The legends of Dona Paula Bay

There are a number of legends that surround the two chipped, white statues that stand overlooking the Marmugao harbour, at the confluence of Zuari and Mandovi, the two famous Goanese rivers, with the Arabian Sea. The place in question is Dona Paula Bay, a little farther from the capital city of Panjim. It is an upscale locality today, far from the fishing village that it once was.

The famous statues on the cliff at Dona Paula

Some say that the statues belong to Dona and Paulo, two lovers who committed suicide at the very same spot. Dona was the daughter of a nobleman, prevented by her family from marrying Paulo, because he was a lowly fisherman. The lovers, therefore, resorted to ending their lives. Some believe that Dona rises from the sea on certain nights and walks around the area, wearing a string of pearls that Paulo had gifted her.

Another legend says that Dona was the wife of Paulo, a fisherman, who ventured into the Arabian Sea for fishing and didn’t return for years together. Being the dutiful and loving wife that she was, Dona took to waiting on the cliff for Paulo’s boat to return. Her wait did not yield any results, but she turned into stone. More years later, when Paulo really did return, he was so touched by Dona’s love for him that he turned into a statue on the cliff himself.

Yet another legend says that the statues are of a father and daughter from the West, who settled in the area. The father is, supposedly, pointing in the direction of his home and telling his daughter, ‘The West, that’s where we came from.’

All beautiful legends, guaranteed to melt the heart.

A close-up of the statues on the cliff

Some others say that the area of the statues are that of Dona Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior and her husband Fidalgo. Dona Paula was the daughter of the Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam, Sri Lanka. She arrived in Goa in the year 1644, with her family. The affluent Dona Paula took up a lot of charity and helped the villagers in every way she could. When she died, she was buried in the Cabo Chapel, the residence of the Governor of Goa. Ingratiated by all that she did for them, the villagers named the area after Dona Paula. Legend has it that the ghost of Dona Paula walks the area on certain nights, surveying her surroundings.

Another theory maintains that the statues are those of philosopher Robert Knox and his wife. A Dutch sculptress, Baroness Yrse Von Leistner, had deep admiration for the philosopher, and created the statues that stand on the cliff.

Beautiful houses adjacent to the Dona Paula Bay
A boat at the bay

Whatever be the story behind the bay and the statues, the place is indeed very beautiful. It definitely has a romantic aura, and is a wonderful spot if you want to escape the crowds at the other beaches, feel the wind on your face as you unwind, watching at the sun set behind the statues, watching fishing boats come and go.

The eternal love story, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, was largely shot here, and I would say the place is perfect for the movie.

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14 thoughts on “The legends of Dona Paula Bay

  1. You got super duper lucky to have come to Dona Paula and escaped the crowds and felt the wind in your hair. Most days it is extra crowded, right up to the main road that leads to it — and we’re always wondering what about the place attracts SO MANY people! It is usually a grid lock of traffic too, with bus-loads of tourists descending on it. But if you got a good view, you were very lucky!
    That last picture, I can almost point my home out on the other side 🙂

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  2. So beautiful. I love knowing the stories behind the places as well. I got goosebumps reading your narrative. To know that something like that happened and you are actually in that place – what a feeling, that is. Ofcourse, none of this may have happened. Yet, the possibility that they may have makes you feel sort of overwhelmed.

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  3. Did you shop at those shops and ride that water scooter? I have done neither there…and the guys there keep harping on the fact that ek tuje ke liye was shot there as well :):) lovely lovely pics TGND and super narrative too

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