Goa

About Goa

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Goa pronunciation (Konkani: गोंय goṃya; Marathi: गोवा govā) is India‘s second smallest state in terms of area (after Delhi) and the fourth smallest in terms of population (after Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh). 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 bounds it to the west. Panaji (Panjim) is the state’s capital, and Vasco-da-Gama (Vasco) its largest city. The second largest and most historic city is Margao with the most western Portuguese culture. Portuguese merchants first landed in Goa in the 15th century, and annexed it soon after. The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years, until it was successfully taken over by India in 1961[1][2].Internationally renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists each year, and has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for European travellers.

Besides beaches, Goa is also known for its world heritage architecture including the Bom Jesus Basilica. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

 

Goa Stats

Goa
Map of India with the location of Goa highlighted.
Capital
- Coordinates
Panaji
- 15.29° N 73.49° E
Largest city Vasco da Gama, Goa
Population (2001)
- Density
1.4 million (25th)
- 363/km²
Area
- Districts
3,702 km² (28th)
- 2
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Establishment
- Governor
- Chief Minister
- Legislature (seats)
198705-30
- SC Jamir
- Pratapsing Rane
- Unicameral (40)
Official language(s) Konkani, Marathi
Abbreviation (ISO) IN-GA
Website: goagovt.nic.in

Seal of Goa

Origin of name

Goa is famed for its sunny beaches.

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Goa is famed for its sunny beaches.

The name Goa came to European languages brought by the Portuguese colonisers, but its precise origin 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” and “Dan’s Yard”.

History

Main article: History of Goa
A chapel in Old Goa, an example of Portuguese architecture.

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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 Vijayanagara. The Vijayanagara 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 Fort Aguada 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.

Chapora River boat

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Chapora River boat

With the imposition of the Inquisition (1560–1812), many of the local residents were forcibly converted to Christianity by missionaries, threatened by punishment or confiscation of land, titles or property. Many converted, however retaining parts of their Hindu heritage. 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 surrounded by the British and the Dutch. Portuguese possessions in India were a few enclaves along India’s west coast, with Goa being the largest of these holdings.

An interesting development of the 18th century in Goa is the Conspiracy Of The Pintos in 1787 which was inspired by the French Revolution. This was the first ethnic rebellion against Portuguese rule in Goa. Goa soon became their most important possession in India, and was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon. The Portuguese encouraged its citizens to marry local women, and to settle in Goa. However, among the local population (both Christian and Hindu) this was looked down upon. Progeny of these unions called the mestiço were favourably considered by the Portuguese rulers. 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 demand to relinquish their control of its exclave. Resolution 1541 by the United Nations General Assembly in 1960 noted that Goa was non-self-governing and essentially showed sympathy toward self determination. Finally, on 196112-12, the Indian army with 40,000 troops moved in. 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 centrally administered Union Territory. India’s takeover of Goa is commemorated annually on the 19th of December (Liberation Day). The UN Security Council considered a resolution condemning the invasion which was vetoed by the Soviet Union. Most nations later recognised India’s action, and Portugal recognised it after its Carnation Revolution in 1974. On 198705-30, the Union Territory was split, and Goa was elevated as India’s twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining Union Territories.

Geography and climate

Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km² (1,430 sq mile). It lies between the latitudes 14°53’54” N and 15°40’00” N and longitudes 73°40’33” E and 74°20’13” E. Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is an escarpment rising 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 River 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 its 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 springs.[1]

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 35°C (95°F) 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 20°C (68°F) and warm days of around 29°C (84°F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler.[2]

Subdivisions

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

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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, the talukas of South Goa are Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcete and Sanguem. Headquarters of the respective talukas are Mapusa, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Valpoi, Panjim, Chaudi, Vasco, Quepem, Margao 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.

Flora and fauna

The Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the best-known bird sanctuaries in India.

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The Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the best-known bird sanctuaries in India.

Forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km², most of which is owned by the government.[3] 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 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 areas 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 bird sanctuary. Other wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Madei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on the island of Chorao.

Goa has more than 33% of its geographic area under government forests (1224.38 km².) of which about 62% has been brought under Protected Areas (PA) of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Park. Since there is a substantial area under private forests and a large tract under cashew, mango, coconut, etc. plantations, the total forest and tree cover constitutes 56.6% of the geographic area.

Economy

Production of sisal in Goa (Salcete)

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Production of sisal in Goa (Salcete)

India rubber production in Goa (Salcete)

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India rubber production in Goa (Salcete)

Shipping is one of Goa's main industries

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Shipping is one of Goa’s main industries

Fishing in the Chapora river.

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Fishing in the Chapora river.

Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product of Goa at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian Rupees.

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 3,980
1985 6,550
1990 12,570
1995 33,190
2000 76,980

Goa’s gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $3 billion in current prices.

Goa is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole, and one of its fastest growth rates: 8.23% (yearly average 1990-2000).

Industry

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. Zuari Industries (2005 gross income Rs.36,302 million) and Sesa Goa (2005 gross income Rs.17,265 million) are two S&P CNX 500 conglomerates which have corporate offices in Goa.[citation needed]

Services

Tourism is Goa’s primary industry: it handles 12%[4] of all foreign tourist arrivals in India. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summertime (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.

Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2004 there were more than 2 million tourists reported to have visited Goa, 400,000 of which were from abroad. There are several reasons why tourists are visiting Goa in increasing numbers. First, because of the historical development of the area, the inhabitants of Goa are increasingly used to contact with foreigners. Additionally, a large portion (approx 35%) of the Goan people are Catholic. This cultural heritage from the time of the Portuguese colonization makes the state somewhat more intimate to European or American people than the rest of the Indian subcontinent. Goan culture incorporates a very nonproblematic mix of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

The food of Goa is a mixture of foods from Portugal, Western India and Arabia (and, in the tourist season, from Kashmir as well). Goa is one of the few places in India that you can go to a restaurant and order (beside fish and chicken) both beef and pork, which are usually served very lightly spiced; beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks are sold freely.

These attributes, together with the fact that Goa’s economy is among the most prosperous in India, have won Goa the nickname “India for the beginners” – the great differences between Europe and India, very apparent in other parts of India due to large slums and other problems, are much less pronounced.

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 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 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. Panjim, 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.

Demographics

A native of Goa is called a Goan in English, ‘Goenkar’ in Konkani, ‘Goês’ (male) or ‘Goesa’ (female) in Portuguese, and a ‘Govekar’ in Marathi.

Goa has at present a population of 1.344 million residents, making it India’s fourth smallest (after Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh). The population has 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%.[5] Hinduism (65%), Catholicism (30%)[6] and Islam are the three main religions in Goa. Roman Catholicism reached Goa during the period of European colonization, which began in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar coast. Goa’s major cities include Vasco, Margao, Marmagao (also known as Murgaon or Mormugão), Panjim and Mapusa. The region connecting the last four cities is considered a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.

The official languages of Goa are Konkani and Marathi. Following the end of Portuguese rule, the most widely used languages are Konkani as the primary spoken language, and English 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. Majority of the Goans united and fought for Konkani as their mother tongue. After the agitation ended in 1987, a complex formula grants ‘official language’ status to Konkani. 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 language. Whereas, in the past, most people spoke Konkani, nowadays Hindi is increasingly heard due to lots of immigrants from rest of India.

Ethnicity and Surnames

The people of Goa are Indo-Aryan and are closely related to the neighbouring Marathi people. The majority of Goa’s population comprises of the Aryan Marathas. The present chief minister of Goa, Pratapsinh Rane belongs to a royal clan of Maratha. The common surnames of Marathas are Rane, Sawant, Kadam, Porob and many others. For a listing of Goan Maratha surnames, see Maratha Clan System. Most of the Goan Marathas are closely related to the Maratha people of the neighbouring region of Sawantvadi, which was a former princely state and is often called the sister-region of Goa. The other major ethnic groups of Goa are Goud Saraswat Brahmins and Christians. The Goud Saraswats trace their lineage to the East Indian region of Bengal. They share similar surnames with Bengalis like Shenoy, Benegal, etc.

Most of the Christians of Goa are of Dravidian descent. Many of them are Dalit converts. Due to the initial colonization of Goa, adopted Portuguese surnames such as Silva, Souza or Sousa, Pereira and such like are very common despite the fact that most people are of no Portuguese descent what-so-ever. This is evident in the caste system used by the Catholics. These Portuguese surnames are also present further down the West Coast in the largely Catholic city of Mangalore, in Karnataka State. Similar surnames are also prevalent in the neighbouring country, Sri Lanka, but with some variations. Most of the Goan Hindus surnames end with “-Karsuffix, similar to the surnames of Maharashtrian people. eg. Chandavarkar, Usgaonkar, etc. However, some Goan Hindus prefer the “-Carsuffix, under the influence of the Portuguese, eg. Salgaocar, Caro, Verlecar, Domotcar, Raiturcar, etc. The Portuguese influence goes beyond the “Kar” suffix as some traditional Maratha surnames are also influenced by Portuguese. eg. Parab turneed to Porob, Kadam turned to Kadoum, etc.

Culture

An example of traditional Goan architecture.

