Goa - Gods own Land.
Goa is India's smallest state in terms of area and the fourth smallest in terms of population. Located on the west coast of India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.
Panaji (Panjim)the state's capital, Vasco da Gama (Vasco) the largest
city, while the historic city of Margao still exhibits the influence
of 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 (one of the longest held colonial possessions in
the world), until it was taken over by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists each year. Goa is also known for its temples and world heritage architecture including the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, which makes it one of the biggest Christian pilgrimage sites in Asia. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Origin of name
The name Goa came to European languages from 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 Purana. 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 "Aparant".
History of Goa
Goa's known history stretches back to the 3rd century BC, when it formed
part of the Mauryan Empire. It was later ruled by the Satavahanas of
Kolhapur, around two thousand years ago and passed on 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 Chalukyas
of Kalyani, rulers of Deccan India. The Kadambas, a local Hindu dynasty
based at Chandrapura, (present day Chandor - Salcete), laid an indelible
mark on the course of Goa's pre-colonial history and culture.
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 the Vijayanagara empire. The Vijayanagara monarchs held on to the territory until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After that dynasty crumbled, the area fell to 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 Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala, followed by an arrival in what is now known as Old Goa. Goa, then a term referring to the City of Goa on the southern bank of the River Mandovi, was the largest trading centre on India's western coast. The Portuguese arrived with the intention of setting up a colony and seizing control of the spice trade from other European powers after traditional land routes to India had been closed by the Ottoman Turks. Later, in 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur kings with the help of a local ally, 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. 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. Goa soon became Portugal's most important possession in India, and was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon 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.