States of India
Goa State Information
Languages: Konkani and Marathi
Introduction to Goa
Goa, popularly known as ‘the pearl of the east', is famous for its churches,
age-old ruins, palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, ferry rides, and bubbly
With its 131-km-long coastline, Goa is an important
destination in every tourist's itinerary.
Sun, sand and sea being the major attractions, Goa is a
perfect heaven for the ones who need and want relaxation.
Goa is one of India's special places, a State seemingly
blessed with fabulous weather, even more fabulous beaches, delightful people,
good food, hill-top forts, little white-washed churches, soaring Portuguese-era
cathedrals, a unique cultural legacy-small wonder, therefore, that Goa is one of
India's prime holiday destinations.
Goa is packed with jaded yuppies hoping to switch off and
unwind for a few days, and sun-starved Europeans, soaking up all that glorious
sun and food.
The beaches in Goa, like the others along the Konkan
coast, are long, and straight, and fringed with palm trees, but unlike much of
the neighboring coastline, Goa has an impressive infrastructure of hotels and
beach resorts, restaurants and bars, which cater to all price ranges, from
top-notch 5-star luxury, to hippy flop-shops.
Geography of Goa
Goa is located on the western coast of the Indian Peninsula, the state is
separated from Maharashtra by the Terekhol River in the north, Karnataka in the
south, the Western Ghats in the east, and the Arabian Sea in the West. The state
is located between the latitudes 15°48'00" North to 14°53'54" North and
longitudes 74° 20'13" East to 73° 40'33" East.
Goa as a region can be divided into four divisions - the
Eastern Hill region comprising areas in the Western Ghats like Sattari, Ponda,
Canacona, and Sanguem; the Central Valley Lands comprising Pernem, Bicholim,
Ponda, Eastern Sanguem, and Quepem; the Flood Plains comprising the coastal
plains and rolling uplands; and the Coastal Plains with areas of Tiswadi,
Mormugao, Bardez, and Salcete.
Temperatures in Goa are moderate with not much variation.
The summer is at its hottest in May while the winter months of January and
February are the coldest. Otherwise, the state experiences tropical weather the
rest of the year.
Goa receives rainfall from the Southwest monsoon between
the months of June and September. July receives the highest rainfall while
February is the driest month.
Brief History of Goa
Goa was a part of the Mauryan Empire, around third century
BC. The Satvahanas of Kolhapur, and the Chalukyas of Badami, took over the
governance later. Other dynasties followed, including a short-lived Muslim
invasion, until the Vijayanagar Empire established itself for almost a century.
This era ended with the arrival of the Sultans of Gulbarga, from whom the rule
passed on to Adil Shah of Bijapur. Soon, the Dutch, English, French and
Portuguese, all began struggling for its possession. Ultimately, in 1510, the
Portuguese conquered Goa, with Alfonso de Albuquerque leading the invasion.
Having ruled for around four centuries, in 1961, fourteen years after the
country's independence, the Portuguese had to leave Goa.
Tourist influx started in Goa in the 60s and 70s of 20th
century with hippies, followed by exploeres and mass tourist traffic. In 1987,
Goa was conferred statehood and Daman and Diu was made a separate union
Government of Goa
Pratapsingh Raoji Rane is the current chief minister of Goa, having taken office
on June 7, 2005. He served as the Chief Minister of Goa five times previously -
from 1980 to 1985, 1985 to 1989, for three months in 1990, from 1994 to 1999 and
from February 3, 2005 to March 4, 2005, when he was dismissed and the state was
put under president's rule.
The state was under president's rule for three months and
then Rane became chief minister again. Rane has been a member of the Indian
National Congress since the mid-seventies, and was earlier a prominent figure in
the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. In the MGP, he was minister for law and also
held other portfolios, in the term beginning 1972.
Districts of Goa
Goa has 2 districts: North Goa & South Goa
Economy of Goa
Mining is one of the principal source of Goa's industrial and trade development
and offers considerable scope for employment. Mineral resources are an asset of
Goa and iron ore is a leading commodity. Other minerals include manganese ore
and ferro-manganese ore, which are produced and exported, but iron ore occupies
the pride of place in Goa's economy. Some of the most productive and important
mines are located in the northern and eastern parts of Goa.
There are units manufacturing a variety of items like pesticides, fertilizers,
tyres and tubes, iron ore pellets, foot wear, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, sugar,
wheat products, steel rolling, fruits and fish canning, cashew nuts, textiles,
brewery products etc.
