Goa is, needless to say, one of India’s most well known states, globally recognised for its breath-taking beaches. Though it is India’s smallest state it has played a major role in the history of the country and is shaped by the various cultures who have called it home over centuries.
Evidence of a hunter-gatherer population in the region dates to 20,000 BCE as evidenced by the discovery of rock engravings from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era. Throughout the state’s history, Goa was known by innumerable amount of names. Ancient Sanskrit and Hindu texts such as Harivansa referred to Goa as Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam. In the 3rd century BCE, when the Maurya Empire and Buddhist emperor Ashoka of Magadha ruled Goa, Greek astronomer and mathematician, Ptolemy, referred to the state as Aparantha. Later, Dravidian and Indo-Aryan populations diffused into that of the aboriginal natives, forming the base of the culture of Goa. The state was then ruled by the Delhi Sultanate and the Portuguese and British Empires before being formed into the Goa that we know today.
Apart from being a favourite beach vacation destination, Goa is also known for its artistry in indigenous arts and crafts. From Goan folk music forms like mando influencing classical singers such as Kishori Amonkar, traditional dances like dekhnni and corridinho, to theatre influencing budding Konkani cinema, Goa has a strong tradition in the performing arts.
Crochet and embroidery are Goa’s renowned crafts whose traditional techniques have been passed down from generation to the next in almost every household. The distinct craftsmanship stems from the diffusion of European crafts into the indigenous crafts of Goa and are prominent in items such as garments and bedding. Corlim is the production centre for fibre craft, another prominent textile craft that is used to colourfully adorn purses and wall hangings. The fibre used is banana or sisal fibre and the traditions of the craft are also Indo-Portuguese. The craftsmanship of Goa’s handicrafts is so intricate that, much like its beaches, they have received critical acclaim by international connoisseurs.