Ecotourism is becoming a popular travel trend in 2020. It involves traveling to biologically sensitive locations, preserving the local environment, and helping the local people. Ecotourism is getting admired these days as more and more people realize their responsibility towards safeguarding the planet. Velas Turtle Festival is the perfect example of Ecotourism.
Velas a peaceful village in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. A swarm of tourists flocks to Velas in March and April to witness something spectacular. The beaches of Velas are a natural host for the annual breeding season of the famous Olive Ridley Turtles. To promote its conservation and spread awareness, The Velas Turtle Festival held here every year. The festival organized by the local villagers in coordination with Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, an NGO, is working on nature conservation. Unlike the other festivals, here it is more about giving back to nature rather than consuming more of it. The tourists are fascinated by the breathtaking sight of hundreds of Olive Ridley Turtles crawling together. The turtles throng to the beaches to lay eggs. Then after a couple of days, the hatchlings come out and make their way back into the ocean.
All about the Lovely Olive Ridley Turtle
These turtles are the second smallest sea turtles in the world. They are about 2 feet long and weigh 35 Kg. They have a unique tent-shaped back with five pairs of scutes. The female turtles can lay about 100 eggs in one season. The turtles lay eggs in 2-3 sessions that can have a gap of 20-28 days between them. Turtle eggs incubation time is 40-45 days. This species has nocturnal egg deposition characteristics. However, these days it faces the risk of extinction as the eggs get eaten by the other animals. The efforts of local villagers through events like the Velas Turtle Festival are a ray of hope in saving these beautiful creatures.
How to Reach Velas Village?
Velas is about 250 km from Mumbai & 200 km from Pune. The nearest Railway Station is at Khed, about 80 Km from Velas. The best way to reach here is by car or on a local bus — Velas located in Mandangad Taluka of Ratnagiri District near Bankot Fort.
The fort is also called the Himmatgarh fort. The fort was the 52nd fort that was captured by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and added to the Swarajya.
2. Harihareshwar Temple
Lord Harihareshwar believed to have been blessed by Lord Shiva, Harihareshwar, often referred to as ‘Dev-Ghar’ or the house of Gods. There is a magnificent temple of Lord Harihareshwar near Velas in Raigad district.
3. Velas Beach
Velas blessed with numerous serene beaches. They offer a quintessential beach experience. The region is still unexplored and undisturbed by mass tourism, and that makes it unique. The Velas Turtle Festival provides a golden opportunity to experience nature in its purest form. The interaction with little turtles here is undoubtedly a life-changing adventure.
You can indulge in watersports at the Harihareshwar Beach, spot dolphins swimming near the rocks, Go on Harihareshwar Parikrama there are beautiful rock formations and beautiful views of Bankot.