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An example of traditional Goan architecture.

The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Easter Sunday 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 chile peppers, 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. An exotic Goan vegetable stew, known as Khatkhate, is very popoular dish during the celebrations of festivals, Hindu and Christian alike. Khatkhate contains at least five vegetables, fresh coconut, and special Goan spices that add to the aroma of Khatkhate. 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 Goa-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 after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.

Football is widely popular in Goa, particularly around Margao where the main football stadium, located at the Fatorda, Margao. 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, Salgaocar, Dempo, Sporting Clube de Goa, Fransa-Pax Football Club 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 Margao. The stadium hosts both international football as well as cricket matches. Field Hockey is the third most popular sport.

See also: Music of Goa and Goa literature

Government and politics

Panjim, or earlier called Pangim in Portuguese times, and known in the local language as Ponn’je is the administrative capital of Goa lying on the left bank of the Mandovi near Panjim. 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 (formerly known as Bombay, and not within the state’s borders), 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, in 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 up to 1990, Goa is now notorious for its political instability having seen fourteen governments in the span of the fifteen years between 1990 and 2005.[7] 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.

Media and Communication

Radio

Goa was once home to the Emissora Goa, a powerful radio station that was widely listened to when this small region was still a Portuguese colony. After the end of Portuguese rule, this station was replaced by a station from the All India Radio network.

The All India Radio is currently the only radio channel in the state, broadcasting in both FM and AM bands. Its studios are at Altinho, the hillock atop state capital Panaji and its transmitters are located at Bambolim, some 5 km away. Bambolim also houses some powerful transmitters that broadcast foreign-language programmes as part of India’s international programme to overseas destinations. Besides the local primary channel, All India Radio also has an FM channel called Rainbow FM. In early 2006, it extended its FM broadcast hours from roughly half-day to full-day.

In end-January 2006, three private FM radio players—ENIL (Times group – Radio Mirchi) Rs 17.1 million; Indigo (BPL – Rajiv Chandrasekhar) Rs 12.9 million; and Adlabs (Reliance – Anil Ambani group) Rs 12.1 million—won bids to set up private FM radio stations in Goa.

St Xavier’s College in Mapusa has announced its plans to set up a low-powered campus FM radio station, for which it has been granted permission. This was due to begin operations in February 2006, but has apparently been delayed.

Newspapers and magazines

Local newspaper publications include the English language Herald (it is Goa’s oldest surviving newspaper and was, until 1983, a Portuguese paper known as O Heraldo but shifted over to the English language then), the lively but smaller Gomantak Times and the first English-language daily to be published from Goa 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.

Among the list of officially-accredited newspapers are The Navhind Times, The Herald Times and The Gomantak Times (all in the English language) and Gomantak, Tarun Bharat, Navprabha, Pudhari, Goa Times, Sanatan Prabhat, Govadoot (all in Marathi), besides Sunaparant in Devanagiri-script Konkani. All are dailies. Gomantak was once the leading daily of Goa, before being overtaken by Tarun Bharat . Recently Goa Doot has been emerging as the most popular daily newspaper. [citation needed]

Out-station dailies, reaching Goa from other centres of publication, include Kesari, Times Of India, Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, The Asian Age, Deccan Herald, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, Navashakti, etc. Among the two mainstream news agencies operating in the state are the Press Trust of India and the United News of India.

Other publications in the state include Goa Today (English-language, monthly), Goan Observer (English, weekly), Vavraddeancho Ixtt (Roman-script Konkani, weekly) Goa Messenger, Gulab (Konkani, monthly), Bimb (Devanagiri-script Konkani), Harbour Times, [Digital Goa], and “J’s House”.

Television

Goa is served by almost all the 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. Goa has all the cable TV channels generally found in India, namely: MTV, ESPN, Fox, Zee TV, ZEE marati, HBO, Star Plus, Star Movie, BBC, CNN, Tensport, AXN, Star World, Satar News, Sony, Set Max, Sub, Sahara One, Sahara News, Discovery, National Geographic , Animal Planet, etc. Electronic media with staff stationed in Goa include ETC, ANI, Sahara, NDTV. Local cable-TV based news operations include Goa 365 (English), Goa Newsline and Goa Plus (both Konkani).

DTH (Direct To Home) TV services are available from Dish TV, Tata Sky & DD Direct Plus.

Telecom

Major cellular service operators include Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom, BSNL, Hutch, Bharti Airtel and Idea cellular.

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 enroll 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 Konkani (in private, but government-aided schools). As is the case in most of India, enrollment for vernacular media has seen a fall in numbers in favour of English medium education. One of the best English medium private schools run by Jesuits is St Ignatius of Loyola High School based in Margao. Formed in the 19th Century it initially began for the elite of Margao but later the reserve was removed due to the growing urban population.

