Situated on the fringe of the Sasan Gir National Park, where the last remaining Asiatic lions in the world coexist with the semi-nomadic Maldhari tribe, Aramness Gir, a new style safari lodge, is set to open in October 2021.
Owner Jimmy Patel’s passion for the wilderness, dedication to conservation and love for Gujarat has come together to create an experience entrenched in local culture, designed with authenticity and luxury in equal measure providing a wildlife experience that rewrites the script.
Located within the 18 square kilometre area that skirts the National Park, Aramness Gir sits within a rarely undeveloped natural paradise in a protected teak forest. This forest is home to abundant bird and animal species freely roaming between the park and the lodge.
Aramness is the culmination of collaborative design between internationally renowned Fox Browne Creative and Nicholas Plewman Architects to create a truly unique and immersive experience in the Indian wilderness. The lodge design takes its inspiration from the characteristic local village, Haripur, with its central cobbled streets fringed with courtyard homes (kothis). Natural forest and meadow gardens have been revived on the property wherever possible and are experienced in and around the kothis and guest areas, merging the natural habitat of the area with the built environment and paying homage to the original use of the land as farmland.
Each of the 18 sensitively appointed private village-style kothis take their cue from the charmingly informal arrangement of the local Gujarati village homes, whose buildings develop spontaneously with time. True to the name (Aramness – peaceful village), the understated yet utterly luxurious interiors have been designed to instill deep comfort and tranquility and have been constructed using the many natural materials and craft techniques native to Gujarat and India.
The lodge houses 15 standalone single bedroom kothis and 3 standalone double bedroom kothis with a shared dining space. Each kothi is a spacious double storey building that draws on the honesty of materials, and the sophistication of simplicity. All kothis have a cool shaded courtyard and upper deck veranda that overlooks waterways and beyond to the dense forest. To accentuate the bespoke elements, each kothi boasts of a private pool inspired by the characteristic Indian step wells. The thoughtfully curated experiences at Aramness will be delivered by butlers assigned to each kothi.
Throughout the lodge, the interiors draw on the honesty of materials, and the sophistication of simplicity, culturally relevant design and local craftsmanship. Everything that makes up the design inventory has been sourced or made in Gujarat. From the pattern on the large sandstone and steel Jali screens (which is a replica of the perforations of the dried leaf of a sal tree) to the striking wall of Kutchi lipan plasterwork with its intricate inlaid mirrors handcrafted by local artisans. The vintage applique scatter cushions and hand-beaten brass tables add to the detailed layering.
At Aramness, the rich culinary repertoire is a wholesome experience that gets to the heart of Gujarati cuisine. The food menu has been expertly crafted to not just include traditional flavours of Gujarati vegetarian delicacies but also lends a unique opportunity to pique the palate with the most authentic Gujarati non-vegetarian fare, inspired by the tastes of the regions that encircle the lodge.
Guests can enjoy meals anywhere, anytime in multiple, intimate indoor and outdoor dining areas from courtyards to roof terraces and organic gardens. Village Dinner will offer a village-style sit down dinner, amidst the mango orchard serving traditional Gujarati Kathiyawadi Thali. Jungle Barbeque will provide a wild dining experience, where guests can indulge in a live cooking experience under the stars. Lit by lanterns, Haveli Dining Hall will serve an explosion of flavours with the authentic Gujarati Thali, taking guests on a cultural trail of the region. Garden Pavillion will set the perfect backdrop for a magical dining experience by the organic garden, bringing to life the unique concept of farm-to-fork. Pool House is well equipped with bar facilities and simply the perfect place to sip a cup of coffee and experience true serenity.
Elevating the experience, Aramness will soon introduce Fly Safari, a private charter airline service operating from key cities in India. Luxuriate in an unrivalled journey with best-in-class facilities and an adventure of a lifetime.
Guests staying at Aramness Gir have several choices of how they wish to spend their day: Game drives into the park to view the Asiatic lion with an Aramness naturalist, jungle walks in the teak forest, visiting a Maldhari family in their home, sampling delicious Gujarati food, relaxing in the spa, engaging kids with inspiring activities at Aramness Playscape or, even better, doing as little as possible whilst soaking up the natural beauty of the park.
In the words of Patel, “There is a unique relationship between man and wildlife in Gujarat that does not exist anywhere else in India, nor in the rest of the world. At Aramness Gir, we will not only be supporting the Asiatic lions but also delivering an exceptionally crafted, luxury experience.”