Seven kilometers west of the Indian state of Goa's capital Panaji,
Dona Paula Beach is nestled on the southern side of the rocky hammer-shaped
headlands that divide the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries.
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.
Named after the Dona Paula de Menzes, daughter of a viceroy (in colonial
India), the Dona Paula beach offers an opportunity to the tourists to have a
sunbath and buy cheap seaside goods from local vendors. Dona Paula de Menzes
threw herself off the cliff, when refused permission to marry a local
fisherman, Gaspar Dias. It is said 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 tourists throng the Dona Paula Beach not only in
search of the deceased beloved, but also to indulge & enjoy in water
sports on the clean waters. Providing a good view of the Mormugao harbor,
the Dona Paula 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 Main Attractions of Dona Paula
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.
Established 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 provides an excellent view of
the nearby coastline and the Aguada Fort.
Excursion at Dona Paula
The main attractions near Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos Church and the
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Reis Magos Church
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
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
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.