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Goa


The origin of Goa or Gomantak as it is also known, is lost in the mists of time. In the later Vedic period, when the Hindu epic Mahabharat was written, Goa has been referred to as Gomantak, meaning a fertile land. The most famous legend associated with Goa, is that of the mythical sage Parashuram (the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who several thousand years ago created the entire stretch of Konkan coast by ordering the seas to recede. The Sea God gave up the lands on the the banks of the two main rivers of Goa viz. Mandovi and Zuari (then called Gomati and Asghanasini) for the settlement of the Aryans accompanying Parashurama.

Another legend, less well known, states that the coastal area of Konkan enchanted Lord Krishna, who was charmed by the beautiful ladies bathing in the area. The ladies in turn, were so taken up by the melodious music coming from his flute, that they kept dancing forgetting their daily chores. Lord Krishna, then named the land Govapuri after the cows (gov) belonging to the locals. The first wave of Brahmins to settle in Goa, were called Saraswats because of their origins from the banks of the River Saraswati, an ancient river that existed in Vedic times. The subsequent drying up of the river caused large scale migration of Brahmins to all corners of India. A group of ninety-six families, known today as Gaud Saraswats, settled along the Konkan coast around 1000 BC. The Saraswat Brahmins worked in partnership with the local indigenous people, the Kunbi tribals who still exist today. Around the year 740 AD, the Brahmins established their first Matha (religious centre of learning) at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim) .

Goa was later ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur (in Maharashtra) around two thousand years ago. It eventually passed to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 580 to 750. Over the next few centuries Goa was successively ruled by the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyans of Kalyani, the rulers of Deccan India.

In 1312, Goa came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate. However, the kingdom's grip on the region was weak, and by 1370 they were forced to surrender it to Harihara I of Vijayanagar. The Vijayanagar monarchs held on to the territory for the next hundred years until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After the dynasty crumbled, the area came under the hands of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who made Velha Goa their auxiliary capital.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European to set foot in India through a sea route, landing in Kozhikode in Kerala, followed by an arrival in what is now known as Old Goa. The Portuguese arrived with the intention of setting up a colony and seizing complete control of the spice trade from other European powers. Later, in 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur kings on behalf of a local sovereign, Timayya, leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). The Portuguese intended it to be a colony and a naval base, distinct from the fortified enclaves established elsewhere along India's coasts.

An interesting development of the 18th century in Goa is the Conspiracy Of The Pintos in 1787 which was inspired by the French Revolution. This was the first ethnic rebellion against Portuguese rule in Goa. After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to accede to India's request to relinquish their control of its exclave. After arbitration by the United Nations General Assembly in the 1950s, the Indian army moved in, uniting the colony with India. Most nations later recognised the annexation, and Portugal recognised it after its Carnation Revolution in 1974. In 1987, the Union Territory was split, and Goa was elevated as India's twenty-fifth state.


Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.