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Let’s Explore: The Velas Turtle Festival Of Maharashtra

Velas Turtle Festival

The Velas turtle festival, also called Kasav Mahotsav, takes place in the peaceful fishing hamlet of Velas on Maharashtra’s western coast. The preservation of Olive Ridley turtles is the exclusive emphasis of this event. Mumbai travellers may see new-born turtles making their way toward the sea for the first time. Moreover, a little over a hundred dwellings on the Arabian Sea shore, around 220 miles from Mumbai. Once again, it’s that time of year when a small grey head emerges from the golden sand and inhales the crisp, salty Arabian Sea air.

Olive Ridley Turtle At The Velas Turtle Festival

How it started

Before we talk about the Velas turtle festival let’s explore the Olive Ridley turtle. Long ago, Olive Ridley turtles were listed as “endangered.” For this reason, in 1992 Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM), a non-profit organization, partnered with the Marine Conservation Society and the local community. Ever then, SNM has worked tirelessly to save this rare species of turtle.

The Turtles Travel

Many Olive Ridleys visit Maharashtra’s western coast in February and March, mostly to lay eggs. Of those, 40% land on the Velas beach. Each female sea turtle lays between 80 and 120 eggs on the beach, which is protected from predators and poachers by a team of committed volunteers. The sea turtles arrive to the beach late at night.

The Growth

The Ridley family significantly increased as a result of this conservation effort, even if the eggs had previously been destroyed by dogs or sold in open markets. After 40 days of incubation, the volunteers submerge the eggs into a safer nest in the sand, and the hatchlings emerge to find their home in the ocean.

The Stunning View

One of the most pleasant sights to see is the release of hundreds of turtles into the ocean; it’s an event that draws nature enthusiasts, tourists, and photographers in equal measure. The turtles are released twice daily, in the warm evening hours and again in the brilliant morning light.

The spectacular eco-village experience, where guests may stay in the homes of the inhabitants and engage with the community of the seaside hamlet, adds to this extraordinary spectacle.

Velas Beach

Located at the start of the UNESCO World Heritage Western Ghats, Maharashtra’s breath-taking Konkan coast is home to the well-known ecotourism destination Velas Beach. Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles visit the beach in the charming coastal hamlet of Velas each year to lay their eggs. During the Olive Ridley turtles’ endangered breeding season, Velas Beach becomes a hotspot for conservationists. With the most Olive Ridley turtle nests, Velas has consistently been at the top of the list. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) and the Kasav Mitra Mandal (KMM), with the assistance of the locals, organize the Turtle Festival every year to commemorate the release of hatchlings. At this event, you can witness the first steps of freshly hatched Olive Ridley Turtles, held between February and March.

Where is the Velas Turtle Festival Held?

The Velas turtle festival takes place in Ratnagiri’s Velas beach, around 200 kilometers between Mumbai and Pune. One of the most well-known eco-festivals in India is the Velas Turtle Festival, which draws volunteers and tourists from across the globe.Some come to capture the little two-legged creatures making their journey to the ocean, some to care for the baby turtles, and yet others just want to have a good ecotourism experience on the beach.

For tourists, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have fun and give back to the environment and society. The settlements that surround Velas beach have prospered economically as a consequence of the event, and sea turtle populations have been rising gradually.

The turtle festival offers experiences that kids will also find enjoyable. For the younger generation, this event offers a welcome diversion from the digital world of iPads and cell phones.

You Must Note:

At the Velas turtle festival under no circumstances handle or pick up the young turtles. At the beach, avoid utilizing any lights or sounds since this might divert the infants’ attention from their journey to the water and cause them to get lost. If you come across any wounded turtles, let the Forest Department and/or local organizing committee know. Steer clear of plastics and don’t litter at all.  Save your bathing suit for your next vacation; this is one of the Konkan’s most dangerous beaches.

Lastly, Maharashtra shares its 720 km of coastline with the districts of Sindhudurg, Konkan, Thane, and Ratnagiri. Numerous aquatic animals pay us a visit. Nevertheless, there is no comprehensive study accessible, and the precise number and kind are unclear based on beliefs. Researchers discovered in 2000-01 that the Olive Ridley turtle species frequently visits the Maharashtra coast for nesting. The leatherback, hawksbill, and green turtle are among the other species.

Numerous villages in Maharashtra have adopted the same approach and are holding the Turtle Festival in India at various sites following the success of the Velas turtle conservation initiative. It contributes to the growth of sea turtle populations as well as the cash generated by seasonal tourists.

FAQ’s about the Velas Turtle Festival

Ques: When do we see Turtles on Velas Beach?

The time of year when young turtles hatch from their eggs and enter the sea is from February to April.

Ques: What is the concept of the Velas Turtle Festival?

The Velas turtle festival was started to raise awareness about the Olive Ridley Turtles, one of the most endangered species. Additionally, Velas organizes the event every year to support ecotourism and generate funds for the preservation and protection of these turtles.

Ques: How is the food?

During the Velas turtle festival stay, locally prepared meals are provided. These can be the Jain, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian meals are provided. Food quality is Konkani food, which is the same meal that people prepare for themselves. The guesthouse owners in Velas are well-known for their warmth, delicious cuisine, and throngs of tourists during the turtle festival.

Ques: How is the mobile connectivity there?

Idea sim cards have a good range, and the range is available in a few locations close to the Village. There is load shedding in Velas Village, which causes carry power bank electricity to occasionally be unavailable. Both Bankot Fort and Harihareshwar Beach have strong cellphone coverage. The ideal time to attend the Velas Turtle Festival is between February and April, when the hatchlings are released.

Therefore, it’s now time for you to attend the Velas Turtle Festival.

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