It’s the silken sands, crystalline shores, and cocohut culture that attracts over two millions visitors each year to Goa.
Located in West India in the region known as the Konkan, Goa is India’s smallest state yet it’s India’s richest state with a GDP per capita of two and a half times that of the country as a whole. This tiny state, along the Konkan Coast, covers 3,702 sq km (1,429 sq miles) and consists of just two districts, North and South Goa. Goa is a former Portuguese province; it remained a colony of Portugal until it was annexed by India in 1961. Panaji is the state’s capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city.
While these details are quite impressive, it’s not for these reasons that a large number of international and domestic tourists are attracted to Goa each year; rather it’s the silken sands, crystalline shores, cocohut culture and susegad – a Portuguese-derived term that translates loosely to ‘laid-backness’ – that attracts over two millions visitors each year to Goa.
While most people are attracted to Goa for its pristine beaches this tiny state has more to offer the laid-back traveller. It has lush paddy fields, coconut plantations and villages dotted with pretty white-washed churches and grand mansions. Its other attractions include the Hindu temples around Ponda, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, and the magnificent cathedrals of Old Goa.
Goa’s distinct culture is a legacy of its colonial past. In 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque established a small but powerful Portuguese enclave here. Though Goa became part of the Indian Union in 1961, evidence of the 400-odd years of Portuguese rule is still apparent in the people’s dress, language, religion and cuisine, and in their music, a fusion of the plaintive fado with the lilting rhythms of local Konkani folk songs. It’s this culture and taste for a good life that gets under your skin and makes you want to linger for as long as you can. It’s extremely easy to enjoy Goa and extremely hard to leave.
Click on one of the sections on the right for more information about Goa or choose an attraction from the map below.