GIR NATIONAL PARK
GIR NATIONAL PARK
Gir National Park is one of the famous national parks of North India, which is the sole home for the pure Asiatic lions. It is a forest and a wildlife sanctuary. It is one of the most protected areas in India due to the cumulative efforts of the Government, Forest Department, wildlife activists and NGOs. The national park was the hunting ground for the Nawabs of Junagadh. Due to the rampant hunting, when the population of lions started declining, Nawab Sir Muhammad Rasul Khanji Babi declared Gir as a “protected” area in 1900. The national park is situated in the south east of the Saurashtra Peninsula of Gujarat. The sprawling national park is predominant with semi-arid and deciduous forests, scrub jungles, grasslands, and rocky hills. The seven major perennial rivers namely Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi and Raval comprise a system which is the lifeline for the forest lions. The national park also houses many water bodies like Kamleshwar dam.
Gir National Park is the only natural habitat for the pure Asiatic Lions and it is famous for saving this species from the verge of extinction. Besides Lions, Gir is also famous for other types of wild animals, birds, and reptiles. The Sambar, counted as the largest Indian Deer can be found here. The Gir forest is also well-renowned for the world’s only four horned antelope – the Chowsingha, the Jackal, Striped Hyena and Indian Fox (also known as the Bengal Fox) are some of the smaller carnivores found in this reserve. The Kankai Mata temple and Tulishyam Hot Springs are also very beautiful places to visit in the national park.
|Location||Junagadh and Amreli Districts (Gujarat)|
|Nearest Airport||Diu Airport: 105 km (03 hrs. drive)|
|Rajkot Airport: 160 km (4 hrs. drive). Rajkot is the second best alternative for tourists who want to travel by air.|
|Nearest Railway Station||Malia Station: 30 km (1 hr. drive)|
|Veraval Station: 40 km (1.15 hrs. drive)|
|Junagadh Station: 60 km (1.45 hrs. drive)|
|Key Wildlife Attractions||Asiatic Lions, Indian Leopard, Sloth Bear, Chousingha, Nilgiri, Indian Porcupine, Chinkara or the Indian Gazelle, Golden Jackals, Desert Cat, Black bucks, Pale Hedgehog, Indian Mongoose etc.|
|Total Area Covered||1412 sq. km.|
|Established in Year||1965|
|Vegetation||Semi – arid and dry deciduous forests with grasslands and acacia scrub.|
|Best Time to Visit||16th October to 15th June. The park is closed for visitors during the remaining time of the year.|
|Climate||October – February: The average temperature during day remains around 29°C (84°F) and in the nights it reaches 12°C (54°F). Winter is the best season to visit Gir National Park|
|March – June: Usually the summers are considered as quite hot and dry with daytime temperatures which are around 41°C and in the midnight the temperature falls to around 29°C.|
GIR SAFARI TIMINGS
|Winter/Summer||Morning: 6:00 – 9:00 am|
|Morning: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm|
|Evening: 3:00 – 6:00 pm|
GIR SAFARI ZONES
Entry to the Gir National Park is through the Sasan Gate. Permit to visit the park has to be obtained online while Guide/Camera/Vehicle fee will have to be paid at the reception centre at the Sinh Sadan Guest House.
The Devalia Safari Park, which was established as an eco-tourism zone provides the entire wildlife experience of the Gir in a miniature safe fenced habitat. The park is spread across 412 hectares. There are good chances of spotting a lion on this safari tour but it might lack the thrill of being in a forest. Duration of the safari here is approximately 30 min which is done in a bus.
Note: Devalia Safari Park is closed on Wednesday. Safari timings are 8:00 – 11:00 am and 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Safari Duration: 30 mins