Goa is an Indian state located on the southwestern coast of the country and falls within a region known as ‘Konkan’. This tiny little state is bounded by two other states: Maharashtra which is on the north and Karnataka lies towards the east and south. On the west lies the Arabian Sea. While Goa is separated from the Deccan highlands of Karnataka by the Western Ghats, it shares its boundaries with Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka in the east and south.
On the west is the expansive Arabian Sea. Goa has a long history and was ruled by the Portuguese for ages and is visibly evident by the 17th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa got Indian statehood in 1961 when it was “liberated” from the Portuguese rule. Since then Goa has evolved into a top-class tourist destination. Thousands of tourists flock from all over the globe annually to visit Goa known for beautiful beaches, easy going culture, great cuisine (especially seafood), nightlife, waterfalls, water sports, and trekking. Tourists are always seen visiting north beach destination like Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna while Palolem and Agonda are popular down south.
Following is a List of 20 Best Facts about Goa
Like any other state, Goa too is defined by the national constitution of 1950 and as such Governor is the head of the state, appointed by the president of India. The governor’s term is for five years. The Goa governor has a special role to play as besides governing Goa, he/she also administers other union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The governor is assisted by the Council of Ministers, the leader of which is the state chief minister. The CM leads the elected Legislative Assembly which is the Vidhan Sabha. Presently, Goa is being led by the Bharatiya Janata Patry (BJP) with Dr Pramod Sawant being the new CM after the recent demise of Manohar Parrikar. Sawant happens to be the 13th CM of Goa since 1963. Goa got its first CM in Dayanand Bandodkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, who was succeeded by his daughter Shashikala Kakodkar. She happened to be Goa’s only woman chief minister.
Goa is a bit unique as compared to other states as there is a uniform civil code that operates in the state and has replaced the personal law which takes into account the customs of each religious community. Here the civil code considers a common set of rules governing the citizens of Goa and hence makes it uniform in nature. This code covers aspects such as Personal status of a person; Rights related to acquisition and administration of property and also marriage, divorce and adoption of the child.
Goan culture is also very distinct as there is a big influence of the outgoing Portuguese colony that ruled Goa for almost 450 years. It is not surprising therefore that Goa is dubbed as the “Rome of the East” more so because of the geographical similarities it bears with Rome. Even a few of the locations in and around Panjim are akin to some of the European destinations and share a visible similarity to how it is back in Portugal. Goa is by far the most westernized state of Indian Territory and those who have made this state their abode have adopted the western culture. But Goans who have their roots firmly set here have preserved their rich cultural heritage and this comprises of folk songs, dances, music, visual arts, and folk tales.
Agriculture in Goa is a vital economic activity but not to the point that it can sustain itself. Being a coastal state the land close to the sea is affected by salinity and hence deemed not good for cultivation and even the interiors are less productive. Therefore Goa depends on neighboring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka for daily farm produce. Milk, poultry, and vegetables are imported into Goa from these states. However, there are government initiatives to boost the productivity of some of the staple products as rice and fish define Goan identity.
Paddy becomes the main crop as far as Goan agriculture is concerned and there is ragi, maize, jawar, bajra and pulses which are grown in other pockets. Cash crops like coconut, cashew-nut, areca nut, mango, jackfruit, banana, pineapple are also found growing in abundance. However, cashew remains an important crop in Goa as local drink Feni is made from it.
Goa’s history dates back to prehistoric times, though after liberation from the Portuguese colony in 1961, the present day Goa is more of a modern and westernized state. The Portuguese, who invaded Goa in 1510, conquered the Bijapur Sultanate and thereafter continued to rule the state. Before the Portuguese invaded Goa, the Kadambas ruled Goa for more than 400 years. On 16 October 1345 King Suriya Deva was assassinated by Muslim invaders, who then took charge until being annexed by the Portuguese. In 1350 AD, Goa was ruled by the Bahmani Sultanate but 20 years later, the Vijayanagar Empire, a resurgent Hindu empire headquartered in modern day Hampi, reconquered the area.
So for ages, Goa was being ruled by many empires and regimes which played a big role in shaping its culture and heritage. What remains now in modern Goa is the legacy of the Portuguese where churches dating back to the 17th century are still a popular attraction for tourists. Goa is also known for many of its temples and hence is culturally and historically very vibrant. Various Forts of Goa are a testimony to the various regimes that ruled this state across several centuries.
