Goa is currently the Republic of India's smallest state by area post the 1974/75 UN treaty and presently has the fourth smallest population. Famously known as Rome of the East it was the capital of historical Portuguese eastern empire (1510 to 1910) followed by an Overseas province status of the Portuguese Republic (1910 to 1974/75).
Located in the South Western part of the Indian subcontinent as numerous islands and provinces in the region generally known as the Konkan strip, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its entire western coast. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole.It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.A native from Goa is called and identified as a Goan and depending on ancestry and descent can be full Portuguese citizens or can be a Goan with full Indian citizenship.
Historical Panjim Panaji is the state's capital, Old Goa called Velha Goa is the former capital and Vasco da Gama is the largest city with a historical port, presently occupied with migrants from all over the Republic of India. The historic city of Margão still exhibits the 450 years cultural influence of Portugal, as in the early 16th century the Portuguese sailed as explorers, merchants and conquered it soon thereafter as its extended eastern empire. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by the Republic of India in 1961.Large numbers of international and domestic tourists (Indian) visit Goa each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa by the Arabian sea, with comparatively lesser tourist activity inland. Goans are on top of the list for hospitality and so in 2010, there were more than two million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 1.2 million of whom were from abroad.As of 2013 Goa was the destination of choice for Indian and foreign tourists, particularly Britons, with limited means who wanted to party. The state was hopeful that changes could be made which would attract a more upscale demographic.Over 450 years of Portuguese governance and the influence of the Portuguese culture presents to visitors of Goa a different environment than what is to be found elsewhere in the Republic of India. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourism destinations.
Historic sites and neighbourhoods
National Highway 17 at Goa.Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and churches and convents of Old Goa. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually the Blessed Joseph Vaz). The relics are taken down for veneration and for public viewing, as per the prerogative of the Church in Goa, not every ten or twelve years as popularly thought and propagated. The last exposition was held in 2014.Goa also has the Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Sancoale, Pilar monastery which holds novenas of Venerable Padre Agnelo Gustavo de Souza from 10 to 20 November November yearly. There is also a claimed Marian Apparition at the Church of Saints Simon and Jude at Batim Ganxim, near Pilar, where a number of Goans and non resident Goans visit. There is also the statue of the bleeding Jesus on the Crucifix at the Santa Monica Convent in Velha Goa. There are a number of churches (Igorzo), like the Baroque styled Nixkollounk Gorb-Sombhov Saibinnich Igorz (Church of the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception) in Panjim, the Gothic styled Mater Dei (Dêv Matechi Igorz/ Mother of God) church in Saligao and each church having its own style and heritage, besides Kopelam/ Irmidi (Chapels). The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture. There are many forts in Goa such as Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Reis Magos, Nanus, Mormugao, Fort Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama.
In many parts of Goa, mansions constructed in the Goan-Portuguese style architecture still stand, though in some villages, most of them are in a dilapidated condition. Fontainhas in Panaji has been declared a cultural quarter, showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Shanta Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple, although after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style under Indian Union occupation.
Museums and science centre
Goa also has a few museums, the two important ones being Goa State Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. The aviation museum is one among three of its kind in the India, the other two being in Delhi and Bengaluru. Also, a place not well known to tourists is the Goa Science Centre, which is located in Miramar, Panjim.The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is also located in Goa at Dona Paula.