Goa is a tropical glen haven on the Konkan coast, along the Arabian Sea. Goa promises lots of Sun, sand and gaiety. This small state sandwiched between Maharashtra and Karnataka is quite distinct from the rest of India. The name ‘Goa’ is derived from the Konkani word 'Goyan', which means a patch of tall grass. This former Portuguese enclave has been a favourite with tourists.
Goa's history stretches back to the 3rd century BC when it formed a part of the Mauryan empire. Later ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur and then by the Chalukyas of Badami until the Vijayanagar Empire established itself for almost a century. Then came the Sultans of Gulbarga, around 1469 AD, from whom the rule passed on to Adil Shah of Bijapur. At the dawn of colonialism, Goa became the bone of contention between the Dutch, English, French and Portuguese. Ultimately, in 1510, the Portuguese conquered Goa. After ruling for about four centuries, in 1961, fourteen years after India's independence, the Portuguese left the subcontinent but left a lasting effect on the culture of the land.
With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of the Latin culture, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than any other part of the country. Majority of the populace is Christian and Catholic. Western influence is evident in the dress and food habits.
Portuguese style whitewashed churches, lush green paddy fields surrounding villages and hamlets, dense coconut palm groves, and crumbling forts guarding rocky capes makes up the Goan landscape. Markets are lively. Siesta is widely observed during the hot afternoons. With some of India's finest beaches, Goa is famous for its seafood, cashew and locally brewed feni (wine), for its song and dance and merriment, and above all for its peaceful and serene atmosphere.
Districts - North and South Goa. The North has the state capital Panjim and the former capital of Old Goa and a string of beaches running right up to the coast to Maharashtra. South Goa has a few beaches and a sprinkling of up market resorts. The main town of the region is Mapusa, which is the transport hub. Goa's Dabolim airport is also located here.
There is also a Catamaran service between Mumbai and Goa from October to May.