With the onset of winter, “NRGs visiting Gujarat" season has begun in Gujarat. Every year a large number of non-resident Gujaratis visit their home state during November to January. This period is commonly known as the NRG season in Gujarat.
What do NRGs generally do when they visit Gujarat?
This is almost an ego trip. An NRG is financially happy in the country of his domicile, as compared to his native counterparts. But he feels cut off from the roots there.
Human beings always want to visit and revisit roots. This reassures their existence. This sort of dual personality is a part of every settler, not to talk of NRGs only. His economic interest do not homogenize with his social interests. So a settler visits his native to fulfill his/her social interests.
What do NRGs do to satisfy their social interests?
NRGs visit their native place; meet relatives, friends and acquaintances. They discuss how the times have changed and how old was good. They eat native food and feel pleased that still the old culture has been maintained. They visit religious places of their beliefs. Sometimes, higher education institutions organize Diaspora seminars, where NRGs meet local intelligentsia and discuss issues of Gujarati Diaspora.
Of course, now they do not waste time in seeing movies or dramas as they are available in digital form in their country of domicile. Instead, they visit places of their interests and faith.
One new feature that has been added in NRG visit is health tourism. Now we have world class hospitals and treatment is much cheaper, almost half, as compared to foreign hospitals. A heart bypass surgery here costs just 1.5 lakh, while a knee transplant costs around 2.5 lakh.
Moreover, now our hospitals provide 5-star facilities. Using Internet, an NRG can book a hospital for health check-up and stay comfortably there. In this way, he can also save his hotel expenditure.
Gir Lion Safari
GGN suggests all NRGs to visit Gir lion safari. Though they might have seen Gir lions in the Gujarat Tourism’s advertisement by Amitabh Bachchan, they can know the latest developments only by visiting there.
In good old days, lion shows were arranged by forest department by offering some kill to lions, and this used to happen in public. Now this has been stopped on protests from animal activists. Around six-seven years ago it was cumbersome and difficult to see lions even if you were ready to spend money. Now these things have changed and a lion safari visit is as pleasant as a 5-star hotel trip that boosts your ego. And what is more, it does not cost much.
You can book a tent stay at one of the many places in advance on Internet. When we say tent stay, it is not the tent that you may have in mind. It is a tent with 5-star facilities. A three-day and two-night stay with meal costs just Rs.12,000.
These tent hotels are generally located on the shore of a river, dam or pond, in the midst of Gir forest. You can hire a jeep, costing just Rs.1500, and a guide for just Rs.500. The guide is not just a local person. Now forest department has given training to guides to make your trip more comfortable and more meaningful. Your guide will not only show you lions, but also panthers (if possible), deer, peacocks and lot many other animals along with many birds and trees. Thus you not only see lions, but also enjoy viewing entire ecosystem of the Gir forest. The guide will also solve many of your queries related to forest ecosystem. There are animal keepers (maldhari) in Gir forest. If you wish to enjoy their lifestyle, the forest department also arranges your stay with maldharis.
Then there are trekkers, employed by the forest department, who keep track of various lions and look after their well being. These trekkers inform guides about availability of lions in your route, so that the guide can take you to that place. Earlier, only fifty percent of the Gir tourists could view lions, now this has risen to ninety percent. You miss the view of lions only if you have bad luck.
This is just for your lion safari trip. If you have more interest, or you are a professional photographer, or a videographer, or a conservationist or even a wildlife researcher, now you can enjoy doing your work here.
GGN wishes you best of luck for your Gir trip. If you encounter any problem or need help, you are welcome to contact us.
SS / NP
(નોંધ – ઉપરોકત વિચારો લેખકના પોતાના છે જીજીએન તેની સાથે સહમત છે એમ માની લેવું નહીં.)