Velas Beach: After dawn, small little heads of Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings, with shiny eyes, pop out of the beach, take a precautionary look around and breathe the fresh air of the nearby Arabian Sea. And then, you witness the best, at top speed, they start their journey towards the cool sea waters, even as excited nature lovers and witness this spectacle. Its amazing to see how the hatchlings, with no knowledge of the sea or even their mother, like robots, rush to the sea immediately after taking birth. It is said that even though you place them in the opposite direction, they will still go towards the direction of the sea. If you don’t want to miss this, then Velas beach is the place to be in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra Konkan region.
Velas beach, a village in Ratnagiri district is around 200 km south of Mumbai is leaving no stone unturned to save the turtles from disaster. Ten years ago, before the conservation effort started, most of the Olive Ridley turtle eggs were either consumed by humans, dogs and other wild animals. But with awareness and large-scale participation of locals, 19000 hatchlings have been released in the decade long effort. From the start of the nesting season beginning November, locals maintain a vigil for the female Olive Ridley turtles that come home to nest. Females lay up to three clutches per season, one clutch containing between 90-150 eggs. The eggs, size of ping pong balls, are collected and incubated in a hatchery constructed on the beach by the locals. Each clutch is marked by its date and left to incubate naturally.
Homestays: Velas is beautiful tiny village and the locals provide shelter and food for a nominal price . Homestays are also approved by MTDC. Few homestay photos are given below.
Room Rates: Prices mentioned below are for 2 Adults per night inclusive of breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner. For Group of more than 10 persons, Price Rs. 600 per person per day inclusive of 3 Veg meals and Rs. 800 per person per day for Non Veg meals.
|Non AC Room|
|Days||Veg Meals||Non Veg Meals|
|Price||Rs. 1400||Rs. 1800|
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Places of tourist attraction near Velas:
Bankot: The name Bankot is derived from “Bavanna Kot” a Marathi phrase meaning fifty-two forts. The Great Shivaji Maharaj captured this tiny fort and added it to Swarajya, which was the fifty second fort and hence the name “Ban Kot”. It is a coastal area on the Arabian Sea with attractive beaches.
On the sides of Bankot fort, there is a dry moat (Revni) dug out in the Jambhya stone. Jambhya stone is peculiar type of stone adorning a purple shade and peculiarly it is incapable of storing water as the water invariable percolates through it owing to its much porous nature. The main entrance (Mahadarwaja) of the fort is north-facing with a well sculpted arch and carvings. Watch guards dug out (Devdya) align on both sides of the Mahadarwaja with some pits being dug out in the right Devdi. On the left, there are steps leading towards Nagarkhana while there is an underground storey and a tunnel on the right. A Maruti idol in the centre stands deserted now. On the west, there is a small entrance (Darwaja) leading to a Bastion on the exterior of the fortifications. A deep well (now dry and filled) occupied the centre of this bastion earlier and the adjacent water tanks too are dry and obsolete now. One can leave the Buruj via a small exit that leads to the surrounding moat and a beautiful “Revni” lying nearby.
Harihareshwar Lord Shiva temple:
Harihareshwar is a town in Raigad district, in Maharashtra, India. It is surrounded by four hills named Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri. The river Savitri enters the Arabian Sea from the town of Harihareshwar. Towards the north of the town is the temple of Lord Harihareshwar, said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva. Hence Harihareshwar is often referred to as Dev-ghar or “house of God”.
Besides a major pilgrimage center, Harihareshwar is a popular beach resort with two beaches, one to the north and the other to the south of the temple. MTDC has a resort on the south beach. Harihareshwar, along with Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach forms a popular weekend beach destination from Pune (190 km) and Mumbai (210 km).
Harihareshwar Temple complex has two adjacent temples. The smaller Kalbhairav temple is expected to be visited first, before entering the main Harihareshwar temple housing an ancient Shiva Linga. A pradakshina route goes around the temple, along the sea shore. It is not advisable to go on this route during high tide.