FROM AROUND GOA
Goa is a state located in the South western region of India; 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. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Goa is one of India’s richest states with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Panaji is the state’s capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, a biodiversity hotspot.
Goa features a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon rains arrive by early June and provide a much needed respite from the heat. Most of Goa’s annual rainfall is received through the monsoons which last till late September.
Goa has a short winter season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by nights of around 21 °C (70 °F) and days of around 28 °C (82 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler.
The Goa, Daman and Diu Official Language Act, 1987 makes Konkani in the Devanagari script the sole official language of Goa, but provides that Marathi may also be used “for all or any of the official purposes”. Portuguese was the sole official language during Portuguese colonial rule. It is now, however, mostly spoken by only the elderly Portuguese-educated populations and is no longer an official language. The Government also has a policy of replying in Marathi to correspondence received in Marathi. Whilst there have been demands for according Konkani in the Roman script official status in the state, there is widespread support for keeping Konkani as the sole official language of Goa.
Konkani is spoken as a native language by about 61% of the people in the state but almost all Goans can speak and understand Konkani. Other linguistic minorities in the state as per the 2001 census are speakers of Marathi (19%), Kannada (7%), Hindi (5%), and Urdu (4%).
The tableau of Goa showcases religious harmony by focusing on the Deepastambha, the Cross, Ghode Modni followed by a chariot. Western royal attire of kings and regional dances being performed depict the unique blend of different religions and cultures of the State. The festival of music and dance, Shigmo Mel or the Holi and Spring celebrations, signify unity in diversity. Prominent local festivals are Chavoth, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Shigmo, Samvatsar Padvo, Dasara etc. The Goan Carnival and new year celebration is known to attract a large number of tourists.