is the only home in India for the Asiatic Lion of which there are nearly 300
in the park. The Gir National Park lies in the Gujarat peninsula in
South-Western India. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation
is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak
trees, interspersed with large patches of grasslands. The trees on the hills
are sparse and stunted.
Within the sanctuary, there are numerous human settlements of cattle
herders called Maldharis with an estimated 20,000 head of livestock (which,
incidentally, forms a significant part of the Lions diet). There are
also places of Hindu worship and pilgrimage and sulphur springs at Tulsi
Shyam and Kankai Mata. The edges of the park have good population of Indian
Gazelle, protected by religious sentiments of the local people.
Wildlife Attractions in Gir National Park
A distinct belt of vegetation is found along the main rivers and streams.
Species like the Jambu, Karanj, Umro, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Sirus and Amli are
mainly found here. These trees are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, giving
the area a cool shade and the moisture content. Finally, Prosopis and
Casuarina have been planted in the coastal borders as part of the
Gir Sanctuary is the last and only home of the critically endangered
Asiatic Lion. These lions are a smaller more compact version of their
African counterparts, and are best viewed at dawn or dusk when they are on
the move. The major difference between the two is that the African Lion
appears larger than the Indian Lion because of its large and luxuriant mane.
Leopard is considered to be one of the most beautiful and graceful animals
in the jungle, also the most dangerous one. Popularly known as the Prince of
Cats, this animal is the most adaptable among the predators, one of the
reasons why it occupies a much larger spread of Gujarat forest cover. In the
Gir National Park it is found in all the varied habitats and vegetation
types. The approximate population of 210 Leopards resides within the
Not leaving the water predators behind, Mash crocodiles are often seen
along the Kamleshwar Dam Site. Another major attraction among the reptile
population of Gir National Park are the numerous non-venomous Snakes such as
the Indian Rock Python along with the four venomous varieties of Indian
Cobra, Common Krait, Saw Scaled Viper, Russell's Viper. Among the
lesser-known wildlife of Gir National Park includes the most common animal
that can be sighted in the sanctuary, the Chital or Spotted Deer. Other main
wild attractions are Nilgai, Chinkara, Sambhar, Black Bucks, the four horned
Antelope, Wild Boar, Indian Flying Foe, Grey Musk Shrew, Indian Hare, Pale
Hedgehog, Small Indian Mangoose, Small Indian Civet, Indian Pangolin, Indian
Porcupine, Ratel, Indian Fox, and Jackal. The three smaller wildcats - the
Jungle Cat, Desert Cat and the Rusty Spotted Cat also inhabit the forest, a
fact which shows that the forest is not just meant for the protection of
Lions, but the entire cat family.
The forest is also rich in bird life, with an estimated 300 species
inhabiting the Gir National Park. Many wildlife experts believe that had Gir
not been a Lion sanctuary, it could have easily passed off as a protected
area for the incredible diversity of birds that it harbors. The avifauna
here occupies the forest floors, small plants and shrubs and even the canopy
of the trees. The Paradise Flycatcher, Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike, Pied
Woodpecker, Bonelli's Eagle, Creset Serpant Eagle, Painted Sandgrouse, Bush
Quail and Grey Patridge are the commonly found varieties in the park.
Jeep Safaris are an ideal way to travel inside the park, as the uneven
terrain of the park can be conveniently covered on a sturdy vehicle. The
park authorities permit you to take your own vehicle inside the park but
only with the addition of a park guide. Jeeps can also be hired from the
office at Sasan or from the tour operators. Seats should be booked in
advance for a ride on the mini bus operated by the park administration. The
safari timings are 6:30 to 9:30 AM and 3 to 5 PM.
Tribal Village Visit
A couple of tribes still reside inside the park co-existing with the wild
animals. A visit to these tribal villages is an interesting experiences that
introduces the visitors to the unique lifestyle and ways of living of the
The historic town of Junagadh has a number of attractions that include
forts, palaces and gardens. Shopping options in the town abound with ethnic
Rajasthani goods finding the top spot on a shopper's list.
How to get there
Nearest airport is Keshod, while it will be
ideal to travel by air to Rajkot and take a bus or taxi from here. Another
major airport is Ahmedabad, connected to Delhi through daily flights (6:00
and 18:15). Indian Airlines flies Mumbai-Ahmedabad twice a day (5:30 and
The nearest railheads are Sasan Gir and
Veraval, while the most convenient railway station is Rajkot. Delhi is
connected to Rajkot through the Sarvodaya Exp. (Dep. 21:55, Monday), Jat
Jamnagar Exp. (21:55, Sun), Dee Porbandar Exp. (8:25, Mon, Thu) and
Uttaranchal Exp. (13:40, Sun). Daily trains plying between Mumbai and Rajkot
include the Saurashtra Mail (20:25), Sau Janata Exp. (8:00) and Saurashtra
Exp. (7:55). Another railhead is Junagadh, connected to Ahmedabad through
the Jabalpur Exp. and Somnath Exp.
State Transport buses are available from
Junagadh and Veraval between November and June. To reach the park from
Ahmedabad, take the NH8A to Chotila via Bagodra, Limbdi and Sayla, NH8B to
Jetpur via Rajkot and Gondal, NH8D to Junagadh via Vadal. From here, take
the district road to Sasan Gir via Khadia and Mendarda. Volvo buses run
between Ahmedabad and Junagadh (Rs. 200/head). From there a mini bus will
take you to Sasan Gir.
To jump all the queues and make the fastest route to the Indian wilderness,
come with us. Just
and the only thing you
will have to worry about will be packing your stuff.
Distances from Major Cities
160 km/3 hrs.
415 km (SW)/7 hrs.
Travel Tips/Important Information
Resorts in Gir
- The entry gate of the park is located at Sasan on the south-western
border, while entry tickets can be obtained from the reception desk at
the Sinh Sadan Guest House.
- The park charges are, Entry Fee : Rs. 30 (Indians) & US$ 5
(foreigners), Vehicle Entry : Rs. 35 (Indians) & US$ 4 (foreigners),
Guide Fee : Rs. 50 (first 4 hrs) & Rs. 20 (every additional hour),
Jeep hire : Rs. 600/safari, Still Camera : Rs. 50 (Indians) & US$ 5
(foreigners), Video Camera : Rs. 2500 (Indians) & US$ 200
(foreigners), Safari : Rs. 600 plus entry, Lion Safari Camp : Rs. 1000
plus entry (6 pax), Lion Show : Rs. 50 (Indians) & US$ 5
- Park timings are 8 to 11 AM 3 to 5 PM.
- Do not talk loudly or play music as the noise may scare away the
- Do not pollute the surroundings by smoking or throwing polythene bags
and other non-biodegradable material.
- It is better to get adequate information about the place and take
along a guide. Carry all the essentials along including a flash light,
prescribed medication and clothes according to the season of your visit.
Sadan Guest House
Maneland Jungle Lodge is an ideal abode for the visitors to Gir National
Department's delightful Sinh Sadan Guest House is located on the main
road in an old house