There are handicrafts units mainly engaged in the
manufacture of wood, crafts, brass, pottery, handloom, leather and bamboo crafts
Agriculture is one of the important economic activities in
Goa. Goa has done much to improve and develop its agriculture so that it becomes
more productive and the farmers who work on the field get a better return for
their labour. Rice along with fish is the staple diet of the people and it is
also a principal agricultural crop. The important crops grown are paddy, ragi,
maize, jowar, bajra and pulses. Cash crops like coconut, cashew-nut, arecanut,
mango, jackfruit, banana, pineapple etc. are also grown in abundance. Sugarcane
cultivation has been taken up only recently and a sugar factory has been set up
in Goa. Paddy is the principal crop of Goa. There are two paddy seasons, namely
Kharif or sorod and the rabi or vaingan. The monsoon crops are called the kharif
or sorod crops and the winter crops are called rabi or vaingan crops. The main
sources of irrigation for winter crops are the nallahs, rivers and streams,
tanks, wells, canal etc. Crops grown in the Kharif season consist of paddy, ragi
(locally called nachani) and some pulses. Crops grown in the rabi season are
comprised of paddy, pulses like horse-gram (kulith), black gram (udid), a
variety of beans and some vegetables. Cashew is an important crop in Goa.
An exhilarating drink called Feni is produced from cashew.
It is a kind of gin or vodka.
A variety of mangoes are grown in Goa. Some of the famous Mango varieties are
mancurade, mussarade, fernandine, xavier, alfonsa, colaco etc. There are two
varieties of jackfruit grown here namely kapo (hard) and rasal (soft). The kind
of vegetables grown in the Goa are brinjal, lady's fingers, radish, cucumber,
pumpkins, drumsticks, breadfruit and different varieties of gourds. Sweet
potatoes, chillies, onions are also available.
Goa Travel Information
Goa, one of India's smallest states with an area of 3,702 sq km is cradled in
the Sahayadri range in the Western Ghats. The vertical strip of the state begins
from Tiracol in the north to Palolem in the south and is bounded by the Arabian
Sea on the west, Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south.
Goa is India's most superior beach resort with superb beaches at least a million
years old. Goa's beachnik lifestyle is best experienced during the winter months
between October and the end of February.
A Portuguese colony till 1961, Goa's Portuguese atmosphere
and its lovely beaches make this an interesting region to spend time. Goan
culture is a blend of Indian and Iberian, European style central squares and
Indian bazaars, white Portuguese churches alongside Hindu temples and villages
and hamlets surrounded by green fields of paddy.
Goa is rich in folk culture with a delightful blend of
vigorous Konkani folk songs and remnants of Portuguese dance and music. Panaji,
Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Ponda are the main towns of Goa.
Rivers of Goa
The major west-flowing rivers that crease the territory
are Mandovi, Zauri, Tere Khol, Chapora and Betul.
The total navigable length of these rivers, which form the
waterways by which Goa's main export commodity iron and manganese ore is
transported to the Marmugao harbour, is 253km. The Marmugao harbour is virtually
the confluence of the Mandovi and Zuari rivers.
The coast is full of creeks and estuaries formed by these
rivers, which provide a good shelter for the fishing crafts. Estuaries of these
rivers are rich in marine fauna.
Education of Goa
The literacy rate for Goa is 76.96%. There are many government and privately run
schools, which offer better facilities. All schools come under the state SSC
whose syllabus is prescribed by the state Education department.
There are also a few schools run by the all-India ICSE
board. Most students in Goa complete their high school using English as the
medium of instruction. Primary schools, on the other hand are largely run in
Konkani. As is the case in most of India, enrolment for vernacular media has
seen a fall in numbers in favour of English medium education. One of the best
English medium private schools run by Jesuits is St Ignatius of Loyola High
School based in Margao. Formed in the 19th Century it initially began for the
elite of Margao but later the reserve was removed due to the growing urban
population. 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. Two years of college is
followed by a professional degree.
The Goa University is the sole university in the state located in Taleigao and
all Goan colleges are affiliated to it. There are three engineering colleges and
one medical college in the state. The Goa Engineering College and Goa Medical
College are run by the state whereas the other two engineering colleges are run
by private organisations. In recent years, Padre Conceicao College of
Engineering, Verna, has emerged as a popular destination for undergraduate
studies in engineering.
