The Gir forest region is surrounded by 7 perennial rivers and 4 dams that are the lifeline of the region. The terrain mostly comprises of savanna type forests and grasslands and dry deciduous forests with teak-wood trees. The forest not only provides a home for the wildlife but also provides a large amount of green grass and fuel wood through annual harvesting.
One of the national parks located in the Indian state of Gujarat, The Sasan Gir National Park is spread around an area of 1412 square kilometers. The forests and grasslands of Gir are known to be the last stronghold of Asiatic Lionsand support a variety of plant and animal species. The region was protected in the early 1900s by the Nawab of the Princely state of Junagarh who used the forests as the hunting grounds. As a result the lion population plummeted to a mere 15 lions around the time when India won its Independence from the British raj. Today however, the numbers have increased all thanks to ban on hunting, the numbers have replenished and a captive breeding program is also instrumental in replenishing the lion population.
Major Attractions at Sasan Gir:
Animals:The entire forest area of the Gir National Park is dry and deciduous which provides best habitat for Asiatic Lions. As per the new statics of 2015, the entire Saurashtra Region is inhabited by 523 Lions and more than 300 Leopards. Apart from these two animals the park is a home to two different species of Deer. The Sambar is counted largest Indian Deer. The Gir forest is also known for the Chowsingha – the world’s only four horned antelope. The Jackal, striped Hyena and India Fox are some of the smaller carnivores found in Gir Forest.
Birds: The exotic flora of Gir National Park gives shelter to more than 200 species of birds and moreover the sanctuary has been declared an important bird area by the Indian Bird Conservation Network. Gir is also habitat of raptors like critically endangered white-backed and long-billed vultures.
Reptiles: Gir is blessed with more than 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. Kamleshwar – a large reservoir in the sanctuary is the best spot where Marsh Crocodile can be seen in large numbers. Park has even many species of snake including King Kobra, the Russell’s viper, Saw-scaled viper and the Krait.
Gir Interpretation Zone, Devaliya: Devaliya Safari Park is enclosed area of the Sanctuary that offers a good opportunity for visitors to experience a rustic beauty and wilderness of the area. The safari tour is conducted in a mini bus that takes visitors to another cross section of the Gir. Travelers can watch here a good variety of wildlife in just 20 to 30 minutes tour including Asiatic Lion.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The reserve remains closed between June to October. Visiting the park during winter is ideal as the weather during this period is pleasant.
How to reach
By road: Gir National Park is around 55 km from Junagadh City, the most common base for making a visit, and 348 km from Ahmedabad and 156 kms from Rajkot. The Reception centre is at Sasan Gir, and has a Forest Guest house maintained by the forest department, nearby the railway station.
By rail:One can travel by Rail to Junagadh from Ahmedabad or Rajkot and then take a 55 km road trip on bus or taxi to Sasan Gir or can come via local trains from Junagadh city.
By Air: Person can come via flight up to Rajkot or Ahemedabad.
Entry fee for Visiting Gir Forest National Park And Wildlife Sanctuary:
The entry fees for Gir Forest National Park And Wildlife Sanctuary is mentioned below. We have listed the entry fees for Indians, the entry fees for foreigners, camera fees and other charges if applicable.
Domestic Adult: 75-95
Still Camera Fee: 100-500
Guide charge Rs. 50 per 4 hoursGuide charge Rs. 50 per 4 hours
The Gir forest enjoys a moderate climate throughout the year and can be visited around most of the year. The summers can be a bit hot and humid with temperatures ranging between 25 to 40 degrees Celsius. The months from March till the mid of July is usually the summer season till monsoons arrive in July. The monsoons last till the month of September with a moderate rainfall from the North-West Monsoons. The winter season starts in the month of December and lasts till late-February. The temperatures during the winters usually range between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius.