Visit Dona Paula: History, Places To Visit Around Dona Paula, How to Reach, Water Sports, FAQs (2021)
Visit Dona Paula:
Popularly known as ‘The Lover’s Paradise’, Dona Paula is the most popular tourist hangout spot in Goa. Located at the confluence of River Zuari and River Mandovi, Dona Paula overlooks the breathtaking Marmugao Harbor and the Arabian Sea. The place is adorned with beautiful palm trees and sandy shores all around it. The place carries an enigmatic as well as a very romantic aura with it. Settled on a hammer-shaped, rocky headland, Dona Paula provides magnificent scenic views to its explorers. Image Source
Home to a variety of uncanny local myths and legends, Dona Paula offers a great number of public attractions to explore and visit. A statue depicting ‘Mother India’, ruins of Cabo Fort, National Institute of Oceanography are some of the most visited tourist spots in Dona Paula. Not just that, the place also offers a great number of water sports to perform namely jet skiing, parasailing, and water scooter. Some of the other activities offered by the place are fishing rides, island safari, and boat rides. All these adventure sports combined with astounding views make Dona Paula a must-visit spot while traveling to Goa.
History of Dona Paula
Legend has it that there was a woman named Dona Paula. She was the youngest daughter of the Viceroy Don Antonia Caetano de Menezes who came from Portuguese to serve in India. Dona fell in love with a poor, native fisherman of Goa but her father was against it and as soon as he found out about their love affair, he grounded her and prevented them from meeting again.
Dejected and upset upon such ill-fated happenings, Dona felt that she has to end her life if she can’t be with the love of her life. She couldn’t imagine her life without him. She became restless and got filled with extreme sorrow and when she no longer could handle the pain, she decided to bring her life to an end. Remembering her lover during her last breaths, she jumped off the cliff into the Arabian Sea. When her father came to know about the unfaithful event of his only daughter’s death, he got filled with remorse and guilt. So, in her beloved daughter’s memory, he named the place after her,’ Dona Paula’. This is how the place became a symbol of true love and sacrifice and with it a perfect spot to tell tales about, in order to promote tourism because this is just a myth told by the local guides to the tourists as the original story is not emotional or romantic enough.
The real story behind this place is that the place is named after Dona Paula Amaral Antonia de Souto-Maior who is a historical personality of Portuguese origin. The Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam in Sri Lanka was her relative and not her father. Dona with her family came to Goa in 1744. She was married to a Fidalgo from Spain in the year 1756. D. Antonio Caetano de Menezes Souto-Maior was her father. They were an extremely well to do family during their time. The entire land from the present-day Cabo Raj Nivas to Caranzalem belonged to them. She died in the December of 1782. She was a woman well known for her charity and kindness. She always worked for the betterment of the villagers and always helped them. So, to honor her, after her death, the inhabitants of the village named the place after her, Dona Paula.
According to actual facts and proofs, this is the real story behind its name but it is neither too romantic nor too dramatic to attract visitors. Therefore, the natives have twisted the tale and have originated a version of their own to promote tourism.
Another local myth is that Dona Paula is buried inside the Cabo Chapel which is the residence of the Governor of Goa and it is believed that Dona can be seen coming out from the moonlit waves of the beach adorned with just a pearl necklace. Some tourists and locals misguided by the myth visit the place to see Dona emerging from the waves.
However, the place is not home to any such paranormal activities and events and on the other hand, is a very popular residential area.
How to Reach Dona Paula?
Located just 7 kilometers away from the capital city of Panjim, Dona Paula can be reached using public transport services. Local taxis and buses leave for Dona Paula from Panjim every other minute. There is also a special bus service from Panaji’s Kadamba bus stand dedicated entirely to this place. A bus from there leaves for Dona Paula every fifteen minutes. Rental services are also very easily available to reach the place. You can hire a cab or a bike to reach the place by yourself. If you want to do so, then you can approach a local for guidance and help.
Places To Visit Around Dona Paula:
Encircled by palm and caesarians trees, Dona Paula is one of the most popular tourist spots in Goa owing to the alluring scenic views that it provides. There are a lot of places to visit around Dona Paula. Some of them are:
- Dona Paula Viewpoint: This viewpoint offers a breathtaking view of Dona Paula. You can take a walk along with it or along the coastline to enjoy the wonders of nature created by Mother Nature. The gentle sea breeze keeps blowing throughout the area, relaxing the body and soothing the soul. It is also a well-suited place for thrift shopping as you can shop from the beachside stalls all while enjoying the local street food from there.
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Located at a distance of about 9 kilometers from Dona Paula, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated on the western end of the Choro Island, by the side of the Mandovi River. This bird sanctuary comprising of mangrove trees is home to various domestic and migratory birds. It is an amazing spot to visit for nature lovers.
- Reis Magos Church: Approximately 10 kilometers away from the Dona Paula beach, Reis Magos Church is a very famous church that is entirely dedicated to the three learned men of the East who brought the gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense for baby Jesus. It is a very great place to visit.
- Ruins of the Cabo de Rama Fort: Erected in the year 1540, The Cabo Fort’s ruins are a must to visit place in Goa. The fort is also home to a 180-year-old cemetery and a memorial tomb built in the memory of Dona Paula de Menezes, the woman after whom the place is named. Comprising of architectural masterpieces, this fort is a must-visit for all travelers.
- National Oceanography Institute: Opened in 1960 in order to study the marine life of Goa, this institute is a good place for exploration. Some of the attractions of the institute are the Marine Biology Museum and the Taxonomy Reference Centre.
- Indian Arts Emporium: A perfect fit for the shopper in you, this place is full of local vendors who sell authentic and locally made spices, straw hats, and lace handkerchiefs. You can go abroad on a shopping spree at Dona Paula while walking through the beachside market. Feni and Port Wine, the two liquor specialties of Goa can also be bought from there. Indian Handicrafts and jewelry are also available here.
Water Sports in Dona Paula:
There are a variety of water sports available at Dona Paula. Owing to its smooth coastline, these activities are perfect to appease the adventurer in you. The beach can be explored through the medium of a range of these water sports and activities. Windsurfing, Swimming, water skiing, parasailing, kayaking, ski-bob, sports fishing, yachting, snorkeling, and toboggan ski-biscuit are some of the activities that are perfect to give you that adrenaline rush. Water scooters and motorboat rides are also available at Dona Paula. These are the perfect water sports and activities for all the water babies of the world.
Inlined with such alluding views and hangout spots and availability of such terrific water sport activities, Dona Paula is a must-visit if you are traveling to Goa. Your Goa trip is incomplete without visiting the place.
FAQs For Tourists Visiting Dona Paula
1. What are the various timings during which we can visit Dona Paula in Goa?
Dona Paula remains open to visitors 24 hours a day. You can visit this place at any hour of the day.
2. Are there any entry charges to visit the beach in Dona Paula of Goa?
No, there are no entry charges to visit the beach in Dona Paula. You can visit the place free of cost but there are a number of water sports available there and they are chargeable.
3. What are some of the precautions to take while doing the water sports at Dona Paula of Goa?
One should always remain careful when dealing with water. You should make sure that you wear a life jacket before doing any of these activities. You should not indulge in them if you have breathing issues or are scared of suffocation. You should also use proper equipment and guidance from a professional.