Goa  is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.

Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. Goa is a former Portuguese colony, the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.

Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Sal.

Konkani is spoken as a native language by about 61% of the people in the state but almost all Goans can speak and understand Konkani. Other linguistic minorities in the state as per the 2001 census are Marathi (21%), Kannada (5%), Hindi (5%), and Urdu (4%

Subdivisions

The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Each district is governed by a district collector, an administrator appointed by the Indian government.
North Goa District: Panaji is the headquarters of the North Goa district.
The North Goa District is further divided into four subdivisions – Mapusa, Bicholim, Panaji, and Ponda; and six taluks, Pernem, Bardez (Mapusa), Bicholim, Sattari (Valpoy), Tiswadi (Panaji) and Ponda.
South Goa District: Margao is the headquarters of the South Goa district.
The South Goa District is further divided into three subdivisions – Margao, Mormugao (Vasco), and Quepem; and six taluks, Mormugao, Salcete (Margao), Quepem, Canacona (Chaudi), Sanguem, and Dharbandora.


Transport


Air

Goa's sole airport, the Dabolim Airport, is a military and civilian airport catering to domestic and international airlines that stop en route to other Indian destinations. The airport also handles a large number of chartered flights. Goa receives international flights from Qatar, Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East and from Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Dabolim Airport is serviced by the following carriers — Air Arabia, Air India, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways — besides charter flights from the UK, Netherlands, Russia, Germany operated by Thomas Cook, Condor, Arkefly, Monarch Airlines, etc. Another international airport at Mopa is proposed.

Road


Goa's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run buses, maintained by the Kadamba Transport Corporation, link major routes (like the Panjim–Margao route) and some remote parts of the state. In large towns such as Panjim and Margao, intra-city buses ply. However, public transport in Goa is less developed, and residents depend heavily on their own transport, usually motorised two-wheelers.

Goa has three National Highways passing through it. NH-17 runs along India's west coast and links Goa to Mumbai 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. The new NH-17B is a four-lane highway connecting Mormugao Harbour to NH-17 at Verna, via Dabolim airport. Goa has a total of 224 km (139 mi) of national highways, 232 km (144 mi) 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 motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated. River crossings in Goa are serviced by flat-bottomed ferry boats, operated by the river navigation departments.

Rail


Goa has two rail lines — one run by the South Western Railway and the other by the Konkan Railway. The line run by the South Western Railway was built during the colonial era linking the port town of Vasco da Gama, Goa with Belgaum, Hubli, Karnataka via Margao. The Konkan Railway line, which was built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting major cities on the western coast.

Sea

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. Panjim, which is on the banks of the Mandovi, has a minor port, which used to handle passenger steamers between Goa and Mumbai till the late 1980s. There was also a short-lived catamaran service linking Mumbai and Panaji operated by Damania Shipping in the 1990s.

Tourism


Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2010, there were more than two million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 1.2 million of whom were from abroad.


The tourism board appointed Prachi Desai, a young Bollywood actress as the face of Goa. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the climate. In the summertime (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.

With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of Portuguese culture, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than other parts of the country. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourism destinations.

Historic sites and neighbourhoods

Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and churches and convents of Old Goa. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually the Blessed Joseph Vaz). The relics are taken down for veneration and for public viewing, as per the prerogative of the Church in Goa, not not every ten or twelve years as popularly thought and propagated. The last exposition was held in 2004. Goa also has the Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Sancoale, Pilar monastery which holds novenas of Venerable Padre Agnelo Gustavo de Souza from November 10 to 20 November yearly. There is also a claimed Marian Apparition at the Church of Saints Simon and Jude at Batim Ganxim, near Pilar, where a number of Goans and non resident Goans visit. There is also the statue of the bleeding Jesus on the Crucifix at the Santa Monica Convent in Velha Goa. There are a number of churches (Igorzo), like the Baroque styled Nixkollounk Gorb-Sombhov Saibinnich Igorz (Church of the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception) in Panjim, the Gothic styled Mater Dei (Dêv Matechi Igorz/ Mother of God Church in Saligao and each church having its own style and heritage, besides Kopelam/ Irmidi (Chapels). The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture. There are many forts in Goa such as Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Reis Magos, Nanus, Mormugao, Fort Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama.

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 Panaji has been declared a cultural quarter, showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Shanta Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple, although after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.

Museums and science centre

Goa also has a few museums, the two important ones being Goa State Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. The Aviation museum is one among three of its kind in the India, the other two being in Delhi and Bengaluru. Also, a place not well known to tourists is the Goa Science Centre, which is located in Panjim. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is also located in Goa at Dona Paula.

Old GOA:


Old Goa  or Velha Goa (Velha means "old" in Portuguese) is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century until its abandonment in the 18th century due to a plague. It is said to have once been a city of nearly 200,000 where from, before the plague, the Portuguese traded across continents. The remains of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Goa is barely 10 kilometers from the state capital of Panaji.

Churches of Old Goa

Old Goa contains churches affiliated to various congregations, including the Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Church of S. Caetano, and notably, the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the relics of Saint Francis Xavier, which is celebrated every year on 3 December with novenas beginning on 24 November.

Photo Gallery:















Photos: Shashidhar.B.S & Wikipedia
Information Courtesy: Wikipedia

Categories:
Facebook plugin by sutthonabanni.com Enhanced by PRAVEEN MANGALORE

Leave a Reply