Goa is blessed with physical features that range from dominating hilly ranges to a sandy shoreline and serpentine rivers cutting across the land.
India’s smallest state, Goa encompasses 3,702 km2 (1,429 sq mi). Placed between the latitudes 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E, Goa lies along the Konkan coast of India. The towering Western Ghats separate Goa from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point at Sonsogor stands at an attitude of 1,167 metres (3,829 ft). Goa’s golden coastline stretches to 160 (99 mi) kms.
Goa has an enviable combination of sea and rivers. Seven rivers make their winding way inwards. These lifelines to Goa’s economy are Zuari, Mandovi, Terekhol, Chapora, Galgibag, Kumbarjua canal, Talpona and Sal. The longest rivers Zuari and Mandovi form a complex network of backwaters and have been used for various activities, notably the transportation of mined ore. Each of the rivers is home to a rich biodiversity unique to these parts.
The Southwest monsoons feed the rivers parched by the summer heat. The river basin covers 69% of the geographical area. Apart from a well-connected river system, the state has 40 estuarines, eight marine and about 90 riverine islands.
The total navigable length of Goa’s rivers is 253 kms (157 mi). Apart from the various larger water bodies, Goa has ancient water banks dating to the Kadamba dynasty, not to mention medicinal springs.
Murmugao harbour on the mouth of the river Zuari is considered to be one of the best natural harbours in South Asia.
Goa is endowed with laterite reserves rich in ferric-aluminium oxides reddish in colour. The alluvial and loamy soil along the river banks is filled with minerals and humus, thus making it suitable for farming. Some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent are located along the Goa-Karnataka border.