DONA PAULA BEACH
The beach is named after Dona Paula de Menzes, daughter of
a viceroy (in colonial India), who threw herself off the cliff,
when refused permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar
Dias. The myth says that Dona Paula is entombed in the Cabo
Chapel of the Raj Bhawan and is supposed to be seen emerging
from the moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace.
With the romance and myth attached to it-haunted by Dona
Paula de Menzes-tourists throng the Dona Paula Beach not only
in search of the deceased beloved, but also to indulge in
water sports on the clear waters. The Dona Paula Beach offers
an opportunity to the tourists to have a sunbath and buy cheap
seaside goods from local vendors.
This beach has also been the location for many Indian movies,
the most famous being Ek Duje Ke Liye. Given this dual attraction,
Dona Paula Beach has become a popular tourist spot.
The most important attraction of this beach is the water sport
facilities available here. The Dona Paula Sports Club offers
water-scooter, cycle, and motorboat rides. Other water sports
include windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit,
skibob, sports fishing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing, kayaking,
National Oceanography Institute
Set up in the 1960s, the National Oceanography Institute delves
not only upon marine biology, but incorporates almost all
the major branches of coastal and marine oceanography. The
major attraction of the institute is its Marine Biology Museum
and Taxonomy Reference Center.
Cabo Raj Niwas
The Cabo Raj Niwas (the Governor’s House) is half a
kilometer away from the National Oceanography Institute. It
houses the tomb of Dona Paula de Menzes in the Cabo Chapel.
The Raj Bhawan offers an excellent view of the nearby coastline
and the Aguada Fort.
LOCATION AND CLIMATE
Seven kilometers west of the Indian state of Goa’s capital
Panjim (Panaji), Dona Paula Beach is nestled on the southern
side of the rocky hammer-shaped headlands that divide the
Zuari and Mandovi estuaries. Providing a good view of the
Mormugao harbor, this beach is fringed by palm trees and casuarina
groves. The proximity of the beach to the capital city makes
it a popular tourist sight.
The climate is equable and moist throughout the year. While
it is pleasant and temperate from October to May it is rainy
from June to September. Temperature variations throughout
the year are mild. May is the warmest month with a temperature
of around 30°C and January is coolest with a mean daily
temperature of 25°C. Due to its proximity of the sea,
the territory is generally humid and even during the summer
months humidity is generally above 60 percent.
The main attractions near Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos
Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Approximately 10
km from the beach is one of the oldest churches built in Goa,
the Reis Magos Church. It is dedicated to the three Magi (the
wise men of the East)-Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar who,
according to a legend, were guided by a star to Bethlehem
to greet the newborn Jesus. This church was once the residence
of all dignitaries and a mission center of the Franciscan
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated on the western tip
of the island of Choro, along the Mandovi River, about 9 km
from Dona Paula Beach. Spread over 2 sq km, this sanctuary
is a mangrove forest. Local and migratory birds are found
here all through the year. However, permission of the Chief
Wildlife Warden is required for visitors.
Two other beaches are also within the proximity of the Dona
Paula Beach. These are the Miramar beach, which lies 4 km
north of Dona Paula, and the Vainguinim Beach, which is situated
1 km west.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
The festivals of Janmashtami and the Feast of St. Lawrence
are particular to the Dona Paula Beach. In addition, the beach
also has a colorful water sports festival in November. The
highlights of this festival are the water scooter and cycle
races and surfing competitions.
There are several shops along the beachside, which sell variety
of goods ranging from eatables to clothes. Fishermen-turned-local
vendors also sell straw hats, lace handkerchiefs, and spices
in these shops. Feni and port wine-the two Goan liquor specialties-are
a must buy and local liquor is easily available. Indian handicrafts
and jewelry are available at the Indian Arts Emporium in Dona
There are a host of hotels, guesthouses, and beachside huts
available at the beach that cater to the budgets of different
The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from
Panaji and 36 km from Anjuna.
Goa is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mangalore,
and Thiruvananthapuram by train. The nearest railway station
is at Karmali, which is 15 km from the beach.
The Dona Paula Beach is well connected by road. Seven kilometers
from the capital city, regular bus and taxi services are easily
available. The Kadamba Transport Corporation (Government of
Goa Undertaking), and Maharashtra and Karnataka State Road
Transport Corporations operate buses from and to Goa.
Bus, taxi, auto-rickshaw, and motorcycle services are the
available means of local conveyance in the area. A bus or
motorcycle-taxi from Panjim or the ferry service from Mormugao
can be availed of to reach the beach. In fact, buses to Dona
Paula leave every fifteen minutes from Panjim's Kadamba stand.
An interesting mode of conveyance in Goa is the motorcycle
taxi. Unique to this state, these “taxis” carry
only one passenger. However motorcycles can also be hired
for personal use, on the basis of financial guarantee.