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Home>>West India>>Goa



Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D.

From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But their empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Goa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen.

Portuguese Goa India

Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore.

It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510.

The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India.

It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961, Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental.

As a legacy of its unusual colonial history Goa was inherited a mixture of language. Portuguese is still spoken as a second language by a few Goans, although it is gradually dying out. The official language of India is Hindi, which children in Goa are obliged to learn in school. Konkani is now accepted as the official language of the state and Marathi is also taught as a standard subject. Ironically the primary language used in many schools is none of the above - for most children are actually taught English. The arguments about continuing or abandoning this policy of placing such importance on English rage on. Most feel that continuing use of English is a distinct advantage to their children who will need it if they are to find good jobs in the future. Meanwhile children in Goa are taught three or four languages as a standard part of the school syllabus.

Goa Culture
n spite of remaining 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.

Arts and Crafts of Goa
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 ware. 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 weaving.


  • The state of Goa is located between Latitudes 15 degrees, 48'00" N and between 14 degrees, 53'54" N and Longitudes 74degrees, 20'13" E and 73 degrees 40" 33" E. It is 1,022 meters above sea-level.

  • Local time
    GMT + five and half hours.

  • Area
    It has a land area of 3702 Sq. Kms.
    It has a coast line of 104kms

  • Boundaries
    Goa is bounded on the north by Sindhudurg district of Maharastra state, on the West by the Arabian sea, on the South by Karwar district of Karnataka state and on the East by Belgaum district of Karnataka state
    The highest mountain is Sonsogor in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats which is 3,827 feet.

  • Rivers
    The Goan landscape is bisected by two major rivers that open into the arabian sea; they are

    • The Zuari which is approximately 39 miles and

    •  The Mandovi which is approximately 38.5 miles.

  • The other major rivers include the Tiracol, Chapora, Sal and the Talpona rivers. All the rivers originate in the Sayhadri ranges and flow westward into the Arabian sea and are navigable throughout the year.
    Overall Goa's inland waterways are about 250kms

  • Forests
    One third of Goa is covered by forests, the actual number being 1424.38Sqkms. Of this the Government owns 1224.38Sqkms, the rest ( approx 200Sqkm ) is held by the private sector.

  • Capital
    The state capital is Panaji, in Ilhas taluka in North Goa.

  • Climate
    Winter: Ranges from 21 0C
    Summer: 35 0C
    Goa receives rainfall from the South West monsoon winds between June and September. Rainfall received in 1998 was 3008 mm. This is also the tourist "OFF SEASON".

  • Population
    Goa’s total population is around 1,169,793 (1991 census of India) The density of population is 316 per SqKms. Most of Goa's population is rural ( 690,041), a significant population is however urban ( 479,752).

  • Agriculture
    Aracanut, Cashew, Coconut, Forest Produce, Rice, Millets and Sugarcane.

The main feature of the Goan climate is the monsoon, which occurs between June and the end of September. Goa is in the path of the southwest monsoon, thereby experiencing a dry period lasting six to eight months of the year, followed by the annual rainfall, which occurs over the remaining four months. During the two months preceding the onset of the monsoon the humidity increases dramatically, and the normally clear skies become hazy and then cloudy. During the monsoon, 250cm to 300cm of rain is normal, although in the Western Ghats the downpour is considerably high than on the coast.

Once the monsoon has run its course the skies clear and the weather becomes pleasant. For four to five months from October through February the climate is near perfect-cloudless blue skies, warm but not oppressively hot days, and calm seas. By mid-March the humidity starts to rise as the monsoon begins to approach again


July To End September (26 inches)
Late November To Mid-February (Min. 3° C - Max. 11° C)
Mid-March To End Of June (Min. 25° C - Max. 45° C)


Languages spoken in goa : Konkani

Goa Language

This Indian state of Goa can definitely boast about fusion of languages, because this is exactly what is found in Goa. Portuguese was widely spoken till 1961 when Goa was liberated from the Portugal regime. The older generations can still speak Portuguese. However, the main languages spoken now in Goa are Konkani and Marathi. Marathi is widely taught in schools too.

But a tourist need not take tensions about the lack of communication he might have to face in Goa. The people of Goa cater very well to the needs of the tourists as far as language is concerned because almost everyone in Goa can speak in English and Hindi. A tourist will find sign posts and directions written in English, so he won't have to face any confusion once he lands up in Goa.

How To Reach Goa
The airport is about 30 kms from the capital city of Panaji and is owned by the Indian Navy. Major airline operators such as Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines have flights carrying passengers and cargo in and out of Goa. Besides these, a number of chartered flights land in Goa from UK and other European countries. The national airline Air India also lands a few international flights, especially from the Gulf countries.

Most of the local airlines have a contact phone number in the city as well as at the airport where the latest information about flight status is always available. The list of phone numbers is available in the travel services section of the website.

It is advisable to book your tickets well in advance, especially during the high peak tourist season of October to January when most flights run full. It is also essential to re-confirm your flight timings at least 24 hours before departure.
Most major international airlines usually have agreements with one or more of their domestic counterparts in India, so if you are arriving from abroad it is possible to book your onward domestic flight at the same time as you pay for your international ticket.

Rail : Goa is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Secunderabad, Tirupati via Londa junction on the Mirage-Bangalore sector of south central railway, and to Mumbai, and Mangalore on the Konkan Railway Corporation section. Convenient stations are Margao/Vasco and Karmali.

Road : Panaji, the capital of Goa, is connected by road to Bangalore-598 kms, Belgaum-157 km, Bombay-594 km, Gokarn-154 km, Hospet-315 km, Hubli-184 km, Karwar-103 km, Kolhapur-246 km, Malwan-150 km, Mangalore-371 kms, Mysore-696 kms, Pune-458 kms, Ratnagiri-263 kms, Vengurla-73 kms etc.

Bus Service : Kadamba Transport Corporation. MSRTC and KSRTC operate frequent bus services between Panaji, Vasco, Margao and to Bangalore, Belgaum, Gokarn, Hubli, Karwar, Kolhapur, Malwan, Mangalore, Miraj, Mysore, Pune, Ratnagiri and Vengurla.

Sea : Ship services between Bombay and Goa organised by Damania.

Internal Distances : Panaji to Baga beach (18 kms), Bondla (55 kms), Calangute (16 kms), Dabolim Airport (29 kms), Mapusa (13 kms), Margao (33 kms), Old Goa (10 kms), Terekhol (42 kms), Vagator (22 kms), Vasco-da-gama (30 kms), Ponda (28 kms).

Local Transport :
Local buses, auto-rickshaws and motor-cycles/taxis available

More Information About Goa........

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