Goa - A Famous Tourists Destination of India
With over a million tourists visiting every year at
Goa destination, this tiny state has its share of modern five star
hotels and its famous beaches. Yet, Goa's charm is still untouched
by the fast pace of modern life. Once you arrive, your watches
seem to slow down, and time virtually stops.
According to legend, this magical land Goa was created by
Lord Parashuram (Lord Vishnu, the Protector, in his sixth incarnation).
So beautiful did he make it that the Gods chose it as their
retreat in times of
stress. Thus, Lord Shiva descended from the heavens for a sojourn
in his enchanted land not once but twice. And each time, unable
to bear her solitude,
his divine consort Parvati followed. Here they met, made their
peace and ascended once again to Kailash, their heavenly abode.
Myth apart, Goa's
history goes back to the third century BC when it was part of the Mauryan
empire. The Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Silharas and Kadambas ruled during the
first millennium till, in the 14th century, it became part of the glorious
Vijaynagar empire. During this period Goa's natural harbours played a very
important role in expanding trade with the Middle East. The Bahamani Sultans of
Gulbarga and the Adil Shahis of Bijapur held sway in the 15th
Meanwhile, in their bid to control the eastern spice routes, as
well as to spread Christianity, the Portuguese reached India in 1498. Being
unable to get a foothold in Kerala
where they had first landed, they arrived in Goa in 1510, found the natural
harbours ideal for their purpose, and stayed on. Gradually Goa became the seat
of the Portuguese empire in the East and remained under Portuguese rule till
1961 when a political movement, launched in the wake of India's independence in
1947, led to its liberation by India.
Over a thousand years of
Hindu-Muslim rule, followed by almost four centuries under the Portuguese, has
left a hybrid of Eastern and Western cultures that makes Goa a unique
experience. The large community has managed to neatly balance its Konkani roots
with the dominant Christian influence. People speak English, Marathi, and
Konkani, Goa's official language.
Great defenders of their ecology, Goa
have, in recent years, campaigned vigorously to protect their
land from the onslaught of industrial and commercial enterprises that cause
strain their natural resources. These sentiments are rooted
in religion and in the sound precepts taught by the 'shastras', the holy
books. Thus, eating fish,
which was abundant, was not frowned upon even for the vegetarian
Brahmins; doing so during the monsoons, the spawning season, was discouraged
so that the
species would be preserved.
Goa is large-hearted, uninterfering,
tolerant, and great at building relationships. And their fun-loving,
laid-back attitude is best reflected in the Mexican tradition
of siesta that hits the
seaside State at lunch-time. This extends even to shopkeepers
and market places and it is difficult to buy anything between
one and four in the afternoon.
Except of course - a good lunch!