Goa has a rich history of rulers of various dynasty spanning close to 1000 years at least. The fact that various rulers ruled this land left an imprint of their reign in the form of landmarks and monuments. The monuments are a testament to Goa’s history and signify many aspects pertaining to religion and also bear administrative significance. There are places of worship, forts, temples, which all contribute to being well-known monuments of Goa.
Following is a brief list of these monuments:
- Chapora Fort
- Tiracol Fort
- Rivona Caves
- Basilica of Bom
- Jesus Church
- Pandava’s drum
- Jama Masjid
- The Secretariat
- Reis Magos Fort
- Viceroy’s Arch
- Vintage Car Museum
- Mormugao Fort
- Se cathedral
Goa has many interesting ways of transport. Though Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) is a state-owned enterprise that plies buses across major towns, connecting Panjim, Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Ponda. The KTC shuttle service is quite popular as it is a non-stop venture. There are private bus operators who ferry people to smaller destinations and villages from major towns. What’s very unique is that motorbikes also ply as two-wheeler taxis and are locally called Pilots. No other state has such a mode of transport. If you are a solo traveler, pilots could become handy to travel shorter distances. Also ferry boats transport dozens of people from one bank to another in places that are separated by waterways. Panjim, Betim, Ribandar, Chorao, Divar are some of the locations that have ferry service in north Goa.
Things to do
As a tourist destination, Goa provides a series of ‘things-to-do’ options irrespective of whether you are a solo traveler or touring with your partner or family. Goa has always been an ideal destination for honeymooners and couples. Till date, this tiny state hasn’t lost its charm as there is a wide array of activities to pick and choose from for the sole purpose of recreation and relaxation.
Here’s a look at top-10 THINGS TO DO:
- Water Sports Activities (See Latest price List)
- Dudhsagar Falls Jeep Safari
- Catamaran Boat Cruise
- Scuba Diving at Grand Island
- Nightclubs (Best Night Clubs in North Goa)
- Yacht Trip
- Dinner Cruise in Panjim
- Overnight Houseboat Cruises (Mandovi & Chapora)
- Scuba Diving
- Parasailing at Baga Beach
- HOHO Bus tour
- Rejuvenation in Yoga Retreats
There’s everything Goa can offer depending on what you need to see and enjoy. Nature lovers can just concentrate on moving up north for a trek to Tambdi Surla or head to Valpoi where white water rafting awaits you at the Mhadei river base. Down south, the magnificent Dudhsagar waterfall is set to charm you and mesmerize you with its towering fall as you enjoy trekking to this spot or head to the forests of Netravali. Jungle safari on jeeps is also a popular attraction in these parts. So there is so much to explore for everyone. Goa is also abuzz with a myriad of water sports activity which comes cheap as compared to other global destinations. Be it scuba diving, fishing or snorkeling you name it Goa has it. Also, beach activities like parasailing are also becoming a craze among tourists. Goa Tourism’s HoHo Bus initiative takes you on an affordable and enjoyable Goa Darshan tour which covers north and south alike.
People who love lazing on the beaches and bathing in the sun while sipping beer on the shacks can also look forward to some after night parties which are popular in Baga and Anjuna area where a visit to the Flea market is also on the agenda. And to top it, all grand river cruises which ply on the River Mandovi can set you up for a perfect sunset view for you and your beloved ones while you feast on the best of Goan cuisine aboard the cruise or at various land restaurants that are waiting for your arrival to serve the best food available in Goa.
Goa has a long list of popular places that one can visit on tour. From its spectacular beaches to temples and churches, Goa can give you numerous options to visit.
Popular places are
- Panjim City
- Dona Paula
- Calangute Beach
- Baga Beach
- Basilica of Bom Jesus
- Aguada Fort
- Vagator Beach
- Colva Beach
- Palolem Beach
- Se Cathedral
- Spice Plantations
Annually, Goa attracts hordes of tourists, both domestic and foreigners. Those who visit Goa from abroad are mostly from Europe. This group generally arrives during winter just after the monsoon ends and are primarily the first to arrive as far as the foreigners are concerned. The Indian tourists are the ones who travel here during the summer and monsoon seasons. Tourism is said to be the backbone of Goa’s economy and contributes towards a major chunk of the economy. Bom Jesus Basilica, Fort Aguada, a wax museum on Indian culture and a heritage museum are some of the major attractions in Goa. Even the Churches and temples of Goa are prime attractions.
