American Conceptual and Land art artist Jacek Tylicki Give if you can - Take if you have to also called The Money Stone. It has become a pilgrimage destination.
The majority of the locals are Hindu, then comes a percentage of people subscribing to the Christian faith and a minority of Muslims. The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel serves the religious interests of the many Catholics in the area. Mother Mary is referred to as Saibinn Mai in the local Konkani language.
As in many other parts of Goa, both soccer and cricket are popular sports with the people of this area. Cafés and restaurants have mushroomed all along the shoreline, from the small "Sweet Water Lake" beach all the way to Mandrem. During the season many traders from all over India come to Arambol to sell their goods and merchandise.
Beaches are relatively safe, with only a few incidences of crime reported. The Goa Ministry of Tourism has installed a Life Guard facility just in the center area of the beach (about 3 kilometers South of the main stretch).
Arambol is expanding at an exceedingly fast pace and prices are rising for real estate, rent, foods and services.
Its church, St. Michael's Church, Anjuna, founded in 1595, is dedicated to S. Miguel, and celebrates the feasts of S. Miguel (September 29) and Nossa Senhora Advogada (second week of January). There are three large chapels in the parish: the one to S. Antonio (Praias), to Nossa Senhora de Saude (Mazalvaddo), and to Nossa Senhora de Piedade (Grande Chinvar). The chapel at Vagator became the church of the new parish of Vagator, dedicated to S. Antonio, in the twentieth century.
The village is the hometown of Above & Beyond. Their record label, "Anjunabeats", as well as their radio show, "Anjunabeats Worldwide Radio Show," and their sub-label "Anjunadeep" all make reference to Anjuna. In 2009, they also released a track called "Anjunabeach".
5 Star Hotels in Goa:
- Taj Exotica in Goa
- Fort Aguada Beach Resort
- Goa Marriot Resort
- Cidade De Goa Resort
- Holiday Inn Resort
- Kenilworth Beach Resort
- Leela Palace Hotel
4 Star Hotels in Goa:
- Bay Watch Resort
- Sun Village Resort
- Taj Holiday Village
- Hotel Aguada Resort
- Dona Sylvia Resort
- Hotel Goan Heritage Goa
- Galaxy Beach Resort Goa
- Victor Exotica Goa
3 Star Hotels in Goa:
- Nanu Resort Goa
- Hotel Nova Goa
- Whispering Palms Beach
- Highland Beach Resort
- Marquis Beach Resort
- Nizmar Resort Goa
- Colonia Santa Maria Goa
2 Star Hotels in Goa:
- Hotel Baia Do Sol
- Longuinhos Beach Resort
- Nirvana Hermitage
- La Calypso
- Alor Holiday Resort
- Resort Santa Monica
- Carmo Lobo Resorts
Goa Resorts and Spa:
- Inter Continental The Grand
- Park Hyatt Beach Resort
- Taj Exotica Beach Resort
- Taj Holiday Village
- The Aguada Hermitage