Overview

The Velas Turtle Festival in Ratnagiri 

As March approaches, the tranquil village of Velas in Maharashtra's Konkan region springs to life, drawing travellers to the annual 'Velas Turtle Festival' dedicated to Olive Ridley turtle conservation. This festival held at Velas beach in Ratnagiri has garnered significant attention in the eco-tourism sector, both nationally and internationally. While the beach hosts conservation activities for turtle eggs, visitors to this pristine coastal village can partake in a plethora of local activities and culinary delights, transforming the festival into a cherished multi-day event.

Egg-laying typically commences in February, continuing through April as turtles return to the beach and hatch. While the festival, primarily focused on sea turtle conservation and the celebration of their natural breeding process, lacks fixed dates, March and April witness peak activities and tourist influx.

Renowned as one of India's premier eco-festivals, the Velas Turtle Festival attracts tourists, travelers, and volunteers from across the globe. Some arrive to nurture the tiny turtle hatchlings, others to capture the spectacle of these two-legged creatures making their way to the ocean, and many for the enriching eco-tourism experience by the shore.

Bankot Fort : Bankot Fort / Himmatgad Fort/ Fort Victoria is an important fort in Ratnagiri district. The Fort is located on a prominent and commanding point for guarding the trade route along the Savitri River, which runs till, Mahad which was a busy route in medieval times. It is a fort located on a hill near the sea.

Harihareshwar : Harihareshwar Temple is an ancient temple, sacred to Lord Shiva. Hugging the beaches towards the northern edges of Harihareshwar, the temple is a melange of natural beauty and spiritual enhancement. This temple is religiously significant as the holy river Savitri that originates at Mahableshwar merges with the Arabian Sea at Harihareshwar. Harihareshwar temple is also known as ‘Devghar’ or ‘House of God.’ Inside the ancient temple, there is 'linga.' In the medieval period, Peshwas contributed towards the construction of the temple.

2 Nights 2 Days Available on request
Highlights
  • Witness Turtle Taking First Step.
  • Watch and Learn about Turtle Hatching
  • Sunrise & Sunset view from Beach
  • Ferry Ride to Harihareshwar
  • Velas Beach
  • Bankot Fort Visit
  • Harihareshwar Beach
  • Harihareshwar Temple
  • Konkani Home Stay
Itinerary
DAY - 0 Pune / Mumbai

Pune

  • 10:00 PM :The journey will start from Ch. Shivaji Nagar, Pune
  • 10:30 PM : Followed by further pickup points Aundh, Hinjewadi Chowk.

Mumbai

  • 10:00 PM : Departure from Mumbai (Borivali-Andheri-Sion-Thane-Kalyan)
DAY - 1
  • 05:00 AM :  Arrive in Velas and head directly to the beach for the Morning hatching session of the turtles.
  • 06.00 AM : Witness the Turtle hatching session 
  • 08.00 AM : Explore the beach and have fun time. 
  • 08:30 AM : Head towards our Konkani-style homestay. Get freshen up and Have Breakfast.
  • 10:30 AM : Head to Bankot fort. 
  • 02:30 PM : Have a home-cooked & Hygienic lunch. Post lunch, you can rest till evening. 
  • 05:00 PM : Visit Velas Turtle Beach again to see more Olive Ridley Turtles & & witness a mesmerizing sunset at beachsite.
  • 07:00 PM : Post sightseeing, a briefing session would be taken to educate about Olive Ridley Turtles. Spend the night with fellow travellers enjoying group games, sharing stories and experiences, etc. 
  • 09:00 PM : Have dinner.
  • 10:30 PM : Rest for the day. 
DAY - 2
  • 06:00 AM : Wake up early morning with the new hope of sighting baby turtles into the sea. 
  • 09:00 AM : Have breakfast, and leave for Harihareshwar. This is when you will experience one of the most interesting moments of the Velas turtle festival tour, where our bus will be transferred from one district to another in a jetty via sea route. We will explore Harihareshwar Temple and explore the beach.
  • 02:00 PM : Have a yummy lunch and leave for Pune. 
  • 11:00 PM : Reach to Pune / Mumbai (around 9-10 PM tentatively). Velas Turtle Festival 2024 concludes here with some unforgettable memories.

Note - 1-2hrs buffer time is possible depending on the travellers, traffic on the road & other unavoidable circumstances during the trip.

