With the romance and myth attached to it-haunted by Dona Paula de Menezes-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.
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 harbour, 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.
Best Time To Visit
The climate is equable and moist throughout the year. While it is pleasant and temperate from October to May, June to September are the rainy months. 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 Dona Paula Beach is named after Dona Paula de Menezes, the daughter of a viceroy (in colonial India), who threw herself off the cliff, when refused permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. Dona Paula Beach is also referred to as "Lovers' Paradise."
The Dona Paula Beach has been an attraction for tourists due to a myth attached to the place. According to this myth, 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. Several tourists as well as locals guided by this myth visit the beach for a glimpse of Dona Paula.
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 is a popular tourist spot.
Water sport facilities are the key attraction of this beach. 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.
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.
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 Menezes in the Cabo Chapel. The Raj Bhawan offers an excellent view of the nearby coastline and the Aguada Fort.
Places Around Dona Beach
There are several places of tourist interest situated near the Dona Paula Beach. These include the 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 Miramir beach, which lies 4 km north of Dona Paula, and the Vainguinim Beach, which is situated 1 km west.
Fairs & 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.
How To Reach
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.