In the north, the state of Maharashtra borders Goa; in the south and east, the state of Karnataka. The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea in the west forms a magnificent coastline, for which Goa is justly famous. Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital, located on the banks of the Mandovi river and Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are other major towns. The vast green expanse of the Sahyadri mountain range ensures that Goa has an abundance of water.
Mandovi, Terekhol (Tiracol), Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main rivers, that weave their way throughout the state and form inland waterways. The rivers and the sea abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters, most popular with locals and visitors.
Since the arrival of the hippies in the sixties, Goa has been a major destination on the itinerary of international and domestic tourists. The tourist season in Goa begins in late September and carries on through early March. The weather in these months is usually dry and pleasantly cool. Then it gets fairly hot, around May and by end of June, Goa receives the full blast of the Indian monsoon, with sudden downpours and tropical thunderstorms. However, it is also during the monsoon that Goa is probably at its most beautiful.
Located at Dabolim, near Vasco, are Goa's International and National Airports. Intra-state and inter-state bus networks also play an important role, in getting locals and visitors alike, in and around Goa. Popularly known as a tourist's paradise, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul that goes deep into unique history and rich culture. And the most magnificent scenic beauty that India has to offer.
On 19th December, 1961, Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonization and it became a Union Territory. On 30th May, 1987, Goa was conferred Statehood and it became the 25th State of the Indian Republic. A meeting point of races, religions and cultures of the East and the West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle, quite different from the rest of India. In this fact lies its charm.
All the communities have mutual respect for one another and this secular outlook has given Goa, a long and unbroken tradition of religious harmony. The warm and tolerant nature of the Goans allows them to celebrate and enjoy the festivals of various religions, such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and Id, all with equal enthusiasm. Just before the austerities of Lent, the people of Goa celebrate Carnival, with a grand parade in Panaji (an international tourist attraction) and festivities across the state.
All celebrations are celebrated with Speciality Goan Food, which is a blend of the different influences that Goans had to endure through the centuries. The staple food is fish and rice, both among the Hindus and the Catholics. Besides natural beauty, fabulous beaches and sunshine, travelers to Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people. After all, more than anywhere else on planet Earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.