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About Velas Village, Ratnagiri
Velas is a small village in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. The Velas beach Ratnagiri rose to fame as a hatching site for Olive Ridley sea turtles. This is a remote village with no bank or ATM, no restaurant or hotel, and no (or highly patchy) mobile network. Velas is a coastal town that is famous for beaches, Harihareshwar temple, Bankot fort, and the most promising Turtle Festival.
The Velas beach is around 3 kilometers long with an estuary to the north and a rocky patch bordered by natural vegetation and a freshwater stream to the south. Most of the beach is surrounded by Casuarina plantations and Ipomea Biloba (beach morning glory).
Olive Ridley Turtles – Velas Beach Ratnagiri
For many years, the Olive Ridley Turtles have been coming to Velas Beach for laying eggs during their breeding season. Traditionally, turtle eggs were a food supplement for the people of Velas and were sold in the market. However, as they were educated about turtles being an endangered species and that they needed to be protected, the villagers came together and formed a committee to protect them and offer a favorable breeding ground. They created a small conservatory where the eggs were shifted for a better hatching rate. Over time, the villagers managed to maintain the beach as a breeding ground for these turtles and have kept commercialization away.
Turtle Festival Velas
The Velas Turtle Festival is a celebration of the natural breeding process of the Olive Ridley Turtles and is dedicated to the conservation of these turtles. Many people visit Velas during this time to witness the hatching of eggs and watch baby turtles crawl out of their shells and enter the ocean.
Best Time to Visit Velas
The Turtle Festival is celebrated between March and April every year. Hence, this is the best time to visit Velas beach. Apart from the Turtle Festival, there are many other things to do in Velas, Maharashtra. October to February is considered to be the peak season since the weather is breezy and pleasant. The monsoon months of June to September receive moderate to heavy rainfall. While the surroundings get picturesque, rains can put a dampener on your plans. Summers (March to May) can be very hot and humid and barring the Turtle Festival, most people avoid traveling to Velas during this time.
Places to Visit in Velas
Here is a quick look at some famous places in Velas:
- Velas Beach – While the Olive Ridley Turtles are a crowd-puller, the Velas beach has some picturesque sunsets and various options available to all kinds of travelers. You can also go for a small (15-minute) trek on the cliffs on Velas beach.
- Velas Village – The village has so much to offer that people traveling from urban areas will be mesmerized by the simplicity and beauty of the way of life in Velas.
- The Shiva Temple – Right in the center of Velas village is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. While we are not aware of the history of the temple, the peace and tranquility it offers are magical.
Things to Do in Velas
Here are some things to do in Velas to make your trip unforgettable:
- Explore the Velas village and look at the way the villagers live in sync with nature.
- Since there are no hotels or resorts in Velas and the only options are homestays, ensure that you choose to live for a few days like the locals
- Live a life devoid of TV, AC, geyser, or internet.
- The locals put in a lot of effort to protect the turtles. Talk to them and immerse yourself in their culture.
- Savor the local food.
- If you are traveling during the breeding season, then witness the magic of the turtle eggs hatching and babies crawling into the ocean.
How to Reach Velas from Pune
Here are some ways to travel from Pune to Velas beach:
There is no railway station in Velas. The nearest railway station is at Chiplun. There are two trains between Pune and Chiplun running on Sundays and Wednesdays. The train takes around 6 hours to reach Chiplun. You can book a Chiplun to Velas taxi and reach there within 3 hours. This is not a preferred means of travel from Pune to Velas since the time taken is very high (around 9-10 hours).
The Pune to Velas distance is around 192 km via the Tamhini Ghat Road. You can book a Pune to Velas taxi and reach within 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Velas does not have an airport either. The nearest airports are at Pune and Mumbai. You can hire a cab from the Pune Airport to Velas and reach comfortably.
How to Reach Velas from Mumbai
Here are some ways to reach Velas from Mumbai.
There is no railway station in Velas. The nearest railway station is at Chiplun. There are 52 trains between Mumbai and Chiplun. Of these, 17 trains run on all days of the week. The fastest train is the Veraval – Thiruvananthapuram Central Special (PT) that takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach Chiplun. You can book a Chiplun to Velas taxi and reach there within 3 hours. This is not a preferred means of travel from Mumbai to Velas since the time taken is very high.
The Mumbai to Velas distance is around 213 km via NH 66. You can opt for a Mumbai to Velas bus or book a cab from Mumbai to Velas and reach within 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Velas does not have an airport either. The nearest airports are at Pune and Mumbai. You can hire a cab from the Mumbai Airport to Velas and reach comfortably.
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Tourist Places to Visit Near Velas
Here are some places to visit near Velas:
- Murud Janjira – Located at a distance of around 78 km from Velas, Murud Janjira is known for its majestic forts, sandy beaches, and rows of palm and coconut trees. A quick boat ride can take you to the Janjira Kasa Fort that offers some mesmerizing views of the Arabian Sea.
- Kondvil Beach – Located at a distance of around 32 km via the Jasavli – Nigdi – Harihareshwar Mandir Road from Velas, Kondvil Beach is a pristine and unexplored beach at a 90-minute drive from Velas. With no commercialization, this is a perfect spot to enjoy the magnanimous Arabian Sea without any distraction.
- Kelshi – Located at a distance of around 31 km via the Velvi Keshi Road from Velas, Kelshi is another unexplored gem on the Konkan coast. Devoid of any commercial activities or shops, this is a great place to find serenity and quiet.
- Bankot Fort – Located at a distance of around 5 km, the Bankot Fort was an important and commanding point for the trade route along the River Savitri.
Places to Stay in Velas
There are no hotels or resorts here. Here are some homestay options in Velas:
- The Turtle Breeding Village, Mandangad – Devhare Road
- Daripkars Home Stay, Mandangadh
- Home Stay Sai Shraddha, Mandangad – Devhare Road
- Shri Samarth Krupa Home Stay, Dandavadi
- Turtle Nest Home Stay