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Goa

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For other uses, see Goa (disambiguation).
Goa
Abbreviation GA
Country India
Capital Panaji
Location Template:Coor d
Population 1.4 million (2001)
Area 3,702 km²
Districts 2
Governor SC Jamir
Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane
State language Konkani
Coastal length 101  km

Goa (गोवा in Devanagari) is India's smallest state in terms of area and the fourth smallest in terms of population after Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. It is India's richest state in wealth per person. It is located on the west coast of India, in the region known as the Konkan, and is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and Karnataka to the east and south. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's west coast. Panaji is the state's capital, and Vasco its largest town. Portuguese merchants first landed in Goa in the 16th Century but soon after colonised it forcibly, persecuting Hindus and Muslims and converting the majority of the locals to Christianity. The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed as part of India in 1961.

Internationally renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists each year. Besides beaches, Goa is also known for its world heritage architecture including the Bom Jesus Basilica (Portuguese for "Good Jesus"). Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

Contents

Origin of the name

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Goa is famed for its sunny beaches.

The precise origin of the name Goa is unclear. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, as "Goparashtra" or "Govarashtra", which means a nation of cowherds. "Gopakapuri" or "Gapakapattana" were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda. In the latter, Goa is also known as "Gomanchala". Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, and Gomant are some other names that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas. It has also been known as "Aprant".

History

Main article: History of Goa

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A chapel in Old Goa, an example of Portuguese architecture.

Goa has a long history stretching back to the 3rd century BC, when it formed part of the Mauryan Empire. Goa was later ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur (in Maharashtra) around two thousand years ago. It eventually passed to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 580 to 750. Over the next few centuries Goa was successively ruled by the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyans of Kalyani, rulers of Deccan India.

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 Vijayanagar. The Vijayanagar monarchs held on to the territory for the next hundred years until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After the dynasty crumbled, the area came under the hands of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who made Velha Goa their auxiliary capital.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European to set foot in India through a sea route, landing in Kozhikode in Kerala, followed by an arrival in what is now known as Old Goa. The Portuguese arrived with the intention of setting up a colony and seizing complete control of the spice trade from other European powers after traditional land routes to India were closed by the Ottoman Turks. Later, in 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur kings on behalf of a local sovereign, Timayya, leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). The Portuguese intended it to be a colony and a naval base, distinct from the fortified enclaves established elsewhere along India's coasts.

Ruins of  in north Goa; one of the defences that the Portuguese built during their reign.
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Ruins of Fort Aguada in north Goa; one of the defences that the Portuguese built during their reign.

With the imposition of the Inquisition (15601812), many of the local residents were forcibly converted to Christianity by missionaries. To escape the Inquisition and harassment, thousands fled the state, settling down in the neighbouring towns of Mangalore and Karwar in Karnataka. With the arrival of the other European powers in India in the 16th century, most Portuguese possessions were appropriated by the British and the Dutch. Portuguese possessions in India were reduced to a few enclaves along India's west coast, with Goa being the largest of these holdings.

It soon became their most important overseas possession and was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon. The Portuguese encouraged its citizens to marry local women, and to settle in Goa as farmers, retail traders or artisans. These married men soon became a privileged caste, and Goa acquired a sizable Eurasian population. Subsequently, a senate was created, which maintained direct communications with the king. In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa. By mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Goa's present day state limits.

After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to accede to India's request to relinquish their control of its exclave. Arbitration by the World Court and the United Nations General Assembly in the 1950s ruled in favour of India. Finally, on 12 December, 1961, the Indian army moved in, taking the colony by force. After a brief skirmish lasting for twenty-six hours, Goa, along with Daman and Diu (enclaves lying to the north of Maharashtra), was made into a federally administered Union Territory. Though most nations recognised the annexation, Portugal acknowledged it only after its Carnation Revolution in 1974. On 30 May, 1987, the Union territory was split, and Goa was elevated as India's twenty-fifth state.

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Geography and climate

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Goa has a long and sandy coastline.

Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km² (1,430 sq mile). It lies between the latitudes 1453'54" N and 1540'00" N and longitudes 7340'33" E and 7420'13" E. Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is an escarpment risinng up to the Western Ghats range of mountains, which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167  metres (3,827  feet). Goa has a coastline of 101  km (63  miles).

Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora and the Betul. 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 it's geographic area. 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 springsTemplate:Ref.

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 river banks, 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 warm and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35C (95F) 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 cool season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by cool nights of around 20C (68F) and warm days of around 29C (84F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees coolerTemplate:Ref.

Economy

 is one of Goa's main industries
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Shipping is one of Goa's main industries
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Fishing in the Chapora river.

Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita one and a half times that of the country as a whole, and one of its fastest growth rates: 8,23% (yearly average 1990-2000).

Tourism is Goa's primary industry: it handles 12%Template:Ref of all foreign tourist arrivals in India. Goa has two main tourist seasons. Tourism is particularly focussed in the coastal areas, but its impact is more limited in the outer parts.

The land away from the coast is rich in minerals and ores and mining forms the second largest industry. Mining in Goa focuses on ores of iron, bauxite, manganese, clays, limestone and silica. Agriculture, while of shrinking importance to the economy over the past four decades, offers part-time employment to a sizable portion of the populace. Rice is the main agricultural crop, followed by areca, cashew and coconut. The fishing industry provides employment for about forty thousand people, though recent official figures indicate a decline of the importance of this sector and also a fall in catch, perhaps coupled with the fact that traditional fishing has given way to large-scale mechanised trawling.

Medium scale industries include the manufacturing of pesticides, fertilisers, tyres, tubes, footwear, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wheat products, steel rolling, fruits and fish canning, cashew nuts, textiles, brewery products. Goa is also notable for its low liquor prices due to its very low excise duty on alcohol. Another source of cash inflow into the state comes from many of its citizens who work abroad and remit money to their families.

Government and politics

Panaji (also known by its anglicised name – Panjim) is the administrative capital of Goa lying on the left bank of the Mandovi near Panaji. Goa's legislative capital is Porvorim – the seat of the Goa assembly, which lies across the Mandovi River. The state's judicial capital, however, is Mumbai (Bombay), as the state comes under the Bombay High Court. A bench of the High Court is present in Panaji. Goa contributes two seats to the Lok Sabha and one to the Rajya Sabha, India's bicameral parliament.

Goa has a unicameral legislature consisting of a forty member Legislative Assembly, headed by a Chief Minister who wields the executive power. The ruling government consists of the party or coalition garnering the most seats in the state elections and enjoying the support of a simple majority of the House. The governor is appointed by the President of India. The governor's role is largely ceremonial, but plays a crucial role when it comes to deciding who should form the next government or in suspending the legislature as has happened in the recent past. After having stable governance for nearly thirty years upto 1990, Goa is now notorious for its political instability having seen fourteen governments in the span of the fifteen years between 1990 and 2005Template:Ref. In March 2005 the assembly was dissolved by the governor and President's Rule was declared, which suspended the legislature. A recent by-election in June 2005 saw the Congress coming back to power after winning three of the five seats that went to polls. The Congress party and the BJP are the two largest parties in the state. Other parties include the United Goans Democratic Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party is the oldest in the state, though in recent times it has lost out much of its traditional electorate.

Unlike other states which follows the British Indian model of civil laws framed for individual religions, the Portuguese Uniform Civil Code, based on the Napoleonic Codes, has been retained by the Goa government.

Demographics

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Hindu temples in Goa are colourful and represent the traditional indigenous architecture.

A native of Goa is called a Goan in English, Goenkar in Konkani, Gos (male) or Goesa (female) in Portuguese and a Govekar in Marathi. In many parts of India, the names Goanese is also sometimes used instead of Goan. Goa has at present a population of 1.344 million residents consisting of 685,000 males and 658,000 females with a growth rate of 14.9% per annum. There are 363 people for each square kilometre of the land. 49.77% of the population live in urban areas. The sex ratio is 960 females to 1000 males. Goa's literacy rate is 82.32%, broken down into: males 88.88% and females 75.51%.Template:Ref Hinduism (65%), Catholicism (30%)Template:Ref and Islam are the three main religions in Goa.

