Swaying palms, white sands, and sparkling waters are the three essential elements that attract 2 million visitors annually to Goa’s balmy shores are plentiful in this tiny, glorious slice of India hugging the country’s western coastline and bounded by the Arabian Sea. Goa is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Goa is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best-placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators. Panaji is the state’s capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961. Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.