Goa is the smallest Indian state lying in the western part of the country and borders the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Panaji is its capital city. The state was declared as an autonomous territory of the Union of India in 1987. It is India's hot favorite holiday destination. Tourists worldwide visit the place to relax and enjoy the unique experience of the top-class beaches and the ancient monuments related to different religions. It is one of the cleanest states in the country and its economy is based majorly on tourism industry. The markets here offer the finest quality of dry fruits and liquors at a very reasonable rate. The state is one of the biggest wholesale markets for dry-fruits in the country.
Geography, climate, and vegetation
The state is situated in the western part and majority of its area comes under Konkan region.it ranks 28th in the country with regards to area and is divided into 2 districts. Vasco Da Gama is the largest city in the region. It has a coastline of about 100 km and most of it is open for regular tourism throughout the year. The region is a house for around 138 islands among which 8 are marine, 90 are riverine, and 40 are estuarine. The major rivers are Zuari, Sal, Mandovi, Chapora, and Terekhol. Mormugao harbor in the state is one of the best natural creations in Southern Asia.
The region has a tropical monsoon climate which is a mixture of hot and humid environment. The three basic seasons here are summer, monsoon, and winter. Summer season falls between March to mid-June and generates an average temperature of about 35 degree Celsius. Monsoons are during mid-June to September and are of moderate type. Winters are during the months of December to February and are not very cold. Average temperature during the season is around 20 degree Celsius.
The area of Western Ghats is a major site of biodiversity in the world. The state vegetation consists of more than 1500 species of plants and trees. It has a forest cover of around 1400 Km which is about 56% of the total area. Asan is the state tree. Most of the forests are of deciduous type and have trees like teak, sal, cashew, and mango. Rice is the prime food crop. You will find a rich plantation of coconut trees throughout the region.
Goa ranks 25th in the country with regard to population and have an average density of 390 persons per sq km. The current sex ratio is 968 females per 1000 males. The state is one of the richest and well-educated in the country and has a literacy rate of more than 87%. More than 65% population follow Hinduism while 26% belong to Christianity. A few people also follow Islam. The main language of the area is Konkani while the other spoken languages are Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, and Urdu.
The prime beaches in northern part of the territory are Anjuna, Candolim, Baga, Morjim, Dona Paula, Calangute, Bambolim, Vagator, Miramar, Chapora, Sinquerim, and Arambol. The eminent sites in the Southern part are Benaulim, Palolem, Bogmalo, Mobor, Colva, Varca, Mojorda, Cavelossim. Dona Paula appears in many Indian movies and the administrative building of National Institute of Oceanography is situated here. Baga is the hotspot for water-sport lovers. Calangute is the largest beach in the northern area. Candolim is a beautiful creation of nature and the famous Aguada Fort is located nearby. Colva is one of the most visited sites in the state and is famous for the splendid carpet of white sand on the shore. Palolem is one of the cleanest sea-shores and is highly preferred by foreign tourists.
Basilica of Bom Jesus in the old Goa is one of the oldest churches in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1605 and holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, a leading Roman Catholic Missionary and one of the founding-fathers of the Society of Jesus. The interiors contain excellent paintings an architecture depicting his life. Near to the church is Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina. The site is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. The monument was built in 1619 and is the biggest church in the country as well as one of the largest in the Asian Continent.
The Church of Our Lady of Springs was built in 1502 and is located near Anjadip Islands. The Church of St Anne in Santana was built in 1695 and is a beautiful example of baroque style of architecture. The Church of St Francis of Assisi in the old part of the state was constructed in 1661. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim was erected in 1540. St Michael's Church in Anjuma is another ancient site dating back to 1613. Church of St Cajetao in the old part of the state is another important tourist attraction.
Other major sites
Some of the best temples in and around the state are Bhagavati (Permen), Brahma (Valpoi), Mahadev Temple (Sanguem), Maha Ganapati Mandir (Bardez), Manguesh Mandir (Priol Ponda), Ramnath Temple (Ponda), and Shree Saptakoteshwar Temple (Narve-Bicholim). Jama Masjid of Sanguem and Safa Masjid of Ponda are worth watching. Arvalem caves of Arvalem are quite appreciated by tourists. The site is also famous for waterfalls. Dudhsagar waterfalls of Colem exhibit a dazzling splendor of nature. Ancestral Goa, Big Foot in Loutulim displays the culture and tradition of the state.
Wildlife lovers will certainly appreciate the sites of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahadeyi Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary, and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary.
Goa is one of the most celebrated tourist spots in India and is extremely famous for its new-year bashes. Though the flow of tourists is considerable throughout the year, winter is the best time to visit. The region is renowned for sea-food and top-class hospitality. The hotel industry here is one of the best in the country. So, get set to explore the area and pull together loads of magnificent memories.
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