The State: Goa
Goa is a state located in the western region of India; 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 western coast. It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Goa is one of India's richest states 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.
Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists 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.
In ancient literature, Goa was known by many names, such as Gomanta, Gomanchala, Gopakapattam, Gopakapuri, Govapuri, Govem, and Gomantak. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa as Goparashtra or Govarashtra, which means "a nation of cowherds". Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana. In the 3rd century BC, Goa was known as Aparantha and is mentioned by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. In the 13th century, the Greeks referred to Goa as Nelkinda. Other historical names for Goa are Sindapur, Sandabur, and Mahassapatam.