Vasco da Gama, Goa


Vasco da Gama (/ˌvæsk də ˈɡæmə/), 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 the headquarters of the Mormugão taluka (subdistrict). The city lies on the western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, at the mouth of the Zuari River, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Panaji, Goa's capital, 28 kilometres (17 mi) from Margao, the district headquarters and about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Dabolim Airport.

Vasco da Gama
A view of the city
A view of the city
Vasco da Gama is located in Goa
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Location of Vasco da Gama in Goa
Vasco da Gama is located in India
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama (India)
Coordinates: 15°23′53″N 73°48′40″E / 15.39806°N 73.81111°E / 15.39806; 73.81111Coordinates: 15°23′53″N 73°48′40″E / 15.39806°N 73.81111°E / 15.39806; 73.81111
DistrictSouth Goa
Named forVasco da Gama
43 m (141 ft)
 • Total100,000[1]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Area code(s)91-832
Vehicle registrationGA-06

The city was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when Goa ceased to be a Portuguese territory. The 1888-constructed Mormugao Port remains a busy shipping route in Asia. It is one of the major ports of independent India.[2] The ship-building area of Goa Shipyard Limited that builds Indian Navy and Coast Guard vessels was also built there in 1957 (during the Portuguese era). Initially built around the city's harbour as the barge-repair yard Estaleiros Navais de Goa, the area has now[when?] expanded to include more related activities.[citation needed] The Indian Navy also has a presence with its vast campuses and ports, which include the naval base INS Hansa.[3]


Vasco da Gama Municipal Market in 1958, with the Clock Tower on the left

This city, in the former Portuguese territory of Goa, is named after the famous Portuguese explorer and navigator Vasco da Gama, who held the title of Governor of Portuguese India. This city serves as the headquarters of the Mormugao sub-district. It was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when the territory was lost to India.[4][better source needed]

Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India (1497–1499) was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and, in this way, the West and the East. He reached Goa on 11 September 1524 but died at Kochi three months later. His remains were eventually returned to Portugal and interred at St Jeronimos monastery.[5][better source needed]

The city is sometimes referred to as Sambhaji Nagar. Sambhaji was the eldest son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. An attempt was made to change the city's name to Sambhaji Nagar, and this is reflected in a few government records. However, no official records have been found as to when the city was renamed. It is thus dismissed as a political move.[6][7][8]

Renovation of Clock TowerEdit

Clock Tower at Vasco da Gama, Goa

In 2015, after a campaign by the Goa Heritage Action Group and the History Lovers Group, the Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) decided to renovate the clock tower of the municipal market in the heart of the city. Built in 1938, the complex is an example of Art Deco style of architecture.[9][10] The renovation work was completed in 2017 with funding provided by the Rajaram and Tarabai Bandekar Charitable Trust, and the clock was brought in from Nashik.[11][12]


Vasco is connected by road by the National Highway 17A & National Highway 17B, by rail by the Vasco da Gama railway station,[13] by the sea through the Mormugao Port[14] 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 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.

The Mormugao Port Trust which operates the port is the largest employer in the Vasco region and has a complete mini-township in Headland Sada which includes schools, residential complexes and amenities for employees of the Port.[citation needed]

Tourism and cultureEdit

Beaches near Vasco da Gama (up) and Mormugão Municipal Council at Vasco da Gama, India (down).

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 one of three such museums in India. It profiles the evolution and history of Indian naval aviation through aircraft exhibits and rare photographs.

One of Goa's premier musical groups, Diamond Orchestra, which was established in 1976, hails from Vasco. The town is also home to several English bands from Goa, notably Lynx and Kollectiv Soul.

Vasco is known for the annual Shri Damodar Bhajani Saptah[15] fair held in Shravan month of Hindu lunar calendar preceding the festival of Nag panchami.

Vasco da Gama hosted the relics of Saint John Bosco, albeit temporarily, on 21 August 2011, at the St. Andrew's Church, while the relics were on their world tour.

Like all towns and cities in Goa, Vasco celebrates the Shigmo; and carnival annually with a street parade where floats from all over Goa participate.