Goa's main towns are Vasco, Margao (also spelt as Margaon, and pronounced as Madgaon), Marmagao (also pronounced by some as Murgaon), Panjim and Mapusa. The region connecting the last four towns is considered a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.

Following the end of Portuguese rule, the most widely used languages are Konkani as the primary spoken language, and English and Marathi for official, literary or educational purposes. Language is a controversial issue in Goa, over which an agitation was fought between two contending pro-Konkani and pro-Marathi camps between 1985-87. After the agitation ended in 1987, a complex formula grants 'official language' status to Konkani, while Marathi is also allowed to be used "for any or all official purposes." Given the bitter rivalry between the two lobbies, clubbed with a maudlin issue has resulted in a stalemate over the actual implementation. Portuguese, the earlier language of the elite, has been hit by shrinking numbers, though a small section still prefer it as the medium for discourse at home, while even a few Portuguese books have been published in recent years. English, viewed as a language of opportunity and social mobility is widely understood by the many of the state residents. Hindi, India's national language, is also spoken as a second or third language.

Districts

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Talukas of Goa. Talukas in purple shades belong to North Goa district, and orange denote South Goa.

The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Panaji is the headquarters of the north Goa district and Margao of the south district. Each district is governed by a district collector, an administrator appointed by the Indian government.

The districts are further divided into eleven talukas – Talukas of North Goa are Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Satari and Tiswadi. Talukas of South Goa are Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcette and Sanguem. Headquarters of the respective talukas are Mapusa, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Valpoi, Panaji, Chaudi, Vasco, Quepem, Margaon and Sanguem.

In the Parliament of India, Goa has two seats in the Lok Sabha, one representing each district, and one seat in the Rajya Sabha.

Transport

Goa's main form of public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run white-with-blue-and-red-stripes buses, maintained by a service called the Kadamba Transport Corporation, links both major routes (like the Panjim-Margao route) and also some of the more remote parts of the state and taluka headquarters. In large towns such as Panjim and Margao, intra-city buses serve its citizens. Public transport in Goa is not very efficient, and most buses stop plying on routes a little after dusk.

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 Bombay 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, once complete will be a four lane highway connecting Mormugao Harbour to NH-17 at another location, Verna, via Dabolim airport. Goa has a total of 224 km of National highway, 232 km 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 yellow-and-black two-wheeler Motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated prior or after the journey. In some places in Goa, there are river crossings which are serviced by the ferry boats, operated by the river navigation departments. Goa has two rail lines – one run by the South Central Railway and the other by the Konkan Railway. The line run by the South Central Railway was built during the colonial era linking the port town of Vasco da Gama to Hubli in Karnataka and passing through Margaon. The line, earlier a metre gauge, was recently converted to broad gauge. The Konkan Railway line, which was built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting Mumbai to the Malabar Coast.

Goa's sole airport – the Dabolim Airport is a military airport, though civilian flights are permitted when the fields can be spared from military uses. In addition to regular flights, the airport handles a large number of chartered flights. 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. Panaji, 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.

Culture

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An example of traditional Goan architecture.

The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Ganesh Chaturthi, New Year's Day, the Shigmo festival and the Carnival. However, since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and carnival have shifted to the urban centres, and in recent times these festivals are seen more as a means of attracting tourists. Celebrations for all festivals usually last for a few days and include parties and balls.

Western English songs have a large following in most parts of Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs too have a sizable following. Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the nineteenth century, is sung and danced on special occasions. Goa is also known for its Goa trance music.

Rice with fish curry is the staple diet in Goa. Goa is renowned for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used in Goan cooking along with chilli, spices and vinegar giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among the Catholics. A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known as bebinca is a favourite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni; Cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy palms.

Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa. Once every decade, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing. The last such event was conducted in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Indo-Portuguese style architecture.

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 Panjim, has been declared a cultural quarter, and are used as a living museum showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Mangueshi Temple; although, in an conscious effort after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.

