Travel: Two Great Reasons To Hit The Beach This February With The India Surf Festival & The Konkan Turtle Festival

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While North America and Europe shiver and freeze, most parts of India are still warm and sunny. Those living anywhere along India’s western and eastern coastlines can grumble about the lack of a winter, or we can simply look on the bright side; we don’t have to wait until summer to smear on some sun-screen and head to the beach. Looking for an excuse to get out of Mumbai and laze by the sea? We’ll give you two, the India Surf Festival and the Konkan Turtle festival. Also check out our post on Ragasthan for a reason to travel to the dunes for a music festival.

Water sports at the ISF
Water sports at the ISF

The India Surf Festival: for an eco-friendly adrenaline rush
India has such a long beautiful coastline, it’s almost blasphemous that our beaches have been ignored by surfers for so many years. Things are definitely looking promising for wave riders in India. In the last five years surfing as a sport has gained popularity. Lots of surfers from around the world visit India’s coastline. More importantly locals are taking to the sport as well. The India Surf Festival, which is in its third edition demonstrates the fact.

This year’s event will take place over three days, the 14th, 15th & 16th of February, in Puri (Odisha). A little bit of a journey away from Mumbai, but Odisha’s gorgeous beaches are definitely worth the trip. The India Surf Festival is open to everyone, even those who’ve never laid eyes on a surf board. It welcomes eco-crusaders, musicians, artists, businessmen looking for a break and everyone in between. Surfing is just an excuse; as event organizers explain “ISF is not just about adrenaline and lifestyle water sports but a festival which has huge potential to make you ecologically sensible, let you connect with your inner-self, make good friends and gives attendees lots of exposure to art, music and low impact celebration.” 

Music & meditation at the India Surf Festival
Music & meditation at the India Surf Festival

What they mean by ‘low-pact’ is that organizers are very particular about being eco-friendly. Most cultural festivals end with complete destruction of the venue, but in at ISF attendees are urged to reduce waste and clean up after themselves. This year ISF invites guests to help rebuild parts of Odisha destroyed by cyclone Phallin by planting trees in the area. To register for this festival with a generous green heart, just follow the link.

Baby olive ridley turtles, image courtesy Must See India
Baby olive ridley turtles, image courtesy Must See India

The Konkan Turtle Festival: to witness one of nature’s many wonders
This festival is the result of the wondrous cycle of nature and takes place every year whether or not we humans make a big deal about it. It’s quite amazing really! Turtles instinctively return to their birthplace every year and females lay their eggs on exactly the same beach where they were born. Nature has programmed them that way. And we in Maharashtra are very lucky to be within such proximity of this beautiful occurrence. Olive Ridley Turtles visit the region of Velas, in the Ratnagiri district on the Konkan coast to lay eggs.

Visitors watching hatchlings, image courtesy Ganesh Dabolkar
Visitors watching hatchlings, image courtesy Ganesh Dabolkar

Turtles are now endangered and need our protection in order to survive. So the Government of Maharashtra and the Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, together with environmentalists and nature-lovers organize this annual festival to aid conservation. Once mother turtles lay their eggs, they are dug up and transported to hatcheries by trained experts, where they can incubate and hatch. This increases their chances of survival, and protects them from other predators and pollution. Once they hatch, they are released back into the ocean. It’s impossible to predict exact dates, but it is possible to spot turtles only from the end of February to the middle of March. This is the only chance you’ll get this year to watch those adorable little hatchlings stumbling their way across the sand and into the sea.

People visiting aren’t allowed very close to the turtles, and certainly aren’t allowed to touch them, but just watching them is nothing sort of spiritual! Plus by attending, a part of the money you spend goes towards protecting these beautiful creatures. You can visit the festival independently, or go along with tour organizers like The Western Routes, Mumbai Travellers or Mumbai Hikers.

There you go! Now we’ve given you too very meaningful reasons to take a quick springtime beach vacation.

Post By Salonee Gadgil (86 Posts)

I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.

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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil
I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.