Dolphins at Dapoli
Dapoli is a quiet town on the coast of Ratnagiri district with long beaches packed with coconut palms and simple sea-side resorts. Its markets are famous for a variety of salt-water fish and lobsters and its restaurants for spicy, lip-smacking Konkani food. However, the coast is most popular for its grey and black dolphin sightings. At 6 am, on either Murud or Harne beach, fishermen wait with their motor boats and ferries that seat about 15 people. In the summers, the warm waters and limited coastal activity make this an ideal spot for dolphins to breed. As the boat cuts through the waters, the waves start getting bigger and the boat starts swaying. At five kilometres from the coast, on a lucky day, you will see dozens of dolphins splashing, jumping and bobbing in twos and threes in the rough waters of the Arabian sea.
Crocodiles at Chiplun
Maldoli, a village near Chiplun in Ratnagiri, is a backwater where one can spot the rare Marsh crocodile. The village is situated on the banks of the river Vashishti and one can find accomodation in tiny huts and cottages along the banks of the river. One can travel there on ferries and on any given day, visitors can spot anything between eight to 20 crocodiles at a distance of about 10 feet. The summer is especiall a good time to spot them since the cold-blooded animals often come to out to bask in the sun.
Turtles at Velas
Velas, a humble hamlet on the Konkan coast, has barely woken up at sunrise before a group of tourists already makes its way to the pristine white-sand beach. In a corner on the beach, an upside-down wicker basket rattles supiciously. “There are newborn turtles underneath, waiting to step out,” whispers Saurabh Thakekar, co-founder of Mumbai Travellers, a city-based group that has been conducting trips to the destination. From February to May, hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs on the Konkan coast. Thanks to the good climate and quiet surroundings, Velas is a favoured destination. They lay more than 150 eggs in a hole, cover it with sand and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch. Next morning, to save the nests from predators, volunteers carry the nest to a protected spot and cover it with a wicker basket. Sixty days later, these palm-sized Olive Ridley turtles come to life. These newborns are then placed close to the waves. On instinct alone and cheered on by an excited crowd, they scamper towards the sea. “It would have been easier to just leave them in the water but female turtles often return to the same shore they were born on to lay eggs,” says Thakekar.
Give till it arts
Until 2007, a group of folk performers from the Kashmir valley, who were practitioners of ‘Bhand Pather’, satire-laden musicals, found themselves struggling to perform due to lack of funds. This was until they found support in theatre actor and director M K Raina, who hails from Kashmir. Raina got in touch with the India Foundation for Arts (IFA), which helped them ‘grant’ their wishes. The India Foundation for Arts, based in Banglore, comes to Mumbai for the first time with a variety of art forms in their two day event called the India Foundation for Arts Festival, which will be held at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, this weekend. Explaining why IFA chose to come to Mumbai, deputy director Arundhati Ghosh says, “Our primary objective is to create a cultural hub as well as to attract sponsors to help artistes secure funding for their endeavours.” Puppeteer Varun Narain, who will be holding workshops at the event, got his first grant through IFA in 2008, which helped him immensely. He says, “IFA is one of those rare organisations who don’t impose restrictions on artistes because they understand the language and ideas of every artiste."
— Rashi Talreja
Tichee 17 Prakarne: A Marathi play by Pune-based theatre group Aasakta Kalamanch, it is an abstract portrayal of a woman who is suspected of being an international terrorist but appears to be as common as a person staying next door.
Out Of Thin Air: This is a funny documentary on Ladakh’s thriving film industry, in which the Buddhist monks, taxi drivers and shopkeepers attempt to make their own masala movie. This documentary will be shown on both days from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm and 6 pm - 8 pm respectively.
Unusual Puppets (for adults & children): Puppeteer Varun Narain will be conducting a workshop on both days between 2 pm and 4 pm wherein he will teach participants to create life-sized puppets. He will also be conducting an exercise called ‘Meet The Puppets’, which features an interaction between one of his puppets and participants. This will be held on both days between 6 pm and 8 pm.