Goa is a smallest state of India in terms of area, but also the most popular tourist destination attracting more than 2 million people every year.
Goa lies on the west coast of India, looking out onto the Arabian Sea, just under 600km (372 miles) south of Mumbai and bordered by the states of Maharashtra in the north and Karnataka to the south and east.
Goa has the picturesque Western Ghats, with its amazing range of flora and fauna, on one side.
Goa is divided up into two administrative districts - North Goa and South Goa - with the major towns in each being Panaji (formerly Panjim, the state capital) and Margao (formerly Madgaon) respectively. Beyond this simple subdivision the state is further divided into 11 talukas (districts): Pernem, Bicholim, Satari, Bardez, Tiswadi and Ponda in north Goa, and Mormugao, Salcete, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona in the south.
Compared with other Indian states, Goa is tiny – a strip of land 100km (62 miles) long and only 50km (30 miles) wide.
Most of the coastal area is flat, but as you travel inland the country rises gradually to the increasingly rugged slopes of the Sahyadri mountain range which hems Goa in to the east, separating it from the high, dry plateau of Karnataka. Flowing out of this watershed, several rivers water the fertile lowlands and five wide estuaries are the major features of Goa’s coastline. The most important of these, the Zuari and Mandovi rivers, cuts across the centre of the state, meeting to form a wide bay which effectively cuts the coast in two.
History of Goa India
Known under many different names, Goa has a rather chequered history stretching into the far distant past. Long before the arrival of the Portuguese, the control over Goa’s valuable natural harbours was contested by Hindu and Muslim princes.
The Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and so Goa became a Portuguese colony, unlike the rest of the sub-continent, which formed part of the British Raj. Goa remained a Portuguese enclave until 1961.
Goa’s first Dravidian people mixed with settlers from the north, firstly from the Indus Valley, then with the Aryan invaders who began to arrive in India around 1500BC. From around the 3rd century BC, Goa came under the control of a number of would-be empire builders as part of the region then known as the Konkan.
By the 12th century it had become a distinct realm ruled by the Hindu Kadamba dynasty, with its capital, Govalpur, on the banks of the Zuari River where the ruins of Goa Velha now stand.
Its natural harbours also attracted traders from the Arab world, but very few reminders of this era survive, as later waves of invaders ruthlessly destroyed the palaces and temples of the land they conquered.
Name of the state: Goa (pronounced Go-a)
Capital city: Panaji (Panjim) - 593km from Mumbai
Area: 3,702sq km
Location: Situated along the west coast of the
Indian peninsula, the state shares its borders
with Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the south and east Latitude: 28.38 N
Longitude: 72.12 E
Altitude: 1,022m above sea level
Main rivers: Mandovi, Tiracol, Chapora, Zuari, Sal,Talpona and Galjibaga
Country code of India: 0091 or +91
STD code of Goa: The main STD code is 0832 for most locations of Goa, including Panaji.
The remaining codes: Canacona: 08346
Languages: Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English
Currency of Goa: Indian Rupees
Climate in Goa
Goa has a maritime equable climate, neither too hot nor too cold, and remains humid and sunny for most part of the year. It experiences heavy rains between the months of June and September.
Temperature: 36o C (max) and 21o C (min). Humidity levels touch almost 97 percent during monsoons and fall to about 58 percent in the winter months.
Rainfall: 320cm approximately, between June and September.
Best season to visit: November to March (Winter season)
How to reach
BY AIR : Goa’s only airport, Dabolim International Airport, is about 30km from Panaji, the capital city.
BY RAIL : Two main railway stations in Margao and Vasco da Gama are connected to most major cities in India including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc.
BY ROAD : Goa is connected by motorable roads to all the major cities in India via National Highways NH4A, NH17 and NH17A.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.