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Goa: History & Culture

 Parliament Building, Goa


An unspoilt Beach of Goa

The earliest documented history of Goa goes to Sumerian times of 2200BC, when it was referred as Gubio by the Sumerians. Around 1775BC, Phoenician started settlements in Goa. During the Vedic period (1000AD-500BC), when Mahabharatha was written, Goa was referred as Gomantak. By 200BC Emperor Ashoka annexed Goa to his Empire.

After Mauryas various dynasties took control of Goa. The Scytho-Parthians (2nd - 4th century AD), the Chalukyas of Badami (6th - 8th century AD), the Rastrakutas (8th - 10th century), the Kadambas and Yadavas of Devagiri (11th - 14th century), Vijayanagar Empire (14th and 15th century), the Bahmanis and Bijapur Sultans 15th -16th century) were in possession of Goa. During the reign of Chalukyas and Kadambas (937-1310AD) Chandrapur(Chandor) served as their capital.

In 1530 Alfonso De Albuquerque landed in Goa and took over Goa from Bijapur Sultan. By 1543 they have widened their control over Salcette, Marmagao and Bardez. By 16th century AD Goa reached its peak and was referred as the golden Goa. Goa reached its present size by 18th century with a series of annexations.

The Marathas almost overrun the Portuguese in the late 18th century. There was a brief occupation by British during the war with Napoleon in Europe. Other than that Goa continued to be under the rule of Portugal until 1961. In 1961 India liberated Goa through a military expedition. Goa remained a union territory for 26 years and became a state in 1985.


Altar of Bon Jesus Basilica, Goa

Goa's cultural heritage evolved from its history of Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rulers. Each one left behind distinctive marks on the land and the lives of the people.

The traditional crafts of Goa are pottery, terracotta, brass metal works, wooden lacquer ware, crochet and embroidery, bamboo craft, seashell craft and coconut mask carving.

Goan cuisine is a delicate art. Being a coastal state, seafood is the speciality of Goan cooking. It blends the Indian and western verities to serve delicacies on the table.

Temple, Goa

The Goans are a highly talented people. They evolved distinctively different forms of art, craft and music blending creatively the East with the West. There are a number of traditional dances performed at different occasions.

Dekni is a folkdance form performed by women. The dance is performed with a blend of Indian and western rhythms.

Dhangar Dance is performed during the Navaratri days. It is a vigorous session of worship and dance.

Fugdi & Dhalo is the most common folkdance form performed in Goa. The dance is also performed by women.

Morulem is a traditional folkdance form performed by the backward community during Shigmo festival.