The capital of prosperous Salcete taluka, Margao – referred to in railway timetables and on some maps by its official government title, Madgaon – is Goa’s second city, and if you’re arriving in the state on the Konkan Railway, you’ll almost certainly have to pause here to pick up onward transport by road. Surrounded by fertile rice paddy and plantain groves, the town has always been an important agricultural market, and was once a major religious centre, with dozens of wealthy temples and dharamshalas – however, most of these were destroyed when the Portuguese absorbed the area into their Novas Conquistas (“New Conquests”) during the seventeenth century. Today, Catholic churches still outnumber Hindu shrines, but Margao has retained a cosmopolitan feel due to a huge influx of migrant labour from neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra.

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