Vasco da Gama, Goa

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Vasco da Gama
वास्को द गामा
City
Vasco Harbour
Vasco Harbour
Vasco da Gama is located in Goa
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama is located in India
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Location of Vasco da Gama in Goa
Coordinates: 15°23′53″N 73°48′40″E / 15.39806°N 73.81111°E / 15.39806; 73.81111Coordinates: 15°23′53″N 73°48′40″E / 15.39806°N 73.81111°E / 15.39806; 73.81111
Country (1961-present)  India
State Goa
District South Goa
Sub-district Mormugao
Elevation 43 m (141 ft)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 403802
Area code(s) 91-832
Vehicle registration GA-06
Website www.mmcvasco.com

Vasco da Gama /ˌvæsk də ˈɡæmə/, often shortened to Vasco, is the largest city in the state of Goa on the west coast of India. It is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. It is also the headquarters of the Mormugão taluka. The city lies on the western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, at the mouth of the Zuari River, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Panaji, Goa's capital, and about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Dabolim Airport.

The city was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when Goa ceased to be a Portuguese territory. The 1888 constructed Mormugao port remains a busy shipping route in Asia. Even today it is one of the major ports of independent India and around one-third of India's ore exports are said to leave from here. The ship-building area of Goa Shipyard Limited that builds Navy and Coast Guard vessels was also built here in 1957 (during the Portuguese-era). Initially built around the city's harbor as the barge-repair yard Estaleiros Navais de Goa, the area has now expanded to include more related activities. The Indian Navy also has a conspicuous presence in Mormugao, with its vast campus, and its contested control over the Dabolim Airport enclave.

History[edit]

This city in the former Portuguese territory of Goa is named after the famous Portuguese explorer and navigator Vasco da Gama (who also held title of Governor of Portuguese India). This city also serves as the headquarters of the Mormugao sub-district. It was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when the territory was lost to India.

Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India (1497–1499) was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and, in this way, the West and the Orient. He reached Goa on 11 September 1524, but died at Cochin three months later. His remains were eventually returned to Portugal and interred at St Jeronimos monastery.[1]

Transport and industry[edit]

Vasco is connected by road by the National Highway 17A, by rail by the Vasco da Gama railway station, by the sea through the Mormugao Harbour and by air through Dabolim Airport, thus serving as the main hub for most tourists visiting the state of Goa.

Vasco is heavily reliant on the port for most of its economic activity. Manganese ore mined in interior regions is brought to Mormugao by barges navigating the rivers Mandovi and Zuari, and then either collected in the Mormugao Port to be loaded onto bulk carrier ships or directly loaded onto the ships using trans-shippers. Ore which is collected on the port is handled by machinery called MOHP (Mechanical Ore-Handling Plant). This includes massive bucket wheel loaders and miles of conveyor belts. The port has berthing facilities for large cruise liners as well as a floating dry dock. There are shipping and freight forwarding agents as well as offices of major mining companies based in the city.

The Mormugao Port Trust which operates the port is the largest employer in the Vasco region and has a complete mini-township in Headland Sada which includes schools, residential complexes and amenities for employees of the Port.

Tourism and culture[edit]

Bogmalo Beach is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Vasco. This beach is quite risky as it has underwater currents. Hollant (Issorcim) and Baina are two smaller beaches around Vasco.

Apart from the nearby beaches, the city of Vasco is bereft of any major tourist attractions, the salient monument being the 400-year-old Igreja de Santo André (St. Andrew's Church), located at the entrance of the city. However the Naval Aviation Museum near the airport is a popular tourist spot and is the only such museum in India. It profiles the evolution and history of Indian naval aviation through aircraft exhibits and rare photographs.

One of Goa's premier musical groups, Diamond Orchestra, hails from Vasco. The town is also home to several English bands from Goa, notably Lynx and Kollectiv Soul.

Vasco is known for the annual Shri Damodar Bhajani Saptah[2] fair held in Shravan month of Hindu lunar calendar preceding the festival of Nag panchami.

Vasco da Gama hosted the relics of Saint John Bosco, albeit temporarily, on 21 August 2011, at the St. Andrew's Church, while the relics were on their world tour.

Like all towns and cities in Goa, Vasco celebrates the Shigmo/ xigmo and Carnival annually with a street parade where floats from all over Goa participate.

Sports[edit]

Like the rest of Goa, football is the most popular sport in Vasco. Two teams from the town have participated in the I-League - Vasco Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club. Salgaocar SC were Champions of the 1998-99 season[3] of the erstwhile NFL. Tilak Maidan is a 15,000 capacity football ground based in the city. The stadium sporting a magnificent turf hosted I-league matches during April 2013, as the home ground for the four teams from Goa in the league, when Fatorda Stadium was closed down for renovation.[4]

Although cricket is not as popular as football, a Vasco resident Shadab Jakati[5] plays for Goa in the Ranji Trophy first-class competition and has also been selected to play for the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise. Railway Stadium is a cricket ground in Vasco da Gama. The only recorded match held on the ground was a first-class match between Goa played Kerala in the 1986/87 Ranji Trophy,[6] which Kerala won by 6 wickets.[7]

Politics[edit]

The city of Vasco falls under the boundaries of the South Goa (Lok Sabha constituency) previously Mormugao Lok Sabha constituency in the Lok Sabha. The current Member of Parliament is Narendra Keshav Sawaikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party.[8][9]

Vasco elects its representative to the Goa Legislative Assembly, the current MLA is Carlos Almeida of the BJP.

Research[edit]

The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR)[10] located at Headland Sada is a research and development institution administered by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is responsible for administering the Indian Antarctic Program and maintains the Indian government's Antarctic research station, Maitri. In addition to laboratories for marine sample processing/analyses, it hosts a special low-temperature ice core sample storage facility.

Education[edit]

The Navy Children School, established in 1987 under the aegis of Naval Education Society, is located in Vasco-da-Gama. It is one of eight similar institutions in India.

Mormugao Educational Society's College of Arts and Commerce, locally known as MES College, is an institution in Zuarinagar, Vasco-da-Gama which provides training in commerce and the arts.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]