Goa is a state in India within the coastal region known as the Konkan, in Western India. It is bounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its Western coast. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Goa has the highest GDP per capita among all Indian states, that is two and a half times that of the country. 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 its 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 province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.

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

Etymology

In ancient literature, Goa was known by many names, such as GomanchalaGopakapattanaGopakapattamGopakapuriGovapuriGovem, and Gomantak. Other historical names for Goa are SindapurSandabur, and Mahassapatam.

Tourism

Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2010, there were more than 2 million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 1.2 million of whom were from abroad. As of 2013, Goa was a destination of choice for Indian and foreign tourists, particularly Britons and Russians, with limited means who wanted to party. The state was hopeful that changes could be made which would attract a more upscale demographic.

Goa stands 6th in the Top 10 Nightlife cities in the world in National Geographic Travel. One of the biggest tourist attractions in Goa is water sports. Beaches like Baga and Calangute offer jet-skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, water scooter rides, and more. Patnem beach in Palolem stood 3rd in CNN Travel’s Top 20 Beaches in Asia.

HOW to Reach? Transportation

By Air

Goa International Airport, is a civil enclave at INS Hansa, a Naval airfield located at Dabolim near Vasco da Gama. The airport caters to scheduled domestic and international air services. Goa has scheduled international connections to Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East by airlines like Air Arabia, Air India, GoAir, Indigo, Oman Air, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, JetKonnect and Qatar Airways. The proposed greenfield Mopa Airport will be built at Mopa in Pernem taluka.

By 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 Panaji–Margao route) and some remote parts of the state. The Corporation owns 15 bus stands, 4 depots and one Central workshop at Porvorim and a Head Office at Porvorim. In large towns such as Panajiand Margao, intra-city buses operate. However, public transport in Goa is less developed, and residents depend heavily on their own transportation, usually motorised two-wheelers and small family cars.

By 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.

By 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. Panaji, 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.