Goa was part of the powerful Maurya empire and the influence of Buddhism when Ashoka, the grandson of emperor Chandragupta ruled much of India, was felt here too. Goa, known in the bygone days as Goman Chala, Gopakapattam, Gopakapuri, Govapuri, Gomantak, etc., abounds in a rich historical heritage. Early history of Goa is obscure. In the first century of the Christian era, Goa was a part of the Satavahana Empire, followed by the Kadamba, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed, the Chalukyas and the Silharas. The empire of the Yadavas by the end of the 14th century was displaced by the Khiljis of Delhi and thus Muslim rule came to Goa. After the discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco-da-Gama in 1498, many Portuguese expeditions came to India. In 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque with the help of the emperor of Vijayanagar attacked and captured Goa. With the arrival of the Jesuit priest Francis Xavier in 1542 proselytisation began in Goa. However, the Portuguese continued to rule over the territory except for an interlude during the later half of the 17th century when Shivaji conquered a few areas in and around Goa. Even after India's independence, Goa continued to be in the hands of the Portuguese. However, they could not fulfill the aspirations of the Goan people and ultimately on 19 December 1961, Goa was liberated and made a composite union territory with Daman and Diu. On 30 May 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and Daman and Diu was made a separate union territory.
Goa is situated on the western coast of The Indian Peninsula. On its north runs the Terekhol river, which separates Goa from Maharashtra and on the south lies North Canara district of Karnataka. On the east lie the Western Ghats and in the west the Arabian Sea. Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Ponda are the main towns of Goa. Mandovi and Zuari are main rivers. There are other rivers like Betul, Chapora. Eastern part of the state is hilly. Topographically, it can be divided into three distinct sub-regions, namely the coastal plains, comprising the talukas of Tiswadi, Bardez, Salcete and Mormugao which cover about 22 per cent of the total geographical area; the intermediate or transitional sub-mountainous region with undulating uplands, covering about 35 per cent of the area; and the interior hilly region ranging from 300 to 1,200 meter in height and covering 43 per cent of the remaining area.
Goa State is located along the Central West coast of India lying in between latitudes 15°48'N and 14°43'N. Panaji is the state capital.
The climate of Goa may be described as humid tropical to warm-humid tropical, subject to vast seasonal changes. Tropical heat, heavy and frequent rain and fierce cyclones are prevalent during summer and rainy seasons and the winter season presents warm, bright sun-shine accompanied by occasional cool breeze. Heavy rainfall from the South West monsoon is experienced from June to October. Almost 90% of the rainfall occurs in the months of June to August. The average monsoon rainfall is about 3000 mm while the maximum monsoon rainfall is about 5350 mm and the minimum monsoon rainfall is about 2128mm. A maximum annual rainfall upto 7000 mm has been observed in the eastern hilly region. The temperature varies from 9°C to 42°C, while the mean minimum and maximum remains between 20°C to 35°C.
Goa region is drained by nine independent rivers flowing generally from East (Western Ghats) to West (the Arabian Sea). An exception is the Sal river in south Goa which follows a north-east to south-west course due to the west coast fault. Terekhol, Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal, Talpona, Saleri, Canacona and Galgibagh are the major rivers of Goa. These main nine rivers and their 42 tributaries play a significant role in the lives of the people of the State. Of the nine rivers, the Mandovi and Zuari alone together drain 2553 sq km, which is about 70% of the total geographical area. The rivers in Goa are a major source of potable water. The surface water system is intimately linked up with the development since they provide irrigation facilities for agriculture, produce biotic and mineral resources, help in the barge-based transport of ore from the mining areas to the port and ferry people & goods to different parts of the state. Goa rivers are unique in that they are both tidal and rainfed. All the rivers are subjected to tidal influence to a great distance inwards from their mouth. In some cases, the ebb flows of the tides reach 40 km inland. The salinity factor in the river varies sharply between the monsoon and non-monsoon period and so does the quality of water in wells all along the banks, which tends to get increasingly saline as the summer months advance.
- Mines & Minerals
Agriculture is the occupation of 40% population. Rice is the main food crop. Pulses, ragi and other food crops are also grown. Main cash crops are coconut, cashew nut, areca nut, sugarcane and fruits like pineapple, mango and banana. Cashew is an important crop both for the mouth-watering eatables which people, specially children like to munch and for the exhilarating drink 'Feni' which is produced from cashew. Feni is a kind of gin or vodka and Goans are deservingly proud of this product, which is also exported in some quantity for it is relished by people who love it. Fish is the staple diet of the Goa people. A large quantity of fish is available in this state. Fisheries are paid special attention and its rivers and lakes are full of fishing activities while the sea is being explored by big trawlers and fishing boats for the produce of the sea. Teak of good quality is one of the products of the products of the forests of Goa which also produce bamboo, suitable for making pulp for paper and newsprint. Eucalyptus trees and oil are among the other forests product.
Industrial development is a new phenomenon started with its liberation. In a short span of time, the overall growth of industry has been commendable.
Mines & Minerals
Mineral products are ferro-manganese, bauxite and iron ore contributing substantially to the economy of the State through exports. Iron ore is the leading commodity in that area. The iron ore deposits are considerable in terms of their total tonnage. Goa had been exporting iron ore even before its merger with India and there are extensive deposits in the northern part of the state at Advalpal, Bicholim, Sanquelim, Arvalem, Velguem Pale and Sonal. Some of the important and productive mines are located in northern and eastern parts of Goa.
With the commissioning of dams like Selaulim and Anjunem and other minor irrigation projects, area under irrigation is rising steadily. Work on Tilari dam has also been taken up. Total irrigation potential created by these projects till now is 43,000 hectare.
Power is a major constraint to the development of Goa. It depends for power supply totally on the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. The demand for power in the state is on the increase and with the proposed overall development of the area; the demand is expected to increase sharply. All villages have been electrified leading to cent percent coverage.
Goa is linked with Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram through the Konkan Railway, which has introduced several fast trains on these lines, Vasco da Gama is connected with Bangalore and Belgaum on the South Central Railway, presently for goods traffic only.
Mumbai, Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Chennai, Agati and Bangalore are linked with Dabolim through regular Airlines services.
Mormugao is the major port in the State. Mormugao handles cargo vessels. Minor ports are located at Panaji, Tiracol, Chapora Betul and Talpona, out of which Panaji is the main operative port. One offshore berth at Panaji has been commissioned recently.
Goa's tourist potential is quite high and this is being exploited as much as possible with a string of good hotels which have come up to cater to the well-to-do tourists, Indian and foreign, as well as hotels built for the low budget tourists who are much larger in number. Goa is a perpetual attraction for pleasure and rest seekers of moderate means and they come here in large numbers, many of them foreigners who spend many more days sometimes weeks enjoying the beauty and peace of Goa. Important tourist centres are Colva, Calangute, Vagator, Baga, Harmal, Anjuna and Miramar beaches; Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral churches at Old Goa; Kavlem, Mardol, Mangueshi, Bandora temples; Aguada, Terekhol, Chapora and Cabo de Rama Forts; Dudhsagar and Harvalem Waterfalls and Mayem Lake Resort. The State has rich wildlife sanctuaries, viz., Bondla, Cotigao, Molem and Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao covering an area of 354 sq km.
- List of Major Medium Irrigation Projects in Goa
- List of Dams in Goa
- List of Barrages/Weirs in Goa
- List of Lift Stations in Goa
(Data Source: IndiaStat Website)