GOA, India, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- India hosts a summit of BRICS nations on Oct. 15-16 in the western state of Goa. Here is a brief introduction to the state.
Lying in Western Coast of India and 594 km away from Mumbai city, Goa covers an area of 3,702 square kilometers and comprises two districts: North Goa and South Goa.
Panaji is the headquarters of North Goa and the capital of Goa, while Vasco da Gama of the south Goa is the largest city.
Though it is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population, with 1.459 million residents by 2011, Goa has emerged as one of the most developed States with sound investment environment and infrastructure, and richest in India, with GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country.
The tiny emerald land, which was liberated from over 450 years of Portuguese rule in 1961, attracts more than 2.5 million tourists every year, about half a million of them from overseas, for its pristine beaches and swaying palm groves, places of worship and world heritage architecture. The churches and convents of Goa have been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The influence of the Portuguese culture also presents here a different environment from elsewhere in India.
Different communities here have lived together peacefully for generations. According to the 2011 census, 66 percent of its population were Hindu, 26.5 percent were Christian, and 8.3 percent were Muslim.
The state also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats-range, a biodiversity hot spot.