A small state in the southern part of India, Goa is divided into two districts, the Northern and the Southern. These
districts are again subdivided into 11 talukas. At a tourism standpoint, Goa can be divided into two zones, the Coastal zone which is the beach belt and the other, the hinterland. The coastal belt is much more populated than the hinterland and also has a significant influence of the Portuguese culture due to a relatively larger Christian population while, the hinterland is less populated and characterized by forests, mining zones, and villages.
The virtually unending stretch of sun-kissed beaches (about 100 miles), dotted with innumerable coconut palms, and the emerald-coloured waters that traverse the rivers make their presence felt in almost all of the villages adding to the magical aura of Goa.
Both the Hindu and Christian cultures blend really well and coexist in perfect harmony, which lends another beautiful and distinct characteristic to the Goan appeal.
- Population – Almost 15 lakh people (1.5 million)
- Languages spoken English, Konkani, and Hindi
- Area – 3702 sq km
- Density 390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
- Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
- Altitude – Sea Level to 1022 mts
- Location – Between Latitudes 15 48’00” N and 14 53’54” N and Longitudes 74 20’13” E and 73 40’33” E
- ISO 3166 code IN-GA
- HDI 0.779 (high)
- HDI rank 3rd (2005)
- Literacy 87% (3rd)
- Official Language: Konkani
- Major Rivers -Tiracol, Chapora, Mandovi, Zuari, Sal and Talpon.
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 with the mercury soaring right up to over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. Goa has a short winter season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by nights of around 21 °C (70 °F) and days of around 28 °C (82 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler. The monsoon rains arrive by early June. Most of Goa’s annual rainfall is received during the monsoons which last till late September.
Goa’s History Summarized
The Pearl of the Orient as it was referred to in history was the outcome of its popularity and economic prosperity. So sought after was she then that kingdoms, dynasties, and even countries wanted a share of the pie as Goa changed hands from one to another. During these, she was subjected to several cultural, sociological, and religious enhancements and diminutions.
- As per historical documentation, the Mauryans were the rulers in the 3rd century.
- Who were to be succeeded by the Satvahanas of Kolhapur and then The Bhojas who made Chandrapur (now Chandor) their capital.
- From 580 – 750 AD the Chalukyas of Badami held sway over Goa. Followed by the Silharas in 1086 AD.
- The famous Kadamba Dynasty ruled Goa for two centuries (11-13 AD). One of the longest and the most influential reign it was to be. They built a navy that was unbeatable in its time. The capital, Chandor was too small making them shift to Goa Velha. A massive tank at the temple of Goddess Chamunda still remains as evidence of their presence. The Fr Agnel’s monastery at Pilar houses a museum that has a notable collection of this period.
- Muslims held sway from 1312-1370 AD over the Konkan region. However, with the breakup of the Tughlaq Kingdom, it was the Bhamani Sultans who then controlled Goa.
- Subsequently, Madhav Mantri, who headed the army of Harihara of Vijaynagar, reclaimed and ruled Goa as its Viceroy.
- In 1469, the Bahamani Vizier Khwaja Mohammed Gawan of Gulbarga laid a two-year siege of Goa’s seaside forts and ended Vijayanagar’s rule. Yusuf Adil Shah, the adopted son of Gawan, moved his capital to Ela in Old Goa in 1498. He later built himself a palace in Panaji which until recently housed the State Secretariat. His rule lasted 12 years.
- On 25 November 1510, he lost Goa for good to Afonso de Albuquerque. The Portuguese ruled Goa for the next 450 years. It was to be the longest colonial rule in the world. This long rule led to a blend of European and Indian culture and sociological habits, which positively and negatively gave a distinct characteristic to Goa
- Finally, on 19 December 1961, a historic moment, the Indian Army liberated Goa from Portuguese rule, the culmination of the efforts of scores of freedom fighters, both Hindu and Christian.
- The birth of a new tiny state. Goa was accorded statehood on May 30, 1987.
- In August 1992, Konkani, the mother tongue of Goans was granted official language status under the Indian Constitution.