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Goa is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. It is located in region known as the Konkan and is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, by Arabian Sea to the west and by Karnataka to the east and south. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa as Goparashtra or Govarashtra, which means `a nation of cowherds’. The state of Goa was taken by Portuguese in 1510, thus beginning four centuries of its influence on this region. They came looking for spices and stayed to make Goa the center of their eastern empire. The territory is tucked away between the hills of western ghats and the Arabia Sea. It was liberated in 1961 from Portuguese government by then Prime Minister of India Pandit Nehru. Since its absorption into Indian Union, there have been many changes. But one can still see evidence of 400-odd years of Portuguese rule in peaceful towns with their Iberian-style villas, people’s dress, language, religion and cuisine and in their music. The state is divided into district North and South Goa. Today, Goa is one of India’s most popular holiday destinations, with its idyllic beaches, ancient temples, lush paddy fields, coconut plantations and villages with pretty white washed churches and grand mansions. Main tourist attractions are several Beaches, Immaculate Conception Church, Reis Magos Fort, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Arvalem Caves & Waterfalls, Aguada Fort, Mahalaxmi Temple.