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Sports

Football is widely popular in Goa, particularly around Margao where the main football stadium, at the Fatorda locality is based. Football is also played in local fields, during the non-monsoon, non-planting season, particular in central coastal Goa. Many of the country's top NFL clubs such as the Vasco, Salgaokar, Dempo, Sporting Clube de Goa and Churchill Brothers are based in Goa.

In recent decades, a growing influence of cricket is visible, in large part fuelled by the massive coverage this sport gets on national television, thus making an impact even in a part of South Asia which hardly had any contact with the British Empire.

The state's sole stadium is the Fatorda stadium, located near Margaon. The stadium hosts both international football as well as cricket matches. Hockey is the third most popular sport. Goa used to be a traditional bastion of hockey talent, though in recent times its popularity has been decreasing.

Flora and fauna

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The Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the most well known ornithology sanctuaries in India.

Forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km², most of which is owned by the government.Template:Ref 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 recognised as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. In the February 1999 issue of the National Geographic Magazine, Goa was compared with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity.

The important forests products are bamboo canes, Maratha barks, chillar barks and the bhirand. Coconut trees are ubiquitous and are present in almost all area 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 blackberries.

Foxes, wild boars and migratory 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 in control. Goa has many famous National Parks, including the renowned Salim Ali ornithology sanctuary. Other wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sancuary and the Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.

Media

The All India Radio is the only radio channel in the state, broadcasting in both FM and AM bands. Major cellular service operators include Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom, Hutch, BSNL and Idea!.

Local newspaper publications include the English language Herald (Goa's oldest, till 1983 a Portuguese paper known as O Heraldo), the Gomantak Times and the Navhind Times. In addition to these, The Times of India and the Indian Express are also received from Bombay and Bangalore in the urban areas.

Goa is served by almost all television channels available in India. Channels are received through cable in most parts of Goa. In the interior regions, channels are received via satellite dishes. Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster, has two free terrestrial channels on air. Local cable channels include Goa365 (English), Goa Newsline and Goa Plus (both Konkani).

Education

Each taluka is made up of villages, each having a school run by the government. However many of the state's residents prefer to enrol in 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 is largely run in Marathi (in government schools) and Konkani (in private, but government-aided schools). As is the case in most of India, enrollement for vernacular media has seen a fall in numbers in favour of English medium education.

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 and all colleges are affiliated to it. There are two engineering colleges and one medical college in the state. 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.

Portuguese is taught part of the school curriculum as a third language in some schools. The Goa University also offers bachelor and Master's degrees in Portuguese, though few take up these courses.

External links

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References

  1. Template:Note The Goa that you may not know (http://www.colaco.net/thegoaUdontNO.htm), Dr. Nandkumar Kamat, Colaco.net (http://www.colaco.net), 2001-06-06
  2. Template:Note Facts and Figures About Goa (http://www.nikkistravel.com/facts_and_figures_goa.htm), Nikkis Travel Services (http://www.nikkistravel.com/index.htm) verified 2005-04-02
  3. Template:Note Economy of Goa (http://goenkar.com/book/print/112), from goenkar.com verified 2005-04-02.
  4. Template:Note Odds stacked against Parrikar (http://www.hindu.com/2005/01/31/stories/2005013104051100.htm), Anil Sastry, The Hindu (http://www.hindu.com), 2005-01-31, verified 2005-04-02
  5. Template:Note Manorama Year Book 2003 — pg 659 – ISBN 81-900461-8-7
  6. Template:Note The People (http://www.goatourism.org/People/people.htm), Department of Tourism (http://www.goatourism.org/), Government of Goa, verified 2005-04-02
  7. Template:Note Portuguese passport racket worries UK, US (http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/july242004/n4.asp), Devika Sequeira, Deccan Herald (http://www.deccanherald.com), Saturday, 2004-07-24
  8. Template:Note Economy of Goa (http://goenkar.com/book/print/112), from goenkar.com, Government owned forest is estimated at 1224.38 km² whilst private is given as 200 km² verified 2005-04-02.

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