It’s our belief that travel is as much about learning and enriching experiences as taking a break.
We encourage you to venture beyond the lodge and get a taste of what this diverse state has to offer the curious explorer.
Visiting the nomadic Maldhari tribes in their thatched nesses, rambling through the cobbled streets of our nearest village or observing the rare dancing lights over India’s largest salt marsh by night – these are just some of the magical journeys that make up an authentically Indian experience at Aramness Gir.
We’re all about flexibility. Take your pick or have us tailor an experience that speaks to your interests.
GET TO KNOW OUR CULTURE
What defines the culture of Gujarat?
Gujaratis are warm, generous of spirit and instinctively hospitable.
These traits are ones which you’ll experience both at the lodge and beyond.
Despite Gujarat being one of India’s most industrialised states and Gujaratis being one of India’s most entrepreneurial workforces, the local traditions are fervently preserved by young and old. We are proud people made up of a patchwork of cultural and religious influences that run deep but coexist peaceably.
Get a more intimate understanding of our local culture on a guided tour of our nearest village – Haripur. Here, you’ll get first-hand experience of the sway of local life, admire the traditional architecture and stop to enjoy a hot chapati from the coals.
MEET THE MALDHARIS
The semi-nomadic herders who live among the lions.
Traditionally the dairy men of the region, the Maldhari are an important part of Gujarat ethnicity.
The word Maldhari comes from the combination of mal (animal stock) dhari (keeper).
The culture of this tribe is one which Aramness Gir is devoted to supporting. These herding clans have lived within Sasan Gir National Park for thousands of years, roaming its lands for most of the year in search of pastures for their livestock. It’s believed that their coexistence with the Asiatic lions is part of the reason this species has survived, with both man and animal benefitting mutually.
The Maldharis are renowned for their keen knowledge of animals, as well as their mastery of traditional crafts such as embroidery and jewellery making. Adorning themselves with these items, they use them to signify social status and belief systems. A trip with us to meet the Madharis would offer a rare opportunity to learn about these herders, their way of life and their customs. If you’re lucky, you might experience the colourful kite festival, or you’ll be one of the few to witness the one day a year when all Maldhari weddings happen.
EXPLORE A HINDU TEMPLE
A paragon of religious architecture.
This temple is a highlight for architectural devotees and religious visitors.
This extraordinary architectural wonder is perched proudly on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
One and a half hour's drive from Gir, a trip to the Somnath Temple in Prabhas Patan on the western coast, is a journey well worth making. It is believed to be the first of the 12 Maha Jyotirlinga shrines of the Hindu God Shiva.
The present temple was reconstructed in 1951 by Vallabhbhai Patel and is one of the 12 remaining Shiva temples in India. It’s a fine example of Chaulukyan architecture with 7 storeys, intricately carved in limestone, showing off the skills of Gujarat’s master masons - the Sompura Salat.
BE AWED BY THE WHITE DESERT
Ethereal landscapes meet vast vistas.
Experience India’s largest salt marsh and one of the world’s biggest at around 7500 km².
This white desert in Kutch, Gujarat, offers otherworldly scenes and immense panoramas and is home to the Kutchi people.
A stay with us between December and February would coincide with the Rann Utsav festival in the desert, a lively celebration of Gujarat music, dance and culture. Alternatively, take an overnight trip and – if you’re one of the lucky few – you may witness the unexplained “dancing light” phenomenon here called Chir Batti (the ghost lights).
“Ours is a markedly gentle approach that fosters a deep respect for the natural world.”
WITNESS INDIA’S RARE LIONS
Venture into Gir National Park and experience spectacular wildlife.
The Park is home to the only surviving Asiatic lions in the world.
Join our twice-daily safaris to find out why our Founder Jimmy Patel rates Sasan Gir as one of the most underestimated of India’s National Parks.
The number of Asiatic lions, brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1970’s has climbed to over 670 at the latest count. Glimpsing these lions in their natural habitat is a moving experience, not to be underestimated.
Guests are further rewarded with the opportunity to experience 37 species of mammals including striped hyena and leopard, 35 species of reptiles and over 300 species of birds such as the endangered Lesser Florican as well as a host of migratory birds.
EXPLORE THE GRASSLAND CAPITAL OF INDIA
Once the hunting grounds of the princely state of Bhavnagar.
The Velavadar grasslands are a protected area called Blackbuck National Park.
These golden grasslands are situated not far from the Little Rann of Kutch and situated near the Gulf of Khambhat.
At one time, these were hunting grounds of the princely state of Bhavnagar where cheetahs used to hunt blackbucks. The park is most notable for being one of the few places in the world with a healthy wolf population – the endangered Indian wolf is the number one predator here. Other animals of note include hyenas, fox, jackal, blackbucks, jungle cat and wild pig. The birdlife here is also extensive.
The park is 200 kilometres from Aramness which is a four hour drive.