Goa pronunciation is India's smallest state in terms of area and the fourth smallest in terms of population. Located on the west coast of India in the region known as the Konkan, 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.
Panaji (also referred to as Panjim) is the state's capital. Vasco da Gama (sometimes shorted to Vasco) is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the influence of Portuguese culture. Portuguese merchants first landed in Goa in the early 16th century, and annexed it soon after. The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years (one of the longest held colonial possessions in the world), until it was taken over by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists each year. Goa is also known for its temples and world heritage architecture including the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, which makes it one of the biggest Christian pilgrimage sites in Asia. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Panaji is the headquarters of the north Goa district and Margao of the south district. Each district is governed by a district collector, an administrator appointed by the Indian government.
The districts are further divided into eleven talukas – Talukas of North Goa are Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Satari and Tiswadi, the talukas of South Goa are Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcete and Sanguem. Headquarters of the respective talukas are Mapusa, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Valpoi, Panjim, Chaudi, Vasco, Quepem, Margao and Sanguem.
In the Parliament of India, Goa has two seats in the Lok Sabha, one representing each district, and one seat in the Rajya Sabha.