5 offbeat destinations to ring in the New Year far from the city’s buzz

Velas: Velas in Ratnagiri district is a tranquil village located 220km from Mumbai. It is famous for the Olive Ridely turtles, an endangered species that lays eggs along the coastline.

Vengurla–Mochema: Located at 25 km from Sawantwadi, Vengurla is a beautiful coastal town with an excellent beach and a port. The Dutch and Portuguese conducted trade activities on a large scale through the Vengurla port. The beach near the port has some beautiful spots where you can relax on boulders and look at the ships and boats in the sea. The Mochemad village, 10km from Vengurla, also has a beautiful beach. One can also visit the Terekhol fort and Bhogwe beach.

Panhalekaji Caves:The ‘Leni’ or caves at Panhalekaji are located on Dapoli–Dabhol Road. The place is situated deep in the valley near the confluence of Kotjai and Dhakti rivers. You can drive up to the caves and spot birds and reptiles in the surrounding jungle and river. There are 29 caves and many sculptures around the area. The carvings in the caves date from the 3rd to the 14th century..

Ratnadurg and Bhagwati forts: These forts in Ratnagiri were built during the Bijapur dynasty and captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from Adilshah. Spread across 120 acres, the forts are located on a hill with three sides facing the sea. The Bhagwati fort has a temple of Bhagwati Devi.

Guhagar: Located 42km from Chiplun, this typical Konkani town has a pristine beach where you can watch the sunset.