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Goa the paradise island

Smallest state in India

Goa is the smallest state in India located in the southwest on the coast of the Arabian Sea. It is the richest state in India with a GDP over twice that of the country as a whole. Panaji is the state's capital but Vasco de Gama is the largest city. The historic state, especially the city of Margao, still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first settle there 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.

Goa is renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna due to its location on the Western Gate range which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.

Goa was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population.

Goa has many rivers and streams that dictate lifestyle and agriculture. The main rivers of Goa are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Sal. The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbours in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goam with their tributaries draining 69% of its geographic area. These rivers are some of the busiest rivers in India. Goa has more than forty estuaries, eight marine and almost one hundred riverine islands. Goa also has more than three hundred ancient tanks, man made resevoirs, built during the rule of the Kadamba dynasty and over a hundred medicinal springs.

Tourism in Goa is generally focused on the coastal areas with two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. The winter tourist season is composed mainly of Europeans and others from abroad who journey to Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. The summer season is traditionaly for tourists from across India who come to spend the holidays along the coast.

One of the main historic sites in Goa is the Bom Jesus Basilica which holds the remains of St Francis Xavier, who is regarded as the patron saint of Goa.

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