Goa a state in India's West region, is a former Portuguese colony with rich history. It is 3,700 square km in size with a population of approximately 1.4 million. Goa has a unique mix of native and Portuguese cultures and architecture that attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year (including about 400,000 foreign tourists). Panaji, Goa's state capital is also known as Panjim, Ponnje or Pangim. It is one of the most charming cities in India. It is visibly different from the rest of India, owing to Portuguese rule which isolated it from the rest of India for 451 years.
Goa is a hub of tourism in India. From the 1960s, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors - first the hippies and returning expat Goans, then the charter tourists visiting (starting with the Germans in 1987), pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to settle in Goa as their home, visitors coming here for medical treatment, and a growing number of those who attend seminars and conferences in Goa. It is also world famous for its beaches, its ancient temples and churches, and its Goan carnival.
There are a number of museums. There's the Goa State Museum and then there's Architect Gerard da Cunha's relatively-new architectural museum called Houses of Goa. The Xavier Centre of Historical Research, at Porvorim, has its Gallery on Christian Art, named the Xavier Xandev Museum. the archaeological museum and portrait gallery is at Old Goa, the Christian Art Museum at the same location (a little further away at the Santa Monica Convent annexe), and the Pilar Seminary Museum. Big Foot at Loutolim (aka Ancestral Goa) is an attempt to illustrate and recreate Goa's traditional past. There's even a vintage-cars collection of sorts - Ashvek Vintage World "dedicated to restore and preserve motoring and motorcycling gems of historical interest in Goa".
Goa has one airport at Dabolim in Vasco. Some airlines fly directly to Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai. Many domestic airlines have daily flights to and from Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kozhikode (Calicut). Domestic Airlines flying into Goa include Kingfisher airlines, spicejet, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Indigo, GoAir, Paramount Airways and MDLR Airways. Air India has international flights to Kuwait and UAE twice a week. Air Arabia has discount flights to Sharjah, UAE Qatar airlines has flights to Doha, and has convenient connections to Western Europe, Africa and USA.
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