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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Velas Beach | A Small Island is One of the Places Celebrated as a Turtle Festival

Velas beach

Velas Beach | A Small Island is One of the Places Celebrated as a Turtle Festival

Finally, the day was right here. It was a long-time wish to visit the Velas Beach in Velas village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra state. Though it is just a small village, it has taken the ecosystem to next level because many turtles are found here and this is where they take their first move towards the ocean. Yes, you heard me right; Velas village is mainly known for its Olive Ridley Turtle Festival. Every year this female Olive Ridley Turtle comes to the Velas beach and lays eggs during the breeding season. After ensuring the safety of eggs the villagers celebrate the Turtle festival every year, in Maharashtra. Every year thousands of turtles move towards the blue sea in the month of February to May and conservationists arrange the Turtle festival to create awareness in people. The Kasav or Turtle festival has got new opportunities for nature tourism in Velas and a positive wave in Nature lovers.

How to Reach the Kasav Village in Maharashtra?

Velas Beach is just a small island located on the edges of Velas village which is further located on the edge of the Arabian Sea. It is situated in Bagmandla Taluka. It can be reached by road, train, and flight.

By Air

Mumbai International airport is the nearest airport to reach the Velas village. It is located within a distance of 200 km from Mumbai airport. Once you get down at the airport drive down towards Mangaon on the Mumbai-Goa highway and then to Velas village.

By Train

Mangaon and Chiplun is the nearest railhead to reach Velas village. It is 50 km from Mangaon and 100 km from Chiplun. You need to drive further to Velas via MSRTC buses.

By Road

Velas is 180 km from Mumbai and 160 km from Pune. One has to drive the Mumbai- Goa highway. There are two routes to reach Velas village. One is via Mahad which is the MSRTC route and the other is via Bagmandala (Mangaon). The Bagmandla route is where you load your own vehicle on a Jetty and cross river Savitri. The Mahad route is longer than Bagmandla. The ideal way to travel here is in your own vehicle. There is some tempo traveler service that runs to the Velas from Mumbai.


Velas beach
If you are traveling from Mumbai then it is better to take tempo traveler directly to the village


My Experience of Visiting Turtle Village

I was planning for a long time to visit Velas, but I couldn’t make it before as some of the people from my group used to cancel my plan. This might be the case in your group also, right? This time it was a public holiday and this was the time when I started implementing my plan with my beloved wife and it was a dream come true for both of us.

I along with my wife decide to leave for Velas village early in the morning. We left Mumbai at 7am on my bike. The morning ride was beautiful despite sunny days and recently the roads were made in good condition. The reason behind leaving early morning was no rush on the Mumbai-Goa highway so we could make it a bit fast. The route that we followed was Mumbai-Wadkhal-Mangaon-Mhasla-Bagmandale and crossed the Savitri River by the jetty to Veshvi and the final 4 km was a coastal ride to Velas village. There was also direct connectivity by road but sometimes the journey is better than the destination. I wanted to take a feel of Jetty as it was the first time for me. It put my bike in Jetty from Bagmandla to reach Veshvi.


Velas beach
Bagmandla to Veshvi Jetty to cross Savitri River

Ticket cost in Jetty:

Per individual-10 INR

Bike-65 INR

Car-200 INR

The most interesting route of the journey was Veshvi to Velas village. The road is adventurous as it is exactly parallel to the Sea. The distance from Veshvi to Velas was 4 km and I started driving on this road my lost energy started regaining. By the time we reached Velas village it was already 11:30 am and we landed at Purna-Brahma homestay (Joshi's home) for a stay. Vaibhavi Joshi managed a stay for us at the end movement as she stays in the Velas village. I got this homestay contact from Google. As it was a typical local village so you will not get any hotels or resorts in a nearby area. There are some different kinds of fun in the typical homestay, it is a typical Konkani homestay and the village is so beautiful. This area falls under the Konkan route only. We had our lunch and went to have some rest. The homemade food taste was so delicious. The place we stayed was vegetarian so I had to have control over non-veg food. If anyone is a seafood lover then he or she can enjoy typical Seawood in this village. After some rest, we moved to the Velas beach to witness the little beautiful turtles festival. I was actually so excited since I had the first glimpse of it on Instagram. The recent photos of the turtle festival drove me so crazy. Vaibhavi explained to us the process of turtle breeding so well and I was so curious to know more about it.


Velas beach
Home-made food of local village with the flavor of typical Konkan


It is said that a large female turtle comes to the beach in its breeding season and lays its eggs on the 1-foot-long hole in the beach sand. A single turtle can give around 80 to 150 eggs at a time. Earlier these eggs were used as food supplements for their people and were sold in the market. Later, they got educated about the turtle's egg needed to be preserved, and the villagers started coming together and formed a committee and offered a favorable ground for breeding. They created a small conservatory for the hatching process. They used to shift those eggs from beach to hatchery and started maintaining the temperature of 35 degrees to the eggs. After 45 days small baby turtles start coming out of the eggs where people from this village started celebrating the Turtle festival and these turtles are left on the beach to take their first move towards the ocean. Isn’t it an interesting process right?

