Ancient labyrinth 2000 BCE at Usgalimal

A tiny beauty spot on the face of India, Goa is true kaleidoscope of colours, customs, traditions, attires, cuisines, feasts, festivals, history and heritage.
Goa presents a breath taking celebration of life in all her vivid hues. Equally fascinating are her destination characteristics ranging from the emerald Sahayadris (Western ghats) in the east, the romance with history with the Terekhol fort crowning her northern borders, the blazing gold and silver sands bordering her exquisite 105 kms of coastline flanked by the Arabian sea and the valiant taluka of Canacona to the South.
The sun-kissed famed beaches, the quiet of the village life to the vibrance of the modern city life – Goa’s fascinating story – an experience in her diversity which breaths her very essence.
Goa truly is an exploration.
Styled as the ‘Sunaprant’ (golden land on the west coast), ‘Aparant’, ‘Goi’, ‘Gomant’, ‘Gomantak’, Goparashtra’, ‘Kalyangude’, ‘Govapuri’ and finally ‘Goa’ perhaps to rhyme with ‘Lisboa’ the Portuguese capital. Goa’s history goes back to the waters of Mhadei (Mandovi), Zuari (Aghanashini), Kushawati rivers where Goa’s pre-history flowered. The Sanguem and Sattari Talukas mirror Goa’s pre-historic antiquity.
The petro glyphs of Pansaimal, Kazur, Pirla, Mauxi showcase Goa’s stone age (megalithic) rock art. The first of these being on the banks of the virgin Kushawati, resting on a laterite rock bed. Goa’s oldest rock formations of the trodhjemite gneiss and schist of the Anmod and Palolem rocks.
Paleolithic cave existence is seen in Dabolim, Adkon, Shigao, Fatorpa, Arli, Issoram-Khollant, Maulinguinim, Diwar, Sanguem, Pilerne, Aquem – Margao, Chicalim etc. Difficulty in carbon dating the laterite rocks compounds the problems of a Goan historian.
The earliest communities living in Goa were the Kunbis to which the stock belong the other agriculturists the Gawdas and the Velips, the fisher folk the Kharwis or the Kols, the Mhars are the other tribes. These tribes with a very rich heritage of their folk songs, dances, music, agriculture set up the earliest village communities called the Gaunkaris. These were later addressed by the Portuguese as the ‘Communidades’. These Gaunkaris were the socio-economic democratic republican units and functioned self sufficiently. ‘Santer’, ‘Betal’ were the folk deities of Goa.
These communities were followed by the Dravidians and the Aryans. Dynastic history of Goa is replete with kings, queens, princes, palaces and the works begin with the 4th Century BC as follows :
MAURYAS (322 B.C.-185 B.C.), SATYAVAHANAS (50 B.C.-250 A.D.), CHUTTUS (250 A.D.-4th Cent A.D.), western KSHATRAPAS (150 A.D.), KURAS, MAHRATHIS, ISHVAKUS, GURJARA PRATIHARAS, ABHIRAS (3rd Cent. A.D.) TRIKUTAS OR TRAIKOOTAKAS (456-492 A.D.), KALACHURIS (416-6th cent. A.D.), NAGAS, BHOJAS (4th Cent. A.D.), KAIKEYAS, KONKAN AND KOLHAPUR SHILAHARAS (8th – 10th Cent A.D.) followed by the KADAMBAS (11th Cent-mid 14th Cent. A.D.).
The Kadamba period is designated as the ‘Golden age of Goa’. The 14th century Goa saw invasions of the Delhi Sultans and the Honavar Nawab. This century also saw Goa as a shuttle between two rivals – the Vijayanagara empire and the Bahamanis. The Bahamani yoke over Goa was followed by the Adilshahi rule in 1498. This was the Islamic polity. Many Hindus were converted to Islam during the Bahamani-Adilshahi times or since the Arab times of ancient Goa.

To be continued. 

Article By 

PRAJAL SAKHARDANDE, Asst. Professor in History,
History Dept., Dhempe College of Arts and Science,
Miramar, Panaji- Goa.
History -History Forum,
Heritage Cell, Utt Goenkara.
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