Category Archives: Myths and Legends

The legend of Dona Paula

Dona Paula is a secluded bay where the two major rivers of Goa, Mandovi and Zuari meet the Arabian sea. Initially, the village, Oddavell, was named Dona Paula after the historical figure, Dona Paula de Menezes. It is one of the most popular and romanticised place in Goa with a beautiful view. There are numerous collections of ghost stories about Dona Paula. On moonlit nights at the stroke of midnight, she rises from the sea wearing a string of pearls and nothing else. Various legends are associated with this story.

DP view

-According to one of the legends, she was a lady in waiting of the Portuguese Governor generals wife and the Governor was enamoured of her. The Governor’s enraged wife stripped her except for the pearl necklace (which was a gift from her unfaithful husband), bound her and pushed her from the cliff of the then, Oddavell.
-Another popular legend describes Dona Paula, as a Portuguese viceroy’s daughter who fell in love with a local fisherman. This aroused the racist feelings and anger of the Portuguese and she hurled herself over the cliff.
-Yet, one legend describes her as Dona who married Paulo, a fisherman. One day, he ventured to the sea and never returned. The dutiful wife waited for him at the cliff for the rest of her life and got turned into stone.

The twin sculptures of a man and a woman on the rocks at Dona Paula are not of Dona Paula and her lover. They are in reality the sculpture of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knox
The twin sculptures of a man and a woman on the rocks at Dona Paula are not of Dona Paula and her lover. They are in reality the sculpture of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knox

-Gasper Dias, a nobleman, is also considered one of her lovers. It is believed that he betrayed her and married someone else. The heartbroken Dona Paula jumped from the cliff. Her ghost appears at night to look for the nobleman and exact her revenge.
-Dona Paula de Menezes was a Portuguese viceroy’s daughter. She married in 1656 and came to be known as Dona Paula Menezes e Souto Maior. She was a woman of charity and is supposed to have done a lot of work for the betterment of the villagers. So, after her death, the villagers renamed the village to Dona Paula.
The crowded lane
The myths have contributed to the popularity of the beach and is one of the reasons why the beach is so crowded in the evenings though that isn’t the only reason. Dona Paula is one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches of Goa with its natural beauty. It is an ideal spot for sun bathing. It offers a fine view of Marmagoa harbour. It is also a treat for adventure lovers as it will give them a chance to indulge in water sports in clear waters.


Water sports

Related Articles

  1. Dona Paula-Dept. of Tourism, Goa
  2. Dona Paula- Wikipedia

Mythological water creature #4 Lernaean Hydra

Lernaean Hydra is a water beast from Greek mythology. Hydra had reptile like traits and possessed many heads. If one of its head was cut, it grew two more in its place.

Hydra has poisonous breath and is so venomous that even its tracks are deadly. It is supposed to guard the entrance to the underworld. Hmm,underworld really seems to have better security arrangements.

Mythological water creature #4
Lernaean Hydra (Hercules and his battle with hydra)
Artist : John Singer Sargent

Image: Courtesey Wikipedia


Mythological creature of water #3 Charon, the ferryman

Charon- ferryman of the underworld
Depiction of Charon by Alexander Litovchenko.
Image: Courtesey Wikipedia

Charon is a mythological ferryman who ferried the dead into the kingdom of dead across the river Acheron and Styx. He only ferried those who had been buried with coin in their mouth. The coin in the mouth was supposed to be a bribe to induce Charon to ferry them to the underworld. Lack of this toll for Charon would lead to a worse fate of isolation on the bank of river Styx for eternity. Wow, money is such a necessity even after death and I thought bribery works only in this world.

River Styx
River Styx

Mythological water creature #2 Bäckahästen

Bäckahästen is a mythological brook horse derived from Scandavian folklore. Celtic folklore also describes shape-shifting horses called kelpies. Bäckahästen could be a kelpie parallel. He is a beautiful white horse which appears in foggy weather to lure people to climb his back. After that, he gallops away and the rider is unable to get down. Bäckahästen just jumps into the river drowning the rider in the process.

Mythogogical creature of water #2
Bäckahästen/Brook horse

Image: Courtesey Wikipedia

Mythological water creature#1 Ashrays

The origin of Ashrays can be attributed to Scottish mythology. Ashrays can be male or female. They are completely translucent water creatures. Ashrays also known as Asrais or water-lovers are often mistaken for sea ghosts. Next time, when you look into clear waters try looking for Ashrays though only during the night. Ashrays are nocturnal creatures. If you manage to capture one, keep the Ashray away from sunlight unless all you want is a puddle of water.