Goa is home to a diversity of forests as the Western Ghats harbor various species of plants, animals and birds. Goa is actually a mix of mangrove trees that crowd the muddy river banks while open scrub jungles and sub-tropical hill forests also line the hilly terrains. While there is a plethora of different species among wildlife, Indian giant squirrels, Mongoose, Slender Loris and sloth bears are found in Goan forests. Over 400 species of birds have made Goa their home.
Goa is a culturally diverse state but people who live here exhibit communal harmony and enjoy various religious festivals showing solidarity. For Christians, Christmas is obviously the most sought-after festival of the year and there are various feasts that are celebrated from time to time. Eid is a big celebration for the Muslim community after the 40-day fasting period of Ramadan while Hindus have a series of major festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, Diwali and Gudi Padwa. These festivities are celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in Goa.
Goa has a rich food culture as there is a confluence of various communities with some being of Portuguese dessent and others being from the Hindu clan. Overall, this mix does contribute greatly towards a popular list of Goan delicacies that are popular among localities and visitors. But one preparation that is liked and adored by all Goans is the Xitti Kodi aka the Goan fish curry rice (a staple diet of Goans).
Some popular Goan delicacies:
- Chicken Xacuti
- Pork Vindaloo
- Crab Xec Xec
- Shark Ambot Tik
- Feijoada – Red Beans With Pork
- Chicken Cafreal
- Crab Xacuti
- Fish Recheado
- Goan Khatkhate
Goa is the ‘beach capital’ of India and its sun-kissed and golden/white sand beaches are a top attraction for tourists. Travelers who visit Goa take to the beaches to relax, swim and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Also the beach shacks can serve good food to suit your culinary needs while a number of water activities at the beach are waiting for you to enjoy the thrills and spills they offer. Some beaches have good markets where you can shop to buy souvenirs and collectables. Both North and South Goa Beaches share different taste.
Top beaches of Goa
- North Goa – Calangute, Candolim, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim, Arambol, Ashwem
- Down South – Colva, Palolem, Agonda, Mobor, Arossim, Cola
Goa is a great destination for nature lovers. Its topography and landscape offer much scope for shutterbugs and naturalists to explore the nooks and corners of Goa. This beach destination is blessed with many locations that has its own natural beauty. The Goan waterfalls at Dudhsagar, Harvalem and Tambi Surla are the major attraction. So are the Churches of Old Goa that has the Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Bom Jesus as the central attraction. Then there are Forts at Aguad, Reis Magos and Chapora that have a natural view of the vast Arabian Sea and the beaches in north and south are a natural attraction in itself.
Read: Top 10 Waterfalls in Goa
The Tiatr which is a type of musical theatre is very popular in Goa. It is over a century old art form of Goa which includes a stage performance of song and drama in Konkani language. It has been derived from the Portuguese word Teatro, which essentially means Theatre.
Naval Aviation Museum
The Naval Aviation Museum in Goa is one of its kind museum in entire Asia. This museum exhibits the decommissioned aircraft that portray the evolution of Naval Arms over a decade. This place has some of the most prized collection of vintage and serving aircraft, their engines, armaments and much more for an aviation enthusiast to be happy about.
• Artifacts Display
• Cockpit Cafe
• Souvenir Shop
• Viraat Hall
• Vikrant Hall
• Mini Theatre Aviaflix
The Feni is the official drink (alcoholic) of Goa extracted from the locally grown cashew plantation. Goa in its tourism promotion always mentions Feni as its official drink and is one of 3Fs Goa is known for. Besides, Football and Fish, Goa is renowned for its Feni. This drink is also extracted from Coconut and is known as Coconut Feni. The cashew feni (Kaju Feni) is available at most leading bar and restaurants and goes well with a good fish thali.
The headphone party
It is a world famous headphone party, organised weekly at Neptune Point near Palolem beach. Then how do you keep the party going and the people dancing all night long when there’s a sound ban after 10 pm? The solution is headphones as wireless headsets permit people who want to party to do so and those who don’t want will not be disturbed. Here there are several hundred party goers rocking the night away, while around the corner folks aren’t even aware anything is going on.
Goa is a small state facing the Arabian Sea on the western coastline and its sandy beaches, lively nightlife and world heritage architectural spots pull in over 2 million international and domestic tourists annually. So, Goa is definitely a tourist’s paradise and as such, there is so much to explore. What’s even more interesting is that there is so much on offer that despite being small in size, Goa continues to amaze. Therefore, explore Goa and get to know some very interesting facts about this state that is not all about the sun, sea, and sand but much beyond it.