Updated: February 11, 2021 10:28:35 am
The newly inaugurated Sarovar Portico hotel in Junagadh city had an unusual guest Monday — an Asiatic lion from the nearby Girnar jungle that had all the staff members in full attention and awe.
The CCTV cameras installed on the hotel premises has caught the male Asiatic lion entering the upmarket hotel at 5.04 am Monday through the main gate. The gatekeeper is also spotted quietly sinking in his chair inside a security cabin near the main entrance as the royal visitor makes his way towards the parking area without casting a glance at the man. After surveying the ground floor, the lion is seen leaving the palatial hotel somewhat hurriedly — his stay lasting less than a minute.
The CCTV footage of the incident went viral on social media Wednesday and created a lot of sensation online.
“The watchman at the gate was alert and stayed quiet as the lion entered the hotel premises. Through intercom, he alerted other staff members about the presence of the animal in the hotel and asked them to keep doors and windows shut. The CCTV footage suggests that the lion had apparently lost its way and left the hotel premises soon after finding that it was going in the wrong direction. No untoward incident was reported,” Sanjay Koradia, the managing partner of Sarovar Portico Hotel in Junagadh told The Indian Express Wednesday.
The hotel, inaugurated in September 2019, is located on the busy Railway Station Road of Junagadh in the heart of Junagadh city.
“There were a lot of guests in our hotel at the time the lion entered our premises. However, it being early hours of the day, most of them were in their rooms and there was little activity on the ground floor,” Koradia said.
Soon after the animal was seen, the hotel authorities alerted the forest department. The forest department officials, who visited the hotel later, confirmed the incident. “The lion had apparently strayed into the city after losing its way. It has since returned to the jungle and nothing untoward was reported that night. It is only after the CCTV footage went viral that people in that area are checking footage of their CCTV cameras and are sharing visuals of the lion,” Sunil Berwal, the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) of Junagadh territorial forest division, said.
Jungadh city is located on the border of Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary (GWLS), a hilly forest which is home to a few dozen Asiatic lions. Population of the big cats has been increasing in this protected forest areas and the sightings of the carnivores inside the city have gone up in recent years.
Junagadh is also a major hub of religious tourism and lakhs of pilgrims throng the city to climb Mount Girnar, the tallest peak in the state, every year to have visit temples of Goddess Amba and other deities atop it. With the increase in tourist footfall, new hotels have sprung up in the city.
To give a further boost to religious tourism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated Girnar Ropeway Project in October last year. The forest department has also inaugurated Girnar Nature Trail, popularly called lion safaris, inside the JWLS on January 26.
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