Dates and Rates
date & duration price
  • Sorry no more departures available. You could get in touch with us at support@maharashtragadkille.com if you'd like to make a booking.
  • Inclusions/Exclusions

    What is included in the tour

    • Pune to Pune Travel by AC bus
    • Hatching session charges 
    • 2 Breakfast and Tea
    • 2 Lunch 
    • 1 Dinner
    • Accommodation in a typical Konkani bungalow(homestay) on sharing basis.
    • (Velas is an eco-tourism village and separate rooms/hotel accommodation is not available)
    • Basic First Aid (if required)
    • Ferry Ride
    • Trek leader expertise
    • Entry fees and sightseeing cost. 
    • Guide charges.
    • Our Badge

    What is NOT included in the tour

    • Any kind of cost which is not mentioned in the inclusion of this package.
    • Any kind of personal expense like Mineral water/lime water/ Soft Drinks/ Extra snacks or meals that are not mentioned in the inclusions, purchased for personal consumption. 
    • All expenses incurred due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances like roadblocks, bad weather, accidents etc. 
    • Any Medical/Emergency evacuations if required. 
    • Any kind of Insurance is not included.
    Things To Carry

    ESSENTIALS : ID Proof, Water Bottle, Power Backup, Wallet, Backpack. 

    CLOTHING : Full sleeve shirt/top & full pants for Trek, Extra pair of Clothes as per need, Raincoat /Jacket / Sweater, Trekking shoes, Quick Dry Towel, Cap.

    ADDITIONALS : Energy Drinks/Supplements, Dry Snacks, Facewash, Sunscreen, Brush & Toothpaste, Sunglasses, Hankerchief, Gloves, Camera, Torch, Personal medicines if any, etc.

    Coupen Code Available

    • GROUP4  (for 4+ bookings)

    • GROUP9  (for 9+ bookings)

     

    How To Book
    • Step 1: Scroll down & tap on "BOOK NOW"
    • Step 2 : Select your departure date from the calendar and proceed.
    • Step 3 : Select your ticket type & no. of participants. (At this step you can use the coupon code if you have any)
    • Step 4 : Fill your details and proceed.
    • Step 5 : Tap on review & Payment to select your payment type (UPI, Debit Card, Credit Card, Net Banking) and proceed.
    • Step 6 : Once your tickets are booked, you will receive confirmation mail. WhatsApp us the booking ID details on  8799856476 & fill the google registration form.  

    OR 

    • Step 1 : Make Payment on PhonePay/Google Pay   8799856476 (Maharashtra Gadkille)
    • Step 2 : Send a screenshot of the payment on WhatsApp number  8799856476 for confirmation.
    • Step 3 : Fill the registration form for the final booking procedure.
    •  
    Offers
    Use any one code to avail this offer
    - Save on group of 3 and more!
    - Save on group of 7 and more!
    Pickup Points
    • 10:00 PM : Ch. Shivaji Nagar in Front of Bank of Maharashtra 
    • 10:30 PM : Aundh
    • 10:45 PM : Wakad Bridge
    • 11:00 PM :  Hinjewadi Chowk
    Terms and Condition
    • Please confirm on call about the seats availability before paying.
    • Kindly note that incase of no sighting zero refund is applicable as hatching is a natural phenomenon and Maharashtra Gadkille does not hold any control on the same.
    • Once the payment is completed, inform our team via sharing a screenshot/copy of the payment confirmation. Make sure the date, time, and UTR number are visible in the copy and please fill the registration form to confirm your seats, names & age with the team.
    • Do note that your registration will be confirmed only after the acceptance of complete trek/tour charges.
    • Please note that the advance amount paid would not not refunded in any case, except if the trek/tour departure is cancelled by us. Do check cancellation policy in case any refunds or cancellations.
    • First two seats will always be reserved for leaders to lead & show route to the driver. 
    • Seats arrangement will be on first come first serve basis at the time of pickup and it will be same throughout journey. (Any disputes regarding seating arrangement would result in dismissal of both the parties and would not be liable for any refunds.) 
    • Please make sure you are added in the whatsapp group 6-8 hours prior to the trip as all the pickup & lead details would be shared in the group. 
    • Food and Stay arrangements are done as per the availability of the locations so kindly don't expect too luxurious. 
    • Backpacking trips are arranged for the people who are looking out for pocket friendly trips and are more about chasing experiences. 
    • We need at least 12-14 Travellers to manage our Trip, so our team reserves all the rights to cancel the Trip if the minimum batch size is not enough.
    • Your payment implies that you have read & complied with all our terms and conditions.
    FAQs

