Vasco da Gama /ˌvæskoʊ də ˈɡæmə/ (Vasku [waːskuː]), often shortened to Vasco, is a city in the state of Goa on the west coast of India. It is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. It is also the headquarters of the Mormugao taluka. The town lies on the western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, at the mouth of the Zuari River, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Panjim, Goa's capital, and about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Dabolim Airport.
The city was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when Goa was annexed by India. The Indian Navy's Goa Naval Area (base) is located at Vasco from which it controls Dabolim Airport and, in effect, the entire tourism-dependent state of Goa. The historic 'Document of surrender' was signed by the Portuguese in front of Vasco's municipal council building.
Transport and industry
Vasco is the only city in Goa which is well connected by road, rail, sea and air; by road by the National Highway 17A, by rail by the Vasco da Gama railway station, by the sea through the Mormugao Harbour and by air through Dabolim Airport, thus serving as the main hub for most tourists visiting the state of Goa. Vasco is heavily reliant on the port for most of its economic activity.
Manganese ore mined in interior regions is brought to Mormugao by barges navigating the rivers Mandovi and Zuari, and then either collected in the Mormugao Port to be loaded onto bulk carrier ships or directly loaded onto the ships using trans-shippers. Ore which is collected on the port is handled by state-of-the-art machinery called MOHP (Mechanical Ore-Handling Plant). This includes massive bucket wheel loaders and miles of conveyor belts. The port has berthing facilities for large cruise liners as well as a floating dry dock. There are shipping and freight forwarding agents as well as offices of major mining companies based in the city.
Tourism and culture
Bogmalo Beach is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Vasco. This beach is quite risky as it has underwater currents. Hollant (Issorcim) and Baina are two smaller beaches around Vasco. Apart from the nearby beaches, the city of Vasco is bereft of any major tourist attractions, the salient monument being the 400-year old Igreja de Santo André (St. Andrew's Church), located at the entrance of the city. However the Naval Aviation Museum near the airport is a popular tourist spot and is the only such museum in India. It profiles the evolution and history of Indian naval aviation through aircraft exhibits and rare photographs.
Like the rest of Goa, football is the most popular sport in Vasco. Two teams from the town have participated in the I-League - Vasco Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club. Salgaocar SC were Champions of the 1998-99 season of the erstwhile NFL. Tilak Maidan is a 15,000 capacity football ground based in the city. The stadium sporting a magnificent turf hosted I-league matches during April 2013, as the home ground for the four teams from Goa in the league, when Fatorda Stadium was closed down for renovation.
Although cricket is not as popular as football, a Vasco resident Shadab Jakati plays for Goa in the Ranji Trophy first-class competition and has also been selected to play for the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise.
The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) located at Headland Sada is a research and development institution administered by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is responsible for administering the Indian Antarctic Program and maintains the Indian government's Antarctic research station, Maitri. In addition to laboratories for marine sample processing/analyses, it hosts a special low-temperature ice core sample storage facility.