Sunday, 30 September 2018

Weekend trip to Velas

We wanted to visit Konkan area during monsoon and we decided to visit Velas beach. It was our second visit to Velas. We contact Mohan Upadhye for stay arrangement and he offered his own house for stay. I just recovered from Surgery hence we were looking for a homestay. Mohan sir was in Mumbai for some work so he offered us his place.

Travellers for this trip were me and my wife Renuka.

way to Velas

About Velas:
Velas is a small village, famous for Olive Ridley turtle population that visits the Velas beach every year and lays their eggs during winter time. Best time to visit Velas is from Jan mid to March end. Bankot Fort is also few km away from Velas.

Best way to reach Velas is Pune - Tahmini - Mangaon - Goregaon - Mandangad - Velas. Road condition after Mandangad is in a horrible state. Also, road condition between Tahmini village and Tahmini ghat top is in a bad state.

While returning, we chose a different route. It was from Velas - Crossed Savitri river by Ferry - Harihareshwar - Goregaon - Mangaon - Tahmini - Pune. Road condition is much better than the Mandangad route. Road condition between Harihareshwar to Mandgaon (11km shorter than Harihareshwar-Goregaon) is in a horrible state.

Day 1: 29nd Sept 2018, Pune – Velas:
               We started our journey at 6 AM in the morning. We wanted to reach at Velas as soon as possible. We had our breakfast at “Quick bite” in Tahmini. Road condition till Tahmini stop was not in good shape but we gain speed after Tamhni ghat. There was beautiful greenery everywhere and a lot of flowers along the roadside making this journey more charming. It was difficult for me to go ahead without taking smalls breaks for photography.

Tahmini Ghat

              we visited Shiv temple which is just km before Devhare village. Shiv temple is small but built in Konkani style. Temple was surrounded by Forest. In the local language, it is known as Devrai. Shivling is very old and you can see other old Idols inside the temple. As per Locals, history of the temple is a cow instead of milking for her master, was delivering it on a stone in the jungle. Her annoyed master once followed her to that stone. Seeing the behaviour of the cow, he tried to axe the stone. As the axe hit the stone, the red blood emerged out of the stone. The master understood that this was not an ordinary stone; he apologized to the stone & started worshipping it. That stone is the Shiva-Linga (The symbol of Lord Shiva). I heard similar stories in different part of Konkan region.

Shiv temple at Devhare village

At Devhare Shiv temple

              We reached Velas by 1PM. Our meal arrangement was made at Chandrakant Jadhav's home who is a neighbour of Mohan Upadhye. Food was simple but tasty. after a meal, we visited Nana fadnavis (3rd Peshwa from Maratha emperor) statue as he belonged to Velas. After a quick visit, we came home for rest.

Nana fadnavis statue

              By 4:30 PM, we left for Velas beach. Velas is enclosed by mountains on three sides and open to the sea on the fourth. It is famous due to the Turtle Festival. Velas is also one of the popular breeding sites of Olive Ridley, which is an endangered species of turtle. Season to visit Velas for Turtle Festival is from January till March. Beach has black-brown soft sand and calm sea waves. Mohan Upadhye is one of the person from Velas to developed and maintained the breeding site for Turtles. we heard a lot of stories from Mohan on our first visit to Velas (the year 2015).

Sunset from Velas beach

              we returned home after a beautiful sunset from Velas beach. We had our Dinner at Suryakant Jadhav's home. Special thanks to Jadhav family for preparing separate food for me considering my post surgery requirements. Tomorrow's morning plan was to visit Velas outskirt area for birding. We got to know that Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher visit Velas every year during the Migration period. Chandrakant Jadhav knows the location so he agreed to join us.


  • Car fuel: INR 2500/- (Fuel rate was around INR 90/-)
  • Breakfast at Quick bite: approx INR 200/- for 2 people (Upama + Dosa + 2 Coffee)
  • Veg meal in Dinner: INR 320/- for 2 people

Day 2: 30th Sept 2018, Velas - Pune:
              We woke up by 6 and left the room by 6:30 AM for bird watching. Suryakant Jadhav joined us and we went nearby field. We spend an hour near the water stream where Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher visits. Our waits paid off as we saw beautiful Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. I was prepared to capture in camera but missed it. We saw other forest birds and came back for breakfast.

Nearby Velas
Bird watching trail with Z security... surprisingly Dogs were quite inside forest trail so we can focus on birding!

              After breakfast, we went towards Sakhari village which is on the south of Velas. You can see kelshi beach opposite the river creek. There is also a small Beach between Velas and Sakhari. There is no route to reach the un-named beach. You have to take a forest trail to reach the beach. Beach is very small with clam waves. we spend some time and then went for Bankot Fort which is located on the north of Velas.

Un-Named untouched small Beach

              Bankot creek was a major sea trade route; hence fort was important as a watchtower for the trade route. References of this fort are found in Greek traveller Pliny’s works in first century AD, where he refers to this fort as Mandargiri or Mandgor.In 1548, Portuguese won this fort from Adilshah. Later Kanhoji Angre captured this fort. In 1818, Commander James captured the fort and named it as Fort Victoria.

View from Bankot Fort

               Main entrance of this small fort is intact. You can see water tanks, Basement room and bastion on the fort. Fort is too small that it takes hardly 15-20 min to see the entire fort. From here we can have a glimpse of Savitri River and the surrounding region. Bankot fort has an interesting connection with Sir Arthur Mallet of the Arthur seat point fame at Mahabaleshwar.  He lost his wife and 32 days old daughter in a tragic ferry mishap at the creek.

Fort Entrance

                We returned to Velas after Bankot fort visit. We packed our bags and left beautiful Velas by 12. As Mandgangad route in the horrible state so we decided to travel via Harihareshwar. There is a Ferry service to cross the Savitri river. We went to Vesai village which is just 7 km from Velas. You can cross the River along with your car. Harihareshwar is around 4 km from Bagmandla.

Savitri River

              Harihareshwar is known as Kashi of Southern India. Temple is surrounded by Holy hills named as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv and Parvati. Temple and nearby area have huge mythology history associated with it. Pradakshina (Parikrama) route is unique and interesting. It starts behind the temple. You need to climb a small hill and then get down from another side. Take a walk around the rocky coastal hilly area which is exposed to strong sea waves and wind. Parikrama becomes very risky during high tide as the entire path is covered by sea waves with the strong water current. For monsoon, the route is closed for safety reasons.

Parikrama Path start point

Colour of Nature

              We left Harihareshwar by 2 PM and had lunch near Mhasala. We choose Tamhini Route for our return journey. Tamhini Ghat welcomed us with Heavy rainfall. We reached home safely by 9:30-10 PM


  • Breakfast: INR 110/- for 2 people
  • Car entry in Jetty with 1 person: INR 150/-
  • Jetty ticket for 1 person: INR 13/-
  • Parking at Harihareshwar temple: INR 40/-
  • Water Bottle: INR 20/-
  • Lunch at Mhasala: INR 154/- (2 Egg Burji + 2 Extra pair Pav)
  • Coffee in Tahmini: INR 40/-

Contact Number for reference:

  • Mohan Upadhe: 91895622778, 918983767388
  • Suryakant Jadhav: 917218053041

Tahmini Ghat

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni