Vasco da Gama (often shortened to Vasco) is a small city in the state of Goa on the west coast of India, named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. The town lies on the western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, at the mouth of the Zuari River, about 30 kms from Panaji (Panjim), Goa's capital, and about 5 kms from the Dabolim Airport (GOI).
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 place was founded in 1543, and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when Goa was annexed to India.
By Air: The Dabolim Airport, Goa's only airport, is located 4 km southeast of Vasco-da-Gama.
By Rail: The south-central Vasco da Gama railway station is located at the south end of Dr. Rajendra by
By Road: Vasco has good road connectivity to major cities of Goa. The Interstate Kadamba Bus Terminus, 3 km east of the town centre, lies on the National Highway 17A. Local minibuses carry passengers from the main bus stand to the city area.
Vasco is a business-oriented town and so has a fair number of shopping points. You can look out for the traditional handicrafts as well as the designer clothes and accessories in Vasco. Handicrafts and Silk Emporium, Shopping Arcade, Hotel Silver Sands and Colva Beach are some of popular shopping destinations around.
Vasco is a port city that caters to the needs of business as well as leisure travellers. The town offers some good options for accommodation, ranging from luxury hotels to mid-range and budget hotels. Most of the hotels in Vasco da Gama are concentrated around the railway station.
5 Star Hotel : Bogmalo Beach Park Plaza Resort (Near Dabolim airport).
3 Star Hotel : Hotel La Paz Gardens.
Other Hotels : GTDC Tourist Hotel, Hotel Bismark, Hotel Kamakshi.
Vasco da Gama is renowned for its Saptah Festival, celebrated at the Damodar Temple. The 15 day festival is perhaps the biggest festival in Goa, which is organized in the month of September. During this time, the commercial town of Vasco comes alive with colourful parades and devotional music. Legend goes that, in 1898 an epidemic in Vasco drove residents to the temple of Lord 'Dam Bab' in Zambaulim for help. A coconut was brought from Zambaulim and installed in Vasco. The result - the epidemic obligingly died out. Vasco never forgot the debt to Lord, since then, the people have been installing a coconut annually at the temple. Saptah Festival begins with a coconut being carried by a procession to the Damodar Temple.