Velas Turtle Festival – a Celebration of Life, weekend getaway from Mumbai

Velas turtle festival, Cyril Thomas
Image via Cyril Thomas

Velas, a small town situated near Bankot Bay, Ratnagiri has become a hub to save the endangered species of Olive Ridley turtles. An NGO named Sahyadri Nisargmitra and the villagers committee has taken the initiative to conserve Olive Ridley turtles by providing protection to their eggs. Every year, Between March and April, sets of newly hatched off-springs of these turtle are let off into the sea. Witnessing a baby turtle coming out of the egg and then finding its way to the sea by those baby steps is an unforgettable moment. These tiny beings, which are out of their egg shells for not more than few hours are released into the water in batches. They breathe into their natural environment and get introduced to the sea life during this event amidst a the inquisitive travellers. Weekend trips to Velas are arranged by various tour operators in Mumbai in the month of March and April so that we city dwellers can witness the beautiful journey of these tiny creatures from the land to the sea. If you are keen to see this phenomenal event, you can book your seats with for the coming weekend. Else, you can try it next year.

Velas Turtle Festival, Cyril Thomas, Weekend Getaway from Mumbai
Image via Cyril Thomas

Other tour operators like BAAN Hikers, Mumbai Hikers, Mumbai Travellers also conduct similar weekend trips. The buses leave from Dadar on a Friday night and reach Velas early Saturday morning. The trip includes visit to the Velas turtle conservation centre, Velas beach, Bankot fort and Harihareshwar temple and beach. It’s an excellent opportunity for the photo enthusiasts. Turtle nests, eggs, tiny little turtles coming out of the shells, every detail is splendid and worth capturing. Sunday is spent visiting the fort and the temples and you start for Mumbai late afternoon.

Cyril Thomas, Velas Turtle Festival, Olive Ridley Turtles
Innocence at Velas Turtle Festival, Image via Cyril Thomas

The trip costs anywhere between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2500. But that includes all meals (authentic Konkani veg only food), travel and overnight stay at one of the villager’s house. So, perfect! But the catch is you sleep on a mat, eat on banana leaf and use a common toilet just like a villager. If you are ok with this then it’s bound to be one of the memorable trips of your life. Imagine waking up to the cock-a-doodle of the village rooster than your alarm clock and sipping cutting chai (masala tea) peacefully sitting outside the hut in a laid back early morning haze. If you love soil and are a man of little needs then this trip will enthrall you to no limits! The travel might be a bit tiring but the experience is priceless.

Cyril Thomas, Rural tourism near Mumbai, weekend getaway
Village life, Image via Cyril Thomas

I am booking myself for this adventure where new life is celebrated. Are you?

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