Most of us living in concrete jungles look forward to spending time in wild, remote places that bring us closer to the simple pleasures of nature. We want to smell the fresh air, disconnect from the news and our phones, and reconnect with our inner selves. There's absolutely nothing like it. With this thought in mind, we planned a quick getaway to The Postcard Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, a newly-opened resort in the Sangodra village of Sasan, Gujarat.
Wilderness, serenity and sophistication
A direct flight to Diu followed by a two-hour long drive will bring you to this boutique property set amid 16 acres of mango orchards, surrounded by the raw, untamed Gir forest. Alternatively, you can take a train to Veraval or Junagadh which are the two nearest railway stations to Gir National Park. A modernist refuge, The Postcard Gir is luxurious yet raw and this strikes you as soon as you enter its foyer. You are welcomed by a sculpture of a dainty, glistening golden deer standing gracefully against the backdrop of a wall painting showcasing the vibrant birds of Gir, perched on the branches of a tree. Unlike most resorts in Gir where stories and photographs of lions take centre stage, this property highlights the region's rich and colourful, yet underrated, birdlife. Most of the artwork around the hotel is by BM Purabiya, an Ahmedabad-based artist whose fondness for his feathered friends reflects in his extraordinary portrayal of them.
With 15 elegant, haveli-style rooms, you are promised much-needed peace and privacy. When here, all you hear are the sounds of migrating birds and, of course, the unmistakable roar of a lion. A stroll around the estate is dotted with an organic garden where several vegetables and leafy greens are tended to with utmost care, a pool with sun loungers where you can relax and devour a book post a dip and a rustic, outdoor fireplace for warmth and comfort on a chilly winter evening.
The stay: Blending with nature and bringing outdoors in
All 15 rooms at The Postcard Gir are spacious and feature windows that bring in ample natural light. Some even let you wake up to the view of the sprawling mango orchards and the rugged forest beyond. Patio with a jute swing and a terrace ensure you don't have to go too far to take in the soothing surroundings. Wood and stone interiors, high ceilings and neutral tones set the tone for a cosy room that’s understated yet rich in character. However, what catches your eye instantly and adds a dash of vibrance to the sophisticated decor is the artwork hanging on the walls. Yet again, the portrayal of birds by Purabiya makes you want to stand and stare at the painting, or closely observe the differences and details that separate one species from another.
Among other design touches and finer details are a well-lit, roomy bathroom and dressing area with top-notch toiletries that exude the fragrance of the forest and a set of well-fitting robes with botanical prints. The boutique resort employs mindful elements that tick the boxes of awareness and sustainability. At the end of your stay, you get a sassy pouch to carry your used toiletries in. Yes, you're encouraged to not leave behind the partially-used lotions and shower gels. For any-time snacking, you're given a trolley loaded with everything from the finest tea and coffee varieties to energy bars, nuts and other titbits.
The food: Enjoy local and international flavours
At The Postcard Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, expect to feast on wholesome and fresh farm-to-table dishes that are seasonal and sumptuous. In the mood for a regional meal? Think breakfasting on Gujarati staples like sabudana khichdi or methi na thepla. At lunch, indulge in their irresistible Gujarati thali that consists of everything from farsan, rotli (roti), and shaak (sabzi) from locally-sourced vegetables to mithi dal, khichdi, kadhi, homemade pickles, and sweets like mohan thal and sukhdi. Among other must-try local delicacies are the fresh pomfret from Veraval and their classic Undhiyu.
The kitchen team believes in celebrating the influence of Parsi culture on the local cuisine. Their salli par eedu, patra ni machi, and dhansak are finger-licking good! That's not all! Flick through the menu and you will find a vast variety of Italian and continental items that are given a delicious twist by the chef. More importantly, the property emphasises mindful eating. To encourage you to put your gadgets aside and instead focus on your food and the beauty of nature around, they eagerly set up dining tables in open spaces—under a mango tree, at the poolside, in the middle of the orchard. This makes your meal an experience to remember. There are private spaces in the restaurant too if you wish to enjoy an intimate family dinner minus any disturbance. Their post-dinner hot chocolate service is the cherry on the cake. Would you say no to a sweet someone who knocks at your door right before bedtime with a kettle full of hot chocolate? Oh, so tempting!
The experiences: A hearty dose of nature, adventure and culture
There are several choices of how you wish to spend your day when staying at The Postcard Gir. Think insightful and interpretive morning and afternoon game drives with a knowledgeable in-house naturalist who has a genuine love for the wild and respect for its inhabitants. Home to more than 700 lions and other jungle residents like the elusive leopards, blue bulls, wild boars, jackals, and over 300 birds native to the region, you're guaranteed a splendid Jungle Book experience.
If vintage cars are your thing, you must request a sunset drive in their 1931 Cadillac that's sure to make heads turn and make you feel like a celebrity. Our evening drive to the nearby Vileshwar Mahadev temple with the resort’s in-house naturalist Aslam Sodha was not only scenic but also fruitful. We spotted and photographed more than 20 species of birds, visited a jungle cave that also serves as the resting spot for lions and came back seeing the forest life in a completely new light as Aslam bhai talked us through the lesser-known facts about the landscapes and the flora, fauna of the region.
Among other experiences curated by The Postcard Gir is a visit to a Maldhari household to learn all about how Maldharis (cattle herders) of Gir coexist with the lions. Opt for a nature trail in the forest, pick up your bicycles, and pedal your way around the little hamlets of Sasan or take out the time to be entertained by the utterly absorbing Siddhi Dhamal dance—a local dance performed by the African-origin Siddhi tribe that settled in Gujarat decades ago. After all, luxury travel today is more than just taking a hassle-free holiday or escaping your monotonous routine. It’s an opportunity to learn, connect with new places and cultures, go on unique adventures, and grow as a person.
Double room prices start from Rs 35,000 (includes Wi-Fi, anytime artisanal breakfast, 24-hour check-in and check-out).
For more, check out The Postcard Gir Wildlife Sanctuary website.