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. It is a coastal town that is famous for beaches, Harihareshwar temple, Bankot fort, and the most promising Turtle Festival.
Table of Contents
- Things to do in Velas
- Geography of Velas
- Turtle Festival Velas
- How to plan a trip to Velas
- Places to stay in Velas
Things to Do in Velas
Here are some things to do in this beautiful little beach town to make your trip unforgettable:
- Explore the village and look at the way the villagers live in sync with nature.
- Since there are no hotels or resorts in this village 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.
Places to Visit in Velas
Here is a quick look at some famous places-
- Velas Beach – While the Olive Ridley Turtles are a crowd-puller, the 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 the 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 here.
- The Shiva Temple – Right in the center of the 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.
Tourist Places to Visit Nearby
Here are some places to visit nearby-
- Murud Janjira – Located at a distance of around 78 km from this beach town, 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 the town, Kondvil Beach is a pristine and unexplored beach at a 90-minute drive from here. With no commercialization, this is a perfect spot to enjoy the magnanimous Arabian Sea without any distractions.
- Kelshi – Located at a distance of around 31 km via the Velvi Keshi Road from this town, 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.
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 in 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. From February to March, the western coast of Maharashtra witnesses the arrival of numerous Olive Ridley turtles who lay their eggs, with nearly 40% of them choosing Velas beach. To protect these eggs from predators and poachers, a team of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to guard them. Velas Turtle festival 2023 dates are from February to April last weekend. Many people visit during this time to witness the hatching of eggs and watch baby turtles crawl out of their shells and enter the ocean.
How to Plan a Trip to Velas
How to Reach Velas from Pune
There is no railway station in this town. 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 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
There is no railway station in the town. 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 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.
The coastal town 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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Best Time to Visit Velas
The Turtle Festival is celebrated between March and April every year. Hence, this is the best time to visit the beach. Apart from the Turtle Festival, there are many other things to do. 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 during this time.
Places to Stay in Velas
There are no hotels or resorts here. Here are some homestay options-
- 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
Witness the beauty of Velas by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.
For more such places to visit near Mumbai, you can read our elaborate travel guide.
Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Shabari Shankar