|Written by Samuel Gaspario Afonso|
Pearl of the orient and Rome of the east are few names by which Goa is affectionately referred too. This tiny state located on the western coast of india known as the Konkan. Goa has a coastline of around 100km. Goa is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the South & east where as Maharashtra on the North.
Goa’s main rivers are Mandovi, Zuari, Terekhol, Chapora Kushavati and the River Sal. The Zuari and the Mandovi rivers are the lifelines of Goa with their tributaries draining 69% of its Geographic area.
The Marmugoa harbour on the mouth of river Zuari is one of the best natural harbour in South Asia. Goa has only two districts – the north Goa & the South Goa. Panaji is the capital of Goa and Konkani is the official language of Goa, and Portuguese, hindi, Marathi and English are the other languages mostly spoken in Goa.
The history of Goa can be traced back to the 3rd century BC when it was part of Emperor Ashoka Maurya’s Empire. The next few centuries witnessed the rise and fall of several kingdoms in Goa. Goa was under Portuguese control for about 450 years. In 1961, Goa was liberated and thus became part of Indian union. From then onwards Goa was part of the union territory of Daman & Diu. Goa became an independent state of India on 30th May 1987. Goa is the smallest state in terms of area but is one of the richest states with the highest GDP per capita. Today Goa has literacy rate of 87% with 90% of males & 84% of females being literate.
Goa always offers good food. Goan cusine is famous for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate Goan recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used in Goan cooking with local vinegar giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as vindalo, chourisam, sorpatel, sannas the variant of idli are cooked for major occasions among the Goan Christians. A rich egg based multilayered sweet dish known as Bebinca is a speciality along with dodol, nevreos, cormollais at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni. Cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of cashew tree where as coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy. The tall coconut palms dotting Goa’s landscape with the ever so often agile toddy tapper harvesting its produce.
Due to its proximity to the Arabian sea and its location in the tropic region Goa has a hot and humid climate too. Everyone can enjoy water sports, parasailing, jet skiing and wind surfing, but football is the most popular sport in Goa and is embedded in Goan culture.
Goa is known as the tourist paradise of India and the state has a prominent position on the tourism map of the world. Goa is one of the most sought after tourist destination in India. Goa tourism is mainly focused along the coastline where beaches are the main tourist attraction. The influence of Portuguese culture is clearly visible in every aspect of Goa Architecture and culture. The Bom Jesus cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in old Goa are the other tourists destinations. Goa also has other places of tourists interests like churches, temples, historical monuments, forts, etc. Tourist season in Goa starts from late September and lasts till early March. Now is the best time to visit Goa as the temperature during this season is cool and dry.
Yes! a hearty welcome to you all to visit our beautiful Goa – Amchem Goem.
Dev borem korum.
10th January 2014.