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State of India - Goa
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer Max: 33. Min: 26. Winter Max: 31 Min: 20 | Best Season: October - April |Languages Spoken: Konkani, Marathi | Capital: Panjim

Goa, the land where the flow of heady feni never ceases and revelry pays no heed to day or night. The allure of Goa is that it remains quite distinct from the rest of India and is small enough to be grasped and explored in a way that other Indian states are not. Blessed with rivers, backwaters and a long coastline, Goa is also one of the best places for water sport activities like sailing, water skiing, water scooter, river cruises, para sailing, wind surfing. When the maddening crowds finally begin to take a toll and you, and you wish to do nothing, but simply party with tourists from all around the world, you come to Goa, the oasis of India.

Geography of Goa:
A small state located on the Konkan coastal belt of West India, Goa is a land of infinite beaches thanks to its impressive coastline that extends to 105 kilometers. It is bordered by Maharashtra on the north, Karnataka on the south and east. On the west of the state is the Arabian Sea. The Zuari and Mandovi are the two important rivers of Goa which merge into the Arabian Sea. Goa is located at a height of 1022 meters above sea level. The total land area of the state of Goa is spread across 3702 sq kilometers.

History of Goa:
Goa had an endless list of rulers, making its history quite absorbing and interesting. The main dynasties which played a significant role in the history of Goa were the Mauryas, Vijayanagar Empire and Adil Shah. Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah created beautiful structures in Goa and encouraged art and craft in Goa. 14th century onwards, Goa became an important trading center on the west coat, trade horses being the major import from the Middle East countries. Goa being open to trade, the Dutch, English, French and Portuguese aimed at capturing Goa. Finally in 1510 under the leadership of Alfonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese conquered Goa. The Portuguese rule witnessed the conversion of people into Christianity. With the building of 300 churches, a number of Hindu temples were destroyed. At this time, Goa became one of the most import cities in the east and followed by the Independence of India in the year 1947. However Goa still remained a Portuguese colony. Ultimately under the governance of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, 'Operation Vijay', was conducted and in the year 1961 Goa gained it's independence and became one of the Union Territories of India.

Tourist Places of Goa:
With countless Beaches, Churches, Forts, Temples, Wildlife, Museums, Sea Food & More, Goa has no doubt been nicknamed the "Pearl of the Orient". Owing to its diverse and rich history, Goa has a magnificent display of architecture whether it is Temples, Forts, Mosques, Churches, Cathedral. In Old Goa and Panaji (the capital of Goa) the influence of the erstwhile Portuguese rule is visible in its narrow cobbled streets, old houses and white washed churches. Whereas Ponda town located in the South Goa, has a huge complex of Hindu Temples worth visiting. Madgaon is an important business hub of South Goa. Goa is divided as North and South Goa, not only geographically, but also in terms of experience. North Goa is crowded with incredible nightlife, lively restaurants and popular beaches like Calangute, Baga and Candolom Beach. Where as South Goa is more peaceful with luxurious 5 star resort and pristine beaches like Bogmalo, Majorda, Colva, Benaulim, Agonda and Palolem. So make your pick!

Fairs and Festivals of Goa:
The Portuguese flavor is evident in the festivals of Goa as well. Though majority of the Hindu festivals are celebrated in Goa, the state also has some of its own local festivals. Shigmotsav or Shigmo festival is popular in the small villages of Goa and in towns like Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco-da-Gama and Margao. Kalas Utsav and Zatra of Shri Shantadurga are religious festivals celebrated in the temples of Pernem. Novidade is a festival related to harvest, where the farmers give their first offering to the church before harvesting their rice crop. Bonderam Festival is celebrated on the 4th Saturday of August every year at Divar Island. This carnival is accompanied by loud music, where each ward of the village sends a float to the parade and tries to out do each other. The major attraction of Goa remains the Goa Carnival that takes place in February-March. It is marked by songs, dances, fancy dress parades, tableaux and a good deal of wining, dining and revelry, all under the eyes of its lovable mascot King Momo.

Cuisine in Goa:
The Goa cuisine is a fusion of East meets West that makes it irresistible to tourists who flock to the state throughout the year. The staple dish of Goa is fish curry and rice. This is available almost everywhere in Goa, be it in cheap shacks lined up on beaches or in luxurious hotels. Seafood is another big draw and the typical Seafood Platter offered in Goa includes kingfish, pomfrets, sharks, tunas, mackerels, crabs, tiger prawns, lobsters, squids and mussels. Goa is also famous for its local brew Feni, distilled either from the cashew fruit or the coconut.

Shopping in Goa:
For travellers to Goa, the visit is not complete unless they take back a souvenir of their memorable sojourn in this magnificent paradise. Choices include brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, papier-mache, etc. Also famous is a pack of the famed cashew nuts. Two of the most famous market areas are Mapusa and Anjuna. The Friday Market at Mapusa is the most popular. Here stalls sell everything from curios and old coins to dried fish and spices.