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a walk on the wild side

Gir Forest, Gujarat

Location Gujarat
Speciality Lion
Accomodation Forest Lodge
Best Time To Visit December to April

Gir National Park allowes the visitors to glimpse wildlife in its natural surroundings. The last refuge of the Asiatic lion on Earth, the Gir National Park is located in the Junagadh district in Gujarat. Spread over 2450 hectares, this beautiful sanctuary offers visitors the best in flora and fauna. As visitors pass through this park, they can view rivers making their way through the lush green thick forests.

The park was set up on 18th September, 1965, and successfully protected the lion and its habitat. From less than 200 in 1980, the lion population in Gir has since grown to an estimated 286 in 1997. The Gir National Park is located about 59 km from Junagadh via Visavadar.

Visitors to the park get a chance to see the Asiatic lion an incredible and awe-inspiring animal. The animal makes the park worth the effort. The visitors also get a chance see these magnificent animals every Sunday at the shows organised by the Forest Department.

Other than the lions visitors also get to see animals like the chinkara, wild boar, striped hyena, jackal, common langur, porcupine, hare and the black buck. The sanctuary is also home to over 200 species of birds including the peafowl, grey partridge, Boneli’s eagle, crested serpent eagle, jungle bush quail, painted sandgrouse, common green pigeon and several species of doves. One can also easily spot the marsh crocodile in the rivers at Gir, particularly in the lake of the Kamaleshwar dam. There is also a crocodile breeding farm at Sasan.

The best way to enjoy the wildlife is by driving around the forest. Some of the best drives from Sasan are to Baval Chowk and Kankai, to Chodavdi and Tulsishyam and to Kamaleshwar dam.

Places of Inetrest :

Located in the park, two pilgrim centres, Kankai Mata and Tulsishyam temples are which are worth a look. The highlight of these temples are the ‘hot springs’.

Gir Interpretation Zone Twelve kilometers from Sasan village at Devalia is this zone, within the precincts of the sanctuary. Spread over 4.12 sq km, the zone has a cross section of the wildlife in Gir, and if didn’t see a lion in the park you will be sure to see one here.

The ideal time to visit the site is from December to April. The park remains closed from June to October, and sometimes even later if there has been a heavy rainfall.

Though the lions are exlusive, you can be quite sure to see at least one on a safari. It is better to go on a morning trip than an afternoon one.

Tips: Though a sturdy car would do, a jeep is definitely more appropriate, as they can take the small trails where you’re much more likely to come across lions. Private vehicles cannot be used to tour the park.

You must get a permit before you embark on a safari. Permits can be obtained from the Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge office at a cost of Rs 15 for the first day, with every additional day costing you Rs 7.50ps. You have to pay Rs 35 for a camera and Rs 75 for a video. Jeep tours taking upto six people cost you up to Rs 150.

How to get there :

State transport and express buses travel between Junagadh and Veraval via Sasan Gur, four times a day. Train run too, to Veraval twice a day and to Delwada and Junagadh once a day.

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