Situated on the headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi Rivers, 9km southwest of Panaji, Dona Paula allegedly takes its name from Dona Paula de Menenez, a Portuguese viceroy’s daughter who threw herself into the sea from the clifftop after being prevented from marrying a local fisherman. Her tombstone still stands in the chapel at nearby Cabo Raj Bhavan. Though the views over Mormugao Bay are nice enough, the village is drab, the small beaches raggedy and the hawkers persistent. The popular jetty promenade was closed in 2018 for urgent structural repairs.
For the last 40 years, Baroness Yrsa von Leistner’s (1917–2008) whitewashed Images of India statue has graced a mock acropolis on an outcrop of rock at the end of the Dona Paula road. It portrays a couple looking off in different directions, the man towards the past and the woman towards India’s future.