There are also colleges offering pharmacy, architecture
and dentistry along with numerous private colleges offering law, arts, commerce
and science. Many residents, however, choose to take up courses in other states
as the demand for a course in Goa is more than that available.
Goa is also well-known in India for courses in marine
engineering, fisheries, hotel management and cuisine.
The State also hosts a premier Business school Goa
Institute of Management, which is autonomous and was founded in 1993 by Fr.
Portuguese is taught in part of the school curriculum as a
third language in some schools. The Goa University also offers bachelor and
Master's degrees in Portuguese.
Food of Goa
Goa cuisine, a blend of different influences especially Portuguese, is famous
for its seafood. Goa cooking generally include lots of spices giving the dishes
a distinctive taste and aroma. The staple food in Goa is fish, both among the
Hindus as well as the Catholics. Rice is an important item of Goan diet and is
eaten with delicious fish or meat curry, or in the form of Pulao. Pork is a must
for any festive occasion and the most famous preparation is the vindaloo. Goans
use a lot of coconut for cooking and the most commonly used spices include
cumin, coriander, chillies, garlic and turmeric. The Christians prefer to use
vinegar, while the Hindus use kokum and tamarind to get the tang in their
respective cuisines. Goa is not particularly known for its vegetarian dishes.
The vegetables are usually cooked without any spices or masalas. Goans make
their own version of vinegar from toddy. Pastries are almost a part of every
common meal as well as any occasion or feast. Their popular alcoholic drink is
Feni, made from juices of cashew apples.
Arts & Culture of Goa
Despite being under Portuguese control for so long, majority of the people in
Goa are still Hindu. Though, strong catholic influences are visible everywhere
in the art, culture, and society.
The demography of the state started changing after the
coming of the Portuguese in the 15th century due to the spirit of propagating
Catholicism they brought with them. The minority Muslim community that is found
in this state is the result of the brief period in the early 14th century when
Muslim rulers reigned over the state.
The art and craft forms of Goa show a remarkable harmony
between Portuguese and Indian cultures. The crafts of the state are intricately
beautiful, capturing the fancies of tourists and locals alike. These crafts can
be at best described as a mirror of Goa's perennial glory and beauty and they
have carved a niche for themselves with the connoisseur's of art the world over.
The major art forms of the state include bamboo craft,
woodcarving, brass metals, seashell craft, papier-mâché, and wooden lacquer
Other important crafts of the state include jute macramé,
fabric collage, plaster of Paris, crochet and embroidery, fiber and batik
prints, fiber stone carving, coconut shell carving, metal embossing, silver and
imitation jewelry, cotton dolls, soft toys, woolen tapestry, and artistic
Dance & Music of Goa
At the end of the day's work and before the evening meal,
it is a common practice for the young and old of a Hindu family to join for
singing devotional songs. Some of these were set to classical ragas and has to
be sung to their proper discipline to timing and notes, and thus they served as
an introductory course in the appreciation of the higher forms of classical
Christian music in the Goa originated out of the Church
and the Goan music as one knows today is only this form of music. Every village
has a band of its own. In the evenings, with the sipping of glass of wine, the
sound of a piano fills the night air of the strings of a guitar plucked in tune
to a twilight melody.
Folk music of the state of include Mando-a love song and
Suvari folk music-a traditional tone setter to all Hindu religious and festival
performances, apart from others. Dances of the state include Bhandad, Corredinho
that are Portuguese folk dances, the Beauty Dance called Dekhni, apart from
Fugdi and Dhalo, Ghode Modnti, Kala and Dashavatar, Lamp Dance, Tonvamel, and
Festivals of Goa
Due to the strong Roman Catholic influences, most of the festivals of Goa are
Christianity specific. Feast days, thanksgiving, monsoon celebrations,
processions; all mark the Goanese festival calendar. Shigmo, the Goanese version
of Holi, is celebrated in the month of February/March. The Feast of Our Lady of
Miracles, celebrated 16 days after Easter, is secular by nature and is
celebrated with pomp and gaiety by both Hindus and Christians.
Costumes of Goa
Unlike most other parts of India, Goa has a distinct style
in every sphere of life.
The people of the state have taken life as it comes and
that spirit distinguishes them from others. One peculiar sight in Goa is that of
skirts outnumbering saris on the roads, due to strong Portuguese influences.
Traditional clothing also has its importance in this
society and Konkani women, wearing the sari in a style that is quite different
from any other place in India, can be still seen in great numbers.
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