|Glimpses of Goa||.|
The Beach of Dona Paula
by Dr. Sushama Arur
Dona Paula was a very pretty daughter of a Portuguese nobleman. He was the governor of Goa whose big bungalow faced the sea. Dona Paula was fond of sea and boating. One day she befriended a young and handsome fisherman, Casper Dias, in her regular visits to the beach. He used to give her boat-ride occasionally. Love blossomed and they decided to marry.
But the news shocked her parents. Daughter of noble lineage marrying a lowly fisherman of a slave country? Never! They behaved like any other Indian parents. Paula became a house-prisoner. She was ordered never to see her lover. As was expected of most teenagers, Paula left in the middle of the night, ran to the beach, climbed the highest cliff and jumped into the sea.
The locals mourned the lovely and innocent daughter of the land. They erected a cross on the cliff from where Dona Paula took her life. Just below two dainty human steps were carved. ‘Pavulan' mean footsteps in Konkani. The beach came to be associated with Dona Paula's steps. There is local belief that Dona's apparition is seen on moonlit nights over the cliff and the dancing waves, with flowing hair , pearl strings and white dress. Many claim to witness it.The place once supposed to be haunted, is now a very popular tourist joint.
The tomb of Dona Paula de Menzes is in the Cabo chapel. The governor's residence (Cabo Raj Nivas) is near-by and faces the sea. The national oceanography institute is situated near the beach named after Dona Paula. Aguada fort is also close by and worthy of visit.
Dona Paula beach has attracted Bollywood. It has served as setting for several Indian movies, increasing its popularity as a tourist spot.
Dona Paula is seven kilometers from Panaji, the capital of Goa state of India, nestled on the hammer shaped rocky land where the two most important rivers of Goa, the Zuari and Mandovi meet the Arabian Sea. The Zuari meets the sea at Donapaula, while Mandovi at Campal (Miramar). So one can imagine the nature's beauty in abundance here.
A little ahead on the way to the University of Goa road is Cidade de Goa, a well- known Vainguinim beach resort with many of the water sports to attract the tourists. On the same road is the popular International Centre, Goa a convention centre with good facilities offered in any club. A kilometer ahead is the Goa University at Bambolim, spread out in between the array of green trees, dotted with departments housed in pretty Portuguese style buildings. The palatial bungalows of Dempos, Chowgules, Rajanis who are Goa's Industrialists are situated on the banks of the Zuari river. The rate of real estate is quite high here and riverside plots are almost sold out. The locals consider Dona Paula as an affluent locality. This place has rural and modern side to it; one finds big bungalows of the rich and apartments of the middleclass on one side and in between are the fields of the farmers. In rainy season vegetables are sown and right on Ganapati festival you can buy long lady's fingers, pumpkins, bitter gourd, cucumbers, greens, beans etc.
Pre-monsoon rains are accompanied with thunder and lightening coupled with swift sea breeze haunting one and all with its eerie noises. You feel humbled by seeing the nature's fury. The vast Information Technology Park inaugurated by Sonia Gandhi had an ignominious death before its inception due to the local politics. Even the local residents are against any development, which might hamper the beauty and the peace of the locality. They are averse to even malls and prefer going to Panaji market, seven kilometers away for their daily needs of vegetables and grocery on a Sunday. May be they are right, any development has its side effects like more outsiders, more traffic jams, more concrete jungle etc. So, now the roads are empty and pollution free with vacant plots and lots of greenery… But those who come from metro cities they miss out on the Food Worlds, Reliance Fresh, Big Bazaars and the conveniences of any metro city.
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