Turtles are interesting creatures, there is no doubt about it but we are accustomed to seeing them in the aquariums and zoos most often. People crave to see them live in their natural habitat and the Velas turtle festival provides them with the opportunity to do so. And without a doubt, it also attracts a lot of foreign tourists as well. Let’s know more about it.
Velas is a small village in Ratnagiri in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The annual event takes place during April every year and is a massive crowd puller. The village is located at about 220 Kilometres from Mumbai and the commute is easy, especially during the time of the festival. Take the bus from Mumbai or a train, which happens to be well connected and enjoy the festival.
About the festival
The village Velas is famous for the sightings of Olive ridley turtles, which are very rare and can hardly be found anywhere else. The turtles are there in the Arabian Sea and move to the village of Velas in order to lay eggs. A turtle conservation initiative has been taken by the villagers and that makes the event a safe one for the turtles and even the turtles, which are known to avoid human presence at all costs, can be seen behaving all natural. Many NGOs from across the country and the world have taken steps forward in order to conserve the population of the turtles by conserving their eggs and put them in the safe places. One mother turtle lays about a 100 eggs at one time and the incubation period is 50-55 days. The eggs laid by the turtles are then covered with baskets and the track is kept every day about their conditions.
However, the moment which everyone awaits with stopped breaths is the one when the eggs break and tiny turtles come out of them and as an instinct, they start moving towards the ocean. This is a grand event and gets covered by media and the general population alike in their phones. The baby steps they take stir some strange feelings of hope and life inside the observers and as they drift away into the ocean, the festival comes to its conclusion.
The festival goes on for an entire month and some great deals can be achieved from the travel websites and forums.
This isn’t a picnic spot but a conservation site. So the tourists need to remain calm and should act with caution. Littering around is an offense and the fine will be installed.
-Photography is although allowed, should be done with the flashlights off.
-The tourists need to wear sensible clothes. The locals here are somehow conservative in their approach towards decency and women in shorts or miniskirts may not be allowed.
-The timings may differ, so you may have to stay a bit longer to witness the baby turtles coming out of the eggs. Patience is mandatory.
This is a wonderful sight and everyone should at least one, come here to witness the pure magic.