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Introduction

Goa is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West 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. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole.[3] 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. The Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961.

Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.


History

Goa's history stretches back to 8000-6000 BC. Early Paleolithic and Mesolithic rock art engravings have been found on the bank of river Kushavati at Usgalimal.Petroglyphs,cones,stone-axe,choppers dating back 10,000 years back have been found in many places in Goa like Kazur,Mauxim and the Mandovi-Zuari basin.Palaeolithic cave existence is seen at Dabolim, Adkon, Shigao, Fatorpa, Arli, Maulinguinim, Diwar, Sanguem, Pilerne, Aquem-Margaon etc. Difficulty in carbon dating the laterite rock compounds poses problems in determination of exact time period. These discoveries have shed light on Goa's prehistory.


Transport

Air :

Goa's sole airport, the Dabolim Airport, is both a military and civilian airport catering to domestic and international airlines that stop en route to other Indian destinations. The airport also handles a large number of chartered flights. Goa receives international flights from Qatar, Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East and from Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Dabolim Airport is serviced by the following carriers – Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, besides charter flights from the UK, Netherlands, Russia, Germany operated by Thomas Cook, Condor, Arkefly, Monarch Airlines etc.

Road :

Goa's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas. Government-run buses, maintained by the Kadamba Transport Corporation, links both major routes (like the Panjim–Margao route) and some remote parts of the state. In large towns such as Panjim and Margao, intra-city buses ply. However, public transport in Goa is less developed, and residents depend heavily on their own transport, usually motorised two-wheelers. Goa has two National Highways passing through it. NH-17 runs along India's west coast and links Goa to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore to the south. NH-4A running across the state connects the capital Panjim to Belgaum in east, linking Goa to cities in the Deccan. The NH-17A connects NH-17 to Mormugao Harbour from Cortalim, and the new NH-17B, is a four lane highway connecting Mormugao Harbour to NH-17 at another location, Verna, via Dabolim airport. Goa has a total of 224 km (139 mi) of National highway, 232 km (144 mi) of state highway and 815 km of district highway. Hired forms of transport include unmetered taxis, and, in urban areas, auto rickshaws. A unique form of transport in Goa is the Motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated. River crossings in Goa are serviced by flat-bottomed ferry boats, operated by the river navigation departments.

Rail:

Goa has two rail lines—one run by the South Western Railway and the other by the Konkan Railway. The line run by the South Western Railway was built during the colonial era linking the port town of Vasco da Gama, Goa with Hubli, Karnataka via Margao. The Konkan Railway line, which was built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast connecting major cities on the western coast.

Sea:

The Mormugao harbour near the city of Vasco handles mineral ore, petroleum, coal and international containers. Much of the shipments consist of minerals and ores from Goa's hinterland. Panjim, which is situated on the banks of the Mandovi, also has a minor port, which used to handle passenger steamers between Goa and Mumbai till the late 1980s. There was also a short-lived catamaran service linking Mumbai and Panaji operated by Damania Shipping in the 1990s.


Dance and music

Goan Hindus are very fond of Natak, Bhajan and Kirtan. Many famous Indian Classical singers hail from Goa, including Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishori Amonkar, Kesarbai Kerkar, Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Prabhakar Karekar. Some traditional Goan art forms are dekhnni, fugdi, corridinho, Mando and dulpod.


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