A little geography
We are a tiny, but well formed, fragment of mother India. No more than 60 miles from north to south and 30 miles from east to west. To the east, we are bordered by the mountains of the Western Ghats, a natural barrier which has helped keep us unique and distinct from the vast interior of the subcontinent. To the west we are bordered by the Arabian Sea, and this meeting is marked by mile after mile of palm fringed golden beaches. Intersecting this are huge slow moving rivers: the Chapora, the Mandovi and the Zuari, all draining rainfall from the Western Ghats. The lands nearer the coast are gentle and green with paddy fields. Further east towards the Ghats, the land becomes wilder with rugged mountains and dense forestry.
A little history
Goa is a small and unique enclave in a large and diverse nation. Our uniqueness springs from factors of geography and history. Whereas much of India displays the relics of British colonial rule, Goa was a Portuguese colony for over 400 years. Following in the wake of Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese arrived in numbers in the early 16th century, drawn by the need for spices for the kitchens of Lisbon, and driven by a missionary zeal that needed unbelievers to convert, they remained among us until as recently as 1961. Gleaming white churches nestling among quiet coconut groves now bear witness to this unique fusion of the European and the Asian.