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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.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Water Sports
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, and yachting.

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


Location

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.

Climate
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.

EXCURSIONS
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 order.

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.

SHOPPING

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 Paula.


ACCOMODATION

There are a host of hotels, guesthouses, and beachside huts available at the beach that cater to the budgets of different tourists.

TRANSPORTATION
By Air
The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 36 km from Anjuna.
By Rail
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.
By Road
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.

Local Transport

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.





     


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