It was not until I saw the Konkan coastline that I could believe that finally, I was going to make it to the village of Velas in Ratnagiri. Little did I know it was just a start of 2 days I am never going to forget.
Velas, this quaint little village is everything a country lover like me would want to spend time in. It has 3 km stretch of beach shore. A short trail from the wilderness that leads to the beach from the village. Mountains and hills as the backdrop. And since it was summer, there were Mango trees all blooming with raw mangoes and few ripe ones that just makes you want to climb the tree and relish them sitting on one of those branches.
The trail leading to the beach is a good 2 km walk from the village. The walk in the morning is just what you need, to feel the difference that most of us living in city miss. A walk through the jungle is as good as trying to cross the street at Pune University circle. Here we dodge cars, buses, bikes, mopeds, and bicycles. There I had to be careful of crabs who have also just woken up and were searching for some breakfast. One also has to be careful of not disturbing the ant hill as they take offense very easily.
One thing that has always fascinated me, no matter how many beaches I go to or how many times I go there, is the evident crashing of waves at the shore. The smell of the sea and the sudden saltiness in the air which lures you further.
As I neared the beach and when I saw the endless Arabian Sea, I knew the journey of yesterday in MSRTC was completely worth it. When I turned around to face the east of the sky, it changed from the inky blue of the night to the shades of color that I couldn’t possibly quite describe. And the view from where I stood was just spectacular.
But the reason for me to come to Velas wasn’t just to unwind at the beach but for the Velas Turtle Festival. The fact about Velas is, it is also called as the Village of Turtle.
It was the day of Padwa, a very auspicious day in Maharashtra. It marks the beginning of the New Year according to lunisolar Hindu calendar. This year it also marked the birthday of 11 baby turtles who took the first step of their life. As they moved towards the sea, the trails left by their flippers were the marks that represented that 11 more of marine life has survived and hopefully in X years their babies would follow their flippers-step!
There are moments that you just want to capture in camera and then there are moments when you just want to live them. For the brief moment you forget all your gadgets, technology and even people around you. You are just drinking in the moment with your mind, soul, and body. This was one such moment when I saw these babies take their first steps in the sea. They were embarking on a whole new adventure. The Sun had just risen but the crowd surrounding them made it impossible for the rays to touch them. It was the nature that was guiding them. The sea was calling to them. It really was the call of the sea that they heard and made their way towards it.