The Sasan Gir sanctuary in the state of Gujarat is home to the endangered Asiatic Gir Lion. However, the forests of Gir and the adjoining wooded hills of Barda have also been a sanctuary for the Maldhari tribe that has inhabited the region for almost a millennium. Unfortunately, the tribe is on the verge of extinction as the government since the past three decades have been desperate to clear the national reserve and the Banni grasslands sanctuary of human population.
The numbers of Maldharis who had peacefully coexisted with the fauna in and around the Gir forests are fast dwindling. Following the declaration of the forested area as a protected reserve, the Maldharis were looked upon as an impediment to the preservation of the ecological diversity and balance. However, many anthropologists, and sociologists have come forward to help the government and NGOs in their efforts to rehabilitate the members of this tribe.
Ideal Visiting Time
You’ll certainly come across some of their huts and nesses when you visit the Gir forest or the Banni grasslands at any time of the year. However, if you can plan a tour during the monsoons, you might be lucky enough to view a Maldhari wedding event. Weddings are mostly reserved during the rainy season when the Maldharis take a break from their peripatetic occupations.