    About Olive Ridley Turtles

    • The Olive Ridley turtles were classified as 'endangered' long ago. In 1992, Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM), a non-profit organization, collaborated with the Marine Conservation Society and the local community to dedicate efforts towards conserving this unique turtle species.
    • Primarily during February and March, numerous Olive Ridleys migrate to the western coast of Maharashtra to lay eggs, with 40% choosing the Velas beach. Arriving late at night, each female deposits around 80-120 eggs, which dedicated volunteers protect from predators and poachers.
    • Previously, eggs were sold in markets or destroyed by dogs, but conservation endeavors have led to a notable increase in the Ridley population. Volunteers carefully relocate the eggs to safer nests in the sand. After an incubation period of 40 days, the hatchlings emerge and embark on their journey to the ocean.
    • The release of hundreds of turtles into the ocean is a captivating spectacle, attracting nature enthusiasts, first-time visitors, and photographers alike. Releases occur twice daily, once in the morning sunlight and again in the sultry evenings.
    • Complementing this unique experience is the unforgettable eco-village immersion, where visitors reside in local homes and engage with coastal villagers.

    Eco-tourism Trip and Awareness

    • The Velas Turtle Festival transcends beyond the hatching season and picturesque beaches; it serves a more profound purpose. Olive Ridley Turtles, an endangered species, find refuge at Velas, where the Marine Conservation Society hosts an annual festival to raise awareness and promote eco-tourism.

    Where can Olive Ridley Turtles be found on the Konkan coast?

    • Besides Velas, Olive Ridley Turtles inhabit various beautiful beaches along the Konkan coast, including Guhagar, Harihar, Velas Agar, Anjarle, and Wayangani. Notably, some of the finest beaches include Diveghar, Shirvardhan, Harihareshwar, Bankot, Kelshi, and Ganapatipule. We will cover Harihareshwar and Velas Beach due to tour constraints. Limited turtle conservation projects are accessible for tourist visits, facilitated by the forest department and conservation teams.

    What food is served at Velas Village Homestay?

    • Our Velas Turtle Festival stay offers locally prepared Jain, Vegetarian, and Non-vegetarian meals, reflecting Konkani cuisine. Known for hospitality and culinary delights, Velas homestay owners accommodate a surge of tourists during the turtle festival.

    Is mobile connectivity available at Velas Village?

    • Mobile network coverage is sporadic near the village. Idea sim cards offer reliable reception. However, power outages are common, necessitating the use of power banks. Bankot has better mobile connectivity than Velas Village.

    What activities can be enjoyed at Velas Turtle Festival?

    • Velas Village offers a range of activities during the Kasav Festival. Bird watching enthusiasts can spot diverse avian species and participate in identification competitions. Evening bonfires illuminate specific spots, providing a cozy atmosphere. Explore the historical significance of Bankot Fort, indulge in the turtle festival, embark on coastal walks, relax by the beach, and witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Dolphin watching is possible from Velas and Harihareshwar beaches. Nearby, Anjarle hosts its turtle festival, boasting untouched beauty. Suvarnadurg Fort boat rides and fish auctions at Harney Beach are memorable experiences. Visit Harihareshwar Temple and peruse local markets for authentic produce.

    What are the timings for the Velas Turtle Festival and hatchling releases?

    • Arrive at Velas Beach by 6:30 am for morning releases and 5:30 pm for evening ones. Velas Turtle Festival dates are coordinated by the forest department and the Kasav Mitra Mandal Velas conservation team, releasing baby Olive Ridley Turtles around sunrise and sunset daily.

    Are washrooms available on the trek?

    • Washrooms are available at the base village only. No facility is available during the trek.  

    Is this trek safe for girls?

    • This trek is completely safe for girls And have separate changing rooms.

    What about extra baggage?

    • You can safely keep your extra bags in bus

    Are changing rooms available?

    • Changing rooms and washrooms are available at the base village

    What are the pickup points?

    • Pick up is available if your location comes in between our route for this you have to contact us before.

    What is the type of bus?

    • The bus is NON/AC Tempo Traveler with decent seating comfort.