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People and Culture of Goa

Goa Carnival

Indulge in the Goan culture, a unique blend of traditional norms, values, lifestyle...where vision captures the imagination...where knowledge is shared to give experience to the diverse society !!


Background

Goa, the 25th state of India, is known for a unique culture inherited from dynasties such as the Portuguese, French, Dutch and the Israelis. The influence of all these kingdoms can be clearly seen on the lifestyle, architecture, food and all the social aspects of the state. Basically a Hindu state, Goa was ruled by the Mauryan empire in the 3rd century B.C. The region flourished under the rule of the Bhojas, Chalukya, Silhara, Kadamba and the Hoysalas from around 500 A.D. to 1342 A.D. and was taken over by the Vijaynagar empire in the late 1300s. By the 14th century, Goa acquired the status of the epicentre of spices, indigo and cotton trade, and the best trading centre of horses too. The state also witnessed the Muslim empire for a short span of time in the 1500s, but as Alfonso de Albuquerque forayed Goa to capture the spice trade in 1503, he conquered the Muslims, and Goa became a Portuguese colony in 1510.


A slight recession of cultural values and norms were seen in 1540, when Christianity was imposed forcefully on the people and the Portuguese made Churches demolishing the ancient temples. The Mahalaxmi Temple, built in 1818 in Panaji, is known to be the only temple built during the Portuguese empire. The Portuguese left an ever-lasting impression on every aspect of Goan life during the 450 years of their rule.


Diversity

Bordered by the Sahyadri ranges and vast rivers, Goa aquired a unique and separate identity in terms of culture and traditions. According to recent surveys, Goa is still a Hindu dominated state as it comprises of around 65% Hindus, 30% Christian and the rest 5% includes Muslims and other religions. Even then Goa enjoys religious harmony. There are several places such as Damodar temple at Sanguem, the Church of Our Lady of Miracles in Mapusa and the Shantadurga temple at Fatorpa, where both Hindus and Christians go together. There are various occasions and festivals (Shigmotsava or Holi, Bon Carnival, Food Festival etc.) that are celebrated by members of both the communities with equal zeal and excitment.


Explore the distinct culture of Goa that is rich in folk songs, lively musical instruments, traditional dances, peppy music, seasoned cuisines and colorful festivals. You can easily observe the traditional lifestyle and age old art forms of tribes of Goa in the isolated villages near the beaches.


Goa is a paradise for food lovers as well. One can satisfy his/her taste buds with mouth-watering sea food items along with the popular delicacies in Chinese, Italian, Mughlai and Indian cuisine.


Goa offers a lot to explore. The mantra of unity in diversity in Goan culture is the unique element that attracts tourists from the world around.



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