Kon: गोंय gōyā

 ‘Land of the Cowherds’

From Skt: gō, ‘cow’, ‘cattle’

The Goa and Konkan region appears in the Mahabharata epic under a variety of names: Goparashtra, Gomantak or Govarashtra; and it was also commonly known as Gōwa/Gōva. The syllable is common to all these and suggests a ‘nation’ or ‘region’ of ‘cowherds’, perhaps indicating that it had been settled early on by pastoral tribes. 

Two other, less likely, derivations have been suggested: (1) Kon: goy(an), ‘(patch of) tall grass’ or (2) goemoat, ‘fertile or refreshing land’ – this is suggested by the Portuguese historian Diogo do Couto (1542-1616) but, unfortunately, without specifying the language or citing any evidence. 

Goa was a Portuguese colony from 1510, when Afonso de Albuquerque seized it from the Bijapur Sulatanate, to Independence in 1961. The Portuguese influence is noticeable in many aspects of Goan life: religion, language, food, and architecture. Just over one-quarter of the population is Christian and there are hundreds of churches across the state; the churches and convents in Old Goa even have UNESCO World Heritage status.

Goa is India’s richest but smallest state. It is nicknamed the ‘Land of Surf, Sea and Sun’, three reasons for its annual haul of two million tourists.

Its place names show four key influences: Konkani, a Western coast Indo-European language spoken in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka; Marathi, an Indo-European language spoken in Maharashtra, its northern neighbour; Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken in Karnataka which shares Goa’s southern and eastern borders; and Portuguese, the colonial language which has peppered the original local place names with its own pronunciation, spellings, and proper names.

Aguada (Goa)

Kon: अग्वाद agvād ‘Water Fort’  Castle, Goa. From Por: aguada, ‘(acquisition...

read more

Anjuna (Goa)

Kon: हणजुणें haṇajuṇēṁ ‘Merchant Guild’ - Town/Beach, Goa From Kan/Tel:...

read more

Bardez (Goa)

Kon: बार्देस  bārḍēs ‘Twelve Regions’ - Taluk/Sub-district, Goa From Hin/Mar:...

read more

Benaulim (Goa)

Kon: बेनौलिम benaulim ‘Forest Village’   Village/Beach, Goa From Kan:...

read more

Bicholim (Goa)

Kon: बिचोलिम bicholim ‘Bright Village’ [Dicholi]  Town, Goa From Skt:...

read more

Calangute (Goa)

Kon: कळंगुट kaḷaṅguṭ ‘Kali Temple’   Town, Goa From Kali and Kan: guḍi,...

read more

Canacona (Goa)

Kon: काणकोण kāṇkŏṇ ‘Forest Corner’ [Kadkona]  City/Taluk, Goa From Kan: kāḍu,...

read more

Candolim (Goa)

Kon: कांदोळी kāndōḷī ‘Dyke Village’   Town, Goa From Mar: kāṇḍōḷī,...

read more

Cuncolim (Goa)

Kon: कुंकळी kuṅkaḷī ‘Saffron Village’  [Punyabhumi]  City, Goa From Skt:...

read more

Curchorem (Goa)

Kon: कुडचडे  kuḍac(h)aḍē ‘Farmer’s Forest’ [Kudchade] -Town From Kan:...

read more

Loutolim (Goa)

Kon: लौतोलिम lautolim 'Sedge Grass Lake' - Village From Kon: lovo/loyo, 'sedge...

read more

Mapusa (Goa)

Kon: म्हापशें mhāpaśēna ‘Large Land Grant’  [Mahapasaita] - Town/Capital From...

read more

Moira (Goa)

Kon: मोइर mo'ir ‘Peacock (Village)’ - Village From Skt/Mar: mayūra, ‘peacock’....

read more

Mormugao (Goa)

Kon: मोरमुगाव mōramugāva ‘Peacock Village’ - City and Sub-district. From...

read more

Panaji (Goa)

Kon: पणजी paṇajī ‘Five Creeks’  [Nova Goa, Pahajani kali, Pangim, Panjim]...

read more

Pernem (Goa)

Kon: परनेम paranem ‘Foundation’ – Town and Sub-district From Mar: pēraṇēm,...

read more

Querim/Keri (Goa)

Kon: कुएरिम kuerim ‘Street’ (Keri) From Kan: kēri,  ‘street’, ‘lane’. Querim...

read more

Sancoale (Goa)

Kon: सांकौले saṅkaulē 'Shell Village' - Town From Mar: śaṅkha, ‘conch or other...

read more

Sanguem (Goa)

Kon: संगेम saṅgēma ‘Confluence’ [Sangampura/Sangam] - City From Mar/Skt:...

read more

Sanquelim (Goa)

Kon: संकुएलिम sankuelim ‘Conch Village’ [Sankhali] From Mar: śaṅkha, ‘conch...

read more

Siolim (Goa)

‘Shiva Village’ From S(h)iva or Skt: siṃha, 'lion'; and Kan: halli/valli →oli,...

read more

Taleigão (Goa)

Kon: तालेइगाओ tālē'igāō 'Tank Village' From Kon: taḷeñ, ‘small tank’, ‘lake’;...

read more

Tiracol (Goa)

Kon: तेरेखोल tērēkhōla ‘Steep Bank’ [Terekhol] From Mar: tīra, ‘bank’; and...

read more

Tiswadi (Goa)

Kon: तिसवाडी tisavāḍī ‘Thirty Settlements’ - Tehsil/Taluka/Sub-district From...

read more

Vagator (Goa)

Kon: वगाटर vagātar ‘Tiger Spring’ From Mar: vāgha, ‘tiger’ [Hin: bāgh]; and...

read more

Valpoi (Goa)

Kon: वाळपोई vāḷapōī ‘Brook Village’ From Mar: vhāḷa, ‘rivulet’, ‘brook’,...

read more