There is Hatchery which is made on the beach to keep the eggs of turtles. I was so excited to see the baby turtles making their first move in their world. By the time the baby turtle moves slowly towards the seawater, it was 7 pm and the sun had already started painting the sky. Velas beach is also famous for its astonishing sunset view. The beach is so clean because this is a place mainly for turtles not for human beings otherwise it would have not cleaned so much. After the sunset view, we went back home and got relaxed. There were a few other people from the different cities with whom we started a random discussion and that discussion further went into the political topics. It was so a relaxing day after a long time. Sometimes it feels better to interact with strangers, you get to learn something new.


Velas beach
Hatchery made for breeding of Turtles

Velas beach
Baby turtles are on the way to taking their first move toward the life


The next day morning we again moved to the beach to see the baby turtles. It was so crowded in the morning time and on top of it was Saturday. There are only a few people which are being selected to handle the turtles; no other is allowed to touch that turtles due to their safety. Now it was time to say bye to the Turtles. It was the Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra Organization that identified the uniqueness of Velas beach. Their observation noted that female turtles who lay the eggs and they needed to be protected. The villagers joined this movement voluntarily to create awareness across the world and I think now I have taken the initiative to aware you people and they must visit this place now. This place is good to take a family with you. It was now time to explore the Bankot fort which was situated an 8km distance from Velas. This is another fort that lies on the edge of the sea like the Murud Janjira fort. The fort is small and it was being used as a watchtower. We hardly spent an hour exploring the Bankot Fort. I will advise you to avoid sunny time if you are more photogenic and wants to click beautiful picks. Post Bankot fort we moved back to Bagmandla by Jetty. It was now time to explore the Harihareshwar temple of Lord Shiva. The distance was not more than 10 km to reach.


Velas beach
Bankot fort lies on the edge of the Arabian Sea

Velas beach
View of coastal route from Bankot Fort

Hariahareshwar is also known as Dakshin Kashi and the Savitri River was started in this town. If you are visiting the Velas village then it is my recommendation to give a visit to this evergreen place called Harihareshwar. After the temple visit, we moved to explore the beauty of Harihareshwar and that’s Ganesh Gully, yes it is a staircase way towards the picturesque sea. The recent photos of this place made my visit here. I feel this was the perfect spot to unwind and soak in the soothing wind with the soothing sound of waves. When we visited here it was 11 am and that’s why it was humid, and despite it, my energy level was up because of the view of Harihareshwar.  A devotee here normally takes Pradakshina surrounding the Ganesh Gully but due to high tide, it becomes impossible. I was so lucky enough that I got to see the Dolphins but, it was just 5 min of glimpse and it got disappeared. It was now time to end my trip and we left for the home with cherished memories.


Velas beach
Harihareshwar is known as the clan deity of Peshwa

Velas beach
Temple of Lord Shiva

Ideal Time to Visit Velas Turtle Festival

February to April is the breeding season for the Turtles every year. Hence, this is the best season to visit Velas beach. Many tourists flock in March and April month only. Apart from turtles, Velas beach is also famous for its Sunset view. No other activities are performed here. If you visit here in the summertime then you can simultaneously explore the nearby places like Harihareshwar, Bankot Fort, Divegar beach, Shrivardhan beach, and Harnai Bandar. Summer here is too hot and humid. I would recommend staying indoors during peak timing of 12 to 3 pm and exploring the beach in the morning and the evening.

The timing of the Turtle festival is 6:30am in the morning and 6:30pmin the evening but, you must reach there half hr. before the fest starts.

Places to Stay around Velas Beach

Homestay is the one and only option to stay in Velas. This is just a small village so you cannot expect hotels or resort to stay in. A local homestay offers a memorable staying experience with good hospitality offered by them. The homestays here will make you remind of a typical Konkan village stay. You will not get a private room during the homestay, it is just a common hall and one group can accommodate in one common hall. No worry, you may get a private place for changing along with a washroom facility. 

Contact for homestay:

Vaibhavi Joshi-7218463966

Mohan Upadhyay-8983767388

Homestay charges-1000 INR to 1200 INR per head including food (Veg or Non-veg) and beach charges

Top Things to Explore around Velas Beach

Harihareshwar- A distance from Velas Beach is 12 km. This is one of the photogenic places of Lord Shiva.

Bankot Fort- A distance from Velas beach is 5 km and the fort is located on the edge of the Sea. The fort was used as a watchtower in Peshwa time.

Diveagar Beach- A distance from Velas beach is 40 km. Diveagar beach is a well-known beach in the Konkan region and a famous beach for water sports activities.

Shrivrdhan Beach- A distance from Velas beach is 23 km and one of the must-visit places on Konkan coastal.

Things to Remember Before Visiting Velas Turtle Festival

Remember, you are not allowed to touch the baby turtles.

You are not allowed to go in the water until all baby turtle moves into the water.

No flash or light is allowed while clicking photos of the turtles.

No worry, you can take as many photos and videos of baby turtles.

Do not miss the sunset of Velas Beach, the view is amazing.

You need to have a minimum of two days to explore the Velas village and surrounding places.

Do not litter the area around and keep the place clean.

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