As soon as I took my first step out of the Pune International Airport, my eyes landed on an advertisement about the Velas Turtle Festival, a human-sized banner with many turtles on it and the turquoise ocean behind them. The top part of the banner said, “Attend the Velas Turtle Festival and witness something unique and astounding!”
I am not into turtles or anything related to them, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after looking at the banner and After I reached my hotel room, I booked a cab using a cab booking app to take me to Ratnagiri. It was not a part of my plan, but I needed to calm my curiosity. The trip from my hotel room to Ratnagiri was six hours, but my excitement didn’t allow me to tire out. The weather was a little humid for a North-Indian like me, but the breeze was soothing. The sun was shining slightly through the thin clouds, making the weather perfect for travelling. Turtles are not some amniotes seen frequently in North India, and one of my main reasons to visit Maharashtra was to see such animals and birds that are not found in North India.
At the Velas Beach
Velas beach itself is a sight to behold. The horizon, the booths, the stalls, everything was fascinating. Many eco-friendly camps used environmental-friendly plates and spoons to preserve the beauty and nature of the beach. While I enjoyed a small snack at the beach, I heard some shouting coming from a little far away. I quickly finished my food and rushed to the spot, astonished by the sight in front of me. There, on the sand, were hundreds of turtles coming out from the ocean towards the land. I never thought I would get to see so many turtles at the same time!
Around us were the members of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra NGO, the forest department, and the villagers. They were calmly instructing the bystanders to maintain a safe distance from the turtles so that they wouldn’t run away in fear. I looked around me; people were capturing the scenes in front of them on their mobile phones, but I was least interested in that. Witnessing a rare sight like this, which happens only for a few days of March, is a fun activity that cannot be enjoyed using mobile phones! After the half-hour event ended, I got the opportunity to speak to one of the old villagers, whose name I do not wish to disclose. I asked him about the turtles and what exactly this festival was, and he was too glad to tell me everything about this.
About Velas Turtle Festival
He told me he had been witnessing this festival since its beginning in 2006. Each year the turtles come to the shore of Velas beach, lay their eggs, and take care of them. It is extremely heartwarming to see these small baby turtles grow up to their feet and embark on a vast journey into the ocean. He informed me that this festival’s basic motive was to celebrate the hatching of these baby turtles and welcome them to this world Such a beautiful gesture!
I nodded, gave my thanks, and left.
After my overwhelming experience at the festival, I decided to stay for a couple of days to do some exploring in Ratnagiri and its picturesque beaches and I finally hired a reliable car rentals service to take me back to Pune! As I rested my head on the window of my cab, I realized that happiness doesn’t come from big events but the small happenings around us.