As in the rest of Goa, football is the most popular sport in Vasco. Two teams from the town have participated in the I-LeagueVasco Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club. Salgaocar SC were Champions of the 1998–99 season[16] of the erstwhile NFL. Tilak Maidan is a 6,000-seater[17] football ground located in the city, hosts Indian Super League matches.[18] 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.[19]

Although cricket is not as popular as football, a Vasco resident Shadab Jakati[20] plays for Goa in the Ranji Trophy first-class competition and has also been selected to play for the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise. Railway Stadium is a cricket ground in Vasco da Gama. The only recorded match held on the ground was a first-class match between Goa and Kerala in the 1986/87 Ranji Trophy,[21] which Kerala won by 6 wickets.[22]


The city of Vasco falls under the boundaries of the South Goa (Lok Sabha constituency) previously Mormugao Lok Sabha constituency in the Lok Sabha. The current Member of Parliament is Francisco Sardinha of the Indian National Congress.[23]

The extended city of Vasco / Mormugao elects three representatives to the Goa Legislative Assembly:[24]


The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR)[25] 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. It is also the nodal agency for Indian scientific participation in the deep sea drilling research under the aegis of International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).


  • The Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani started its second campus BITS Pilani Goa Campus at Zuarinagar in Vasco da Gama. The campus offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in engineering and science.[26]
  • The Navy Children School, established in 1987 under the aegis of Naval Education Society, is located in Vasco-da-Gama. It is one of eight similar institutions in India.[27]
  • The city has two Kendriya Vidyalayas, established under the aegis of the Indian Navy. Both are located at Mangor Hill in the Varunapuri compound.[27]
  • Mormugao Educational Society's College of Arts and Commerce, locally known as MES College, is an institution in Zuarinagar, Vasco-da-Gama which provides training in commerce and the arts.[28]
  • Mormugao Port Trust also runs three schools at the Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary levels named Deepvihar.[29]
  • New Dawn Ashadeep School is a special school for the physically disabled.[30]



  1. ^ "Maps of India-Vasco da Gama". Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Major ports cargo traffic up 4.83% in Apr–Nov". The Hindu: Business Line. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Goa airport's runway deteriorating, may affect operations: Indian Navy". Hindustan Times. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  4. ^ "RECLAIMING VASCO-DA-GAMA, THE PORT TOWN". The Neutral View. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. ^ Anonymous (21 March 2011). "Vasco da Gama's Voyage of 'Discovery' 1497". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Has Vasco da Gama been renamed Sambhaji?". oHeraldo. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Demand to change name of Vasco da Gama city". Goa News. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  8. ^ Nagvenkar, Mayabhushan. "From Vasco da Gama to Sambhaji: Goans accuse BJP of a sneaky plot to rename a town". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Vasco's heritage clock tower to get a new lease of life". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  10. ^ "History Lovers Group all set to restore the Vasco Clock Tower". The Navhind Times. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Tick-tock! Vasco's heritage clock tower catches up with the times". The Times of India. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  12. ^ Fernandes, Adelmo (5 June 2017). "Vasco heritage clock stands tall amidst a dilapidated market". oHeraldo. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Vasco Railway Station bags 'best maintained station' award". oHeraldo. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Italian cruise ship brings over 1,000 visitors to Goa – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  15. ^ "". Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Venue Details: Tilak Maidan". Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  18. ^ ISL 2021-22: Mrcela, Vazquez goals leads to 1-1 draw between SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters 12 December 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  19. ^ "I-League to resume at Tilak Maidan from Thursday". Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Shadab Jakati – India Cricket – Cricket Players and Officials – ESPN Cricinfo". Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  21. ^ "First-class Matches played on Railway Stadium, Vasco da Gama". CricketArchive. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  22. ^ "Goa v Kerala, 1985/86 Ranji Trophy". CricketArchive. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  23. ^ "South Goa Lok Sabha Election Result 2019 LIVE Updates: close contest between Cosme Francisco Caitano Sardinha from INC and Narendra Keshav Sawaikar from BJP". Firstpost. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Goa elections result 2017: Full list of constituencies and their winners". 12 March 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  25. ^ "National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research, Goa, India". Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  26. ^ "BITS Goa to enter into MoU with Texas varsity – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  27. ^ a b "CBSE schools in Goa log impressive pass percentages at Class X exam – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  28. ^ "MES College felicitates meritorious students". The Navhind Times. December 2020.
  29. ^ "Thousands protest in Goa after girl raped in school toilet". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  30. ^ "Gul Panag to run Goa River Marathon". DNA India. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2018.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Vasco da Gama, Goa at Wikimedia Commons
  •   Vasco da Gama travel guide from Wikivoyage