A name has so much meaning, from the energy it carries to the place, culture and experience it represents.
The decision as to what to call our beautiful lodge was an important one. We knew it would have to be something that would be timeless that would reflect the character and spirit of our lodge. To put it plainly we were all a bit daunted at the thought of not getting it just quite right!
But, as luck would have it, despite the pressure of coming up with the perfect name, ours came to us spontaneously, and within moments it resonated deeply with each of us, speaking to the dream of an Indian safari lodge in the jungle, a peaceful village that honours the diversity of Gujarat.
Our Founder Jimmy Patel recalls the moment…
“After months of research in finding the right partners or team to collaborate with to build this dream, I came across Fox Browne Creative and Nicholas Plewman Architects because of the award-winning work they had previously done in India and Africa in the safari world. Fox Browne Creative, the husband-and-wife couple, Debra and Chris Fox Browne, are unique in their experiential approach to creating authentic luxurious hospitality design and architect Nicholas Plewman an expert on eco sensitive lodge architecture.
They came to Gujarat, on my invitation, to experience and explore the region, the property and discuss what we could create on this magical piece of land.
After a busy day of exploring, we sat in the silence and tranquillity on our piece of land, a previously working farmland, buffered by the ancient teak forest. We had been inspired by the cobbled streets of the nearby village of Haripur, the hap hazard arrangement of homes, kothis, shops, courtyards and water wells, the hand cut stone, the vibrant colours of the different doors and the quiet rhythm of daily life. We saw how working farmlands and a re-wilded clearing sat side by side and in between the village and we started to envision a village, on the site not that different from what we had seen and experienced, of sensitively designed kothis (homes) authentic in their design yet offering every possible luxury.
As we each sat quietly contemplating how this would work, a sense of peace filled the air. I remarked that the Gujarati word for this moment was aram, in an attempt to connect more deeply with our culture. Aram, I explained, means rest, peace, relaxation and comfort. As we further reflected on our day’s adventures, where we had encountered the Maldhari tribe, who live among the Asiatic lions and other wildlife in the park, herding their cattle and settling down after a long day in their village, I used the word ness, translating it as a Maldhari village.”
It was as if a lightbulb went on for all of us at the same time! The union of these Gujarati words birthed our name: ARAMNESS - to us meaning peaceful village. It’s a name that nods to the exotic without being alien. In unison, the letters and the pair of words seem to have been born for each other as they escape from the mouth; there’s even a note of peacefulness to the low hum of the “rrr” and the “mmm”. And is it just us, or does that final “ss” prompt a sense of calm and quiet?
Aramness Gir encompasses place, culture and local language among its letters, words and sounds, hinting at a place that couldn’t be anywhere else in this world but here, on the edge of the Gir National Park. Not only is this compound name rooted in Gujarati culture, born from this very corner of the world, but it paved the way for an architectural concept that defines our look and feel – a Gujarati village, in spirit, style and formation suggesting that the future of travel and conservation is premised on a very old symbiosis of the land, the people and the animals.