Goa is located in the Konkan Region, on the western coasts of India, flanked by the Arabian Sea. The state capital Panaji lies on the Mandovi River. Goa's largest city Vasco is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama. The state is renowned for its world heritage architecture, places of worship, beautiful beaches, and rich biodiversity. Owing to its increasing reputation as the ultimate party destination in India and Asia, Goa’s attractiveness has increased exponentially for domestic and foreign tourists alike.
The Mauryan and Portuguese rule of Goa has had a great influence on its identity. Goa was once a part of the Mauryan Empire ruled by the emperor Ashoka. Under his rule Buddhist monks laid the foundation of Buddhism here. In 1510, The Portuguese took over Goa after defeating the ruling Sultan of Bijapur. The 450 year Portuguese colonization left a major imprint on Goa’s architecture and its native culture, religion and traditions. The Indian Army annexed Goa to independent India in 1961.
Goa has a tropical monsoon climate, as it is located in the tropical zone near the Arabian Sea. Most days are hot and humid, with cooler night-time temperatures. May is the hottest month of year, with daytime temperatures touching 35 °C (95 °F). The monsoon lasts from early June till late September, resulting in cooler temperatures during this period. The most pleasant season is the winter time in Goa, between December and February.
The Goan people add immensely to the charm of the destination. They exhibit a relaxed, easy going and joyous lifestyle, as they treat life itself as an occasion to celebrate. Konkani is the official language of Goa, however most people are well versed in English, Marathi and Hindi as well.
Goa’s popularity is a result of its diversity, both natural and cultural. The coastal areas are tourist hotspots, the beaches in the North feature more tourist activity due to the wide variety of water sports, beach shacks, eateries, clubs and pubs lined along the sea while white sand beaches, serene atmosphere, greenery and a country surrounding highlight the attractiveness of the South.
Old Goa is a sightseer's paradise with magnificent Portuguese churches and historical places such as the Basilica of Bom Jesus and The Churches and Convents of Old Goa which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Annual music festivals are held during the winters and feature some of the world’s best DJ line-ups. The Goa Carnival is another annual festival of dance, music, fun and food.
Owing to the numerous licenses given out by the state government to promote tourism, a number of casinos also operate in Goa adding another pull for tourists. Goa was the first state in India to legalize gambling and only two other states have similar provision – Sikkim and Daman.