We Indians celebrate numerous festivals throughout the year with much zest and vigour. Most of these festivals are religious rituals and rarely do we have any event to celebrate the nature around us. Earth Day on April 22 and World Environment Day on June 5 are two of the very few times in the year when we remember Mother Nature.
Interestingly, there is a festival organized in Maharashtra exclusively for turtles! Sea turtles are endangered species due to poaching and habitat destruction. All of the five species of marine turtles found in the sea waters around the Indian subcontinent are listed as either endangered or threatened species. Among these, Olive Ridley turtles have a distinct behaviour of forming Arribadas, which are mass gatherings of female turtles to lay eggs on the shore. In India, these Arribadas mass gatherings are observed in Orissa and Maharashtra.
The turtle conservation programme which is also known as Turtle Festival was started in Velas , way back in 2002 by Vishwas (Bhau) Katdhare of Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra which is an eco-conservation NGO in Maharashtra, came forward to provide protection to sea turtle eggs which were being hunted in the Konkan Coast. Village Velas is thankful to Vishwas (Bhau) Katdhare of Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra for educating them for protection of Turtle and nature conservation. The turtle festival is an opportunity for metro-tourists to bid best wishes to the newly born sea turtle hatchlings while crawling towards their home.