Goa is the smallest state in the country and predominantly a Christian state due to its hoary past. Churches built during the Portuguese time exist in close proximity with many Goa temples, also built at the same time. The temples in Goa carry a peculiar architectural style—most of the temples have Islamic domes, while structures of these Goa temples resemble churches on the whole. Most famous temples Goa include the Mahalaxmi Temple at the center of Panaji city, dedicated to the Goddess Mahalaxmi, the presiding deity of Goa. The Mahalsa Temple is also one of the famous temples in Goa dedicated to the Goddess Mahalsa an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The Mangueshi Temple about 21 kilometers from Panaji, is also one among the popular temples in Goa. Among the ancient of the Goa temples, the Naguesh temple dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is a very famous temples Goa. The Ramnath Temple, 22 kilometers from Panaji is another famous Goa Temples. The Saptakoteshwar Temple and Sri Devaki Krishna Temple are also among the famous temples in Goa that attract many devotees. Shri Shantadurga temple dedicated to the Goddess of peace Shri Shantadurga is another famous temples Goa for a very strange pagoda like tower. Shri Bhagavati at Pernem contains two life-like statues of Elephants in black stone and a very huge statue of Goddess Bagavati Ashtabhuja inside the temple that attracts loads of devotees, especially during Dussehra season.
Goa is considered as the India's richest state and also ranked as the ‘Best Placed State’ by the Eleventh Finance Commission for infrastructure; and ranked top for the ‘Best Quality of Life in India’ by the National Commission on Population. Goa is extremely popular in India and abroad for its pristine beaches and resorts, churches and lush green hills, boisterous fun and frolic, hip swaying parties and festivals, exotic beverages and super-fresh seafood.
Snugly positioned between the Western Ghats, the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra and Karnataka coastlines to the east, west, north and south respectively, this small but lively state covers 3500 square kilometers with a population of approximately 1,500,000. Tourism is a major attraction in the state which is famed for lovely beaches and gigantic churches. The main tourist season is during the winter and summer and the state carries the distinction of having more than two million tourists during the year 2004.
Apart from the beaches in Goa, the The Bom Jesus Cathedral or Bom Basilica, Fort Aguada and the New Wax Museum on Indian History, Culture & Heritage are other major tourist destinations. The Bom Basilica is a declared World Heritage Site and holds the mortal remains of St.Xavier Francis in mummified form, a very popular exhibit in Goa. There are also many forts in Goa, that fascinate the visitors like: Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama.