Gir is a place that deserves time and involvement. Your chances of spotting wildlife in a few hours is small, especially in the middle of the day; to truly experience the wonders of the Gir forest, and hopefully see a wide variety of its diverse wildlife, three or four days is recommended, particularly with a knowledgeable guide. This will vastly improve the depth of your visit. Contact the Park for information about hiring a guide (phone number below.) For shorter visits, the Gir Interpretation Zone, at Devalia, 12 km west of Sasan Gir, has some lions in captivity, but this is not the same as visiting them in the wild. After all, to see a lion in captivity you can visit a local zoo; come to Gir to see them in the wild. Entry fees for the Interpretation Centre (different from the park itself) are, for Indians Rs. 75/- Mon.-Fri, Rs.95/- Sat.-Sun, Rs. 115/- on Holidays and for foreigners US$20, payable only in rupees. Use official guides.
· Do not rouse, feed, or disturb wildlife
· No smoking whatsoever (cigarette butts cause many forest fires.)
· No flash or intrusive photography (for example, don’t pluck leaves to clear a better view; reposition the camera instead.)
· Picking plants or insects prohibited; do not remove anything from the park
· No walking or hiking allowed in the park, for safety; always travel in vehicles, preferably with a guide
The Gir National Park is located about 65 km south east in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. Gir National Park is one of the India’s finest wildlife sanctuaries located in Gujarat. This national park is set up in an area of 1412 square km. of lush deciduous forests. This national park was established on 18th September 1965 as a Forest Reserve to conserve the Asiatic lion. The Gir National Park is the final refuge of the rare Asian lions which roamed freely two centuries ago
Gir National Park Gujarat
throughout Middle East and some parts of India. Sasan, with a forest rest house, is the headquarters of the national park. Various deciduous forests, grasslands, acacia scrub, wetlands and the seven rivers forms the topography of this national park.
History of Gir National Park
Since 1884, Gir National Park has been the only habitat of the Asiatic lion. During the British Raj, lions were hunted mercilessly by the British officers assisted by the obliging Maharajas and Nawabs. Every Maharaja was proud of the number of lions or tigers he killed during his lifetime. In the year 1899 the famine decreased the lion population so badly that Lord Curzon cancelled his shoot in Gir where he had been invited by the Nawab for a ‘Shikaar’. The Lord Curzon also advised the ruler to protect the remaining lions. By the time India achieved independence, the number of lions get increased, but they were once again hunted by the Maharajas. The Government of India banned the hunting of lion in the mid 1960 and now this park is open only for the photo safaris. The Gir National Park later became a major tourist attraction in India. About 300 lions are found in this park.
Wildlife Attractions in the Gir National Park
The main wildlife attraction in the Gir National Park is the lion. Besides lion, various variety of wild animals are found in this park which are the Wild boar, Bear, Panther, Jackal, Sambar, Spotted deer, Striped Hyena, Leopard, Nilgai, Chinkara gazelle, Jungle cat, Black napped hare, Common langur, Porcupine, Langur, Blackbuck, Mongoose and the Indian Chousingha, the four horned antelope. The rusty spotted cat has been recorded in the Gir. During monsoons, about 200 varieties of birds can also be seen in this park including the