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 located in Taleigao and all Goan colleges are affiliated to it. There are three engineering colleges and one medical college in the state. The Goa Engineering College and Goa Medical College are run by the state whereas the other two engineering colleges are run by private organisations.There are also colleges offering pharmacy, architecture and dentistry along with numerous private colleges offering law, arts, commerce and science.

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. The State also hosts a premier Business school Goa Institute of Management which is autonomous and was founded in 1993 by Fr. Romuald D’souza.

Portuguese is taught in part of the school curriculum as a third language in some schools. The Goa University also offers bachelor and Master’s degrees in Portuguese.

(source: Wikipedia.com)

6 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. While most of the converts to Christianity were indeed dalits and the kunbhi tribals of the region, a significant proportion of Saraswat Brahmins had also converted into Christianity, a fact that the author glaringly ignores. Despite this, it must be pointed out that Goa is the only place in India where no bitterness or rivalry exists between religions. Viva la Goa !!

    4. Anger Pereira on March 26th, 2009 at 2:23 am
  2. Thanks for the article- 3 kings

    see a small video of the Our Lady & the Kings.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=8puVKN_1iYY

    about the overnight staying up on the hill/chapel on the feast day/night, it was proved to be untrue. The then Parish Priest along with two young guys stayed there whole night about 15 years ago.

    Also, not every one can choose to be a king from the 3 villages of Cansaulim, Cuelim & Arossim. One has to be a Gaumkar or belong to a particular caste like ‘Chaddi’. No one else is allowed no mater how rich the person is.

    Also, don’t understand as to why no adults are made kings rather than young kids (7-10years). about 12 hrs of ordeal to the kids amount to cruelty to children.

    Hindus also come in large number as they believe the OL is one of the 7 Hindu sisters.. others being OL of Milagres (Mapusa), Mamai saibin etc

    12. joe on March 24th, 2007 at 1:09 pm
  3. Feast of Three Kings
    Perched high on a hill in Quelim, Salcete, stands the tiny centuries-old stone chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios or Our Lady of Cures. The incomparably beautiful statue of the Madonna is seen holding the Child Jesus in open arm and a small vase in the other, which has in it the panacea for all ills.

    The Lady of the Mount is famous for her wondrous protection and miracles and is also reputed to be the giver of children to sterile mothers. On the day of the festivity She is covered with jewellery as tokens of gratitude by Catholics and Hindus alike for favors and blessings received. The chapel as well as the image are very ancient and are steeped in historical associations, traditions, and legends.

    Every year thousands of devotees congregate at the stone chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Reis to offer prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception – a lighthouse of faith and courage to its people. High mass is offered on the day of Epiphany and it is a time to rejoice and partying.

    Some say the Jesuits built this place of worship during the religious persecution that raged Goa during the time of the Marques de Pombal. This fact seems to be borne out by the subterranean passage found in the chapel that terminates about a mile away in a huge boulder with six secret openings through which, it is believed, that the faithful entered. These caves were later used by tigers and panthers as lairs.

    According to a legend another boulder on a nearby hill is clearly stamped with two baby footprints and those of an adult, together with a trough carved out of the rock which, marks the spot where the Virgin rested with the Infant while the horse that brought them quenched its thirst, before proceeding to Hill of Remedies where she chose to remain.

    However, some historians state that the site now occupied by the Chapel of Remedios was once the site of a Hindu temple. Perhaps that’s the reason why a large number of Hindu devotees make the yearly pilgrimage to the Mount to worship the Madonna, bringing with them offerings of flowers, incense, and candles.

    The Hill of Remedios is situated at such a dizzy height that one can practically see the whole of Goa nestling around in a panoramic picture at its feet. The chapel itself is the Goan mariner’s lighthouse of faith, hope and courage.

    Surrounded by the curious curves and shapes of maiden mountains, by waving and whispering palms, the softness of golden sands, the endless changing moods of sea and sky, and the bewitching magic of the chaste sun and moon, this sanctuary is truly the realm of mystic beauty, the Abode of the Gods, and one of perfect peace.

    One seems nearer to Heaven in this hallowed spot, and the sublime and child-like faith in the Lady of Cures by her ardent devotees makes you leave the hill richer in mind and spirit.

    It is on the Festa dos Reis or the Epiphany on January 6 that the isolated Hill of Remedios and chapel suddenly spring to life and activity. After staying almost whole year in isolation, just nine days before the Feast of the Novena starts, the hill revives and resounds to human voices and feet.

    Come early dawn, kettledrums and the blare of trumpets, announce to the sleepy little neighboring villages that the day of rejoicing and festivity has arrived.

    The tolling bells call the faithful to prayer and devotees visit the shrine in a non-stop stream. There’s now an excellent road winding its way up the steep hill right to the door of the chapel, making the ascent possible by car. Still, most of the devotees prefer to climb up hill.

    Even the very old and infirm make their way up for nine consecutive days to hear Mass and recite the Rosary before the Lady of the Blue Mantle. Many come to offer their thanks for fulfilling their wishes. The devotees are always lead by a drummer-boy with his kettledrum who, by the loud beat of his drum, announces of another favor having being granted by the Lady of Remedios.

    The dramatic climax is reached on January 6, the day of the Feast of the Magi, when three little boys ranging in years from 8 to 10 are selected as kings from the three neighboring villages of Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim to bring their gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the Child-God.

    Throughout the year expectations and excitement run high as to who will be the fortunate ones chosen as it must be either a son or grandson from these three villages; no outsider can claim this privilege or honor.

    To be a king, if only for a day is no joke, so the young monarchs take meticulous care to groom themselves for the exacting role. Meanwhile, on the Mount, the crowds gather from all parts of Goa to attend the Mass and get a glimpse of the three kings.

    An extensive fair also springs up covering the entire hilltop. One can buy anything from a meal to copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts.

    The surging and trampling devotees congregate on the hill’s edge to watch the three kings from three different routes make their appearance. Mounted on white horses, they make their way up, outfitted in their royal garments elaborately embroidered in gold and silver, a crown studded with glittering stones on their heads, and a whole procession of relatives, friends, retinues bringing up the rear.

    Each procession is preceded by a brass band played as loud music and bursting of crackers all the way up. The crowd in a frenzy of enthusiasm hails the Magi with a deafening ovation. The kings dismount from their white steeds, and are solemnly led to the special seats of honor reserved for them to assist at the High Mass.

    After the service, they are led down with the same traditional ceremony with which they were brought up the hill. The whole picturesque scene is a color-drenched dream of ancient pomp, pageantry and glory.

    A curious feature of the festival on the Mount is that after midday, one will not find a single soul anywhere near by. The staggering and swelling crowds disappear as mysteriously as the huge giant fair, within a few hours, while the flags, buntings and other fanciful decorations are all removed.

    Since no priest consents to reside in the parochial house, the chapel is closed till the next annual feast. During the year should any devotee wants a mass of thanksgiving to be said at the shrine, he goes up with the priest.

    The reason for this fear of the Mount is the belief that the place is haunted by Shivaji and his army who after dusk make their appearance with flares that light up the whole countryside around, which echoes to their marching feet.

    13. true goan on March 23rd, 2007 at 3:42 pm
  4. Wow! This place is heaven on earth, I had visited goa only for once and just became a fan of it can I share this information with others?

    Thank You
    Nuruddin Gheewala

    14. Nuruddin Gheewala on March 22nd, 2007 at 1:38 pm
  5. Mr. Roger Gosling

    Thanks for visiting Goa Blog 🙂

    Goa Blog shall try to reach your views to the authorities concerned…

    15. Goa Blog on December 15th, 2006 at 6:23 pm
  6. My wife and I have recently completed another holiday in your wonderful State: however two specific problems concern us greatly.

    From our first visit, some ten years ago, the tourism has increased hugely: but the major problem of litter is not being addressed. I understand that the government has no policy regarding collection, why is this ? Around the beaches, all traders seem to throw all of their refuse into piles, with cows and other carrion constantly searching for food amongst it. This must be extremely unhealthy; how long will it be before a major epidemic of some sort takes hold. I am not an expert, but surely a skip of some sort at each beach, collected once or twice per week by the government, with hefty fines for anyone littering would be the common sense way to address this problem.

    Diabolim airport was a problem ten years ago, but now !!! On our return flight to the UK this week, 11th December, we arrived at the airport 3 hours before our flight, as requested, at 4.30 a.m. and had to que for 3 1/2 hours
    before we actually got into the departure lounge. The queing system was chaotic in the extreme, with a number of passengers we spoke with declaring that they would never come back again. Many of these people, like ourselves, have travelled the world on holiday, but never experienced such chaos. The only excuse was that one extra flight from the previous day, had made for extra work.

    Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to organise queing at check in desks and emigration in a more efficient manner, to make the very important tourists experience, more of a pleasurable one ?
    As things stand at present, many peoples last experience, after a wonderful holiday, is total disorganisation at the point of departure.

    Roger Gosling

    16. Roger Gosling on December 15th, 2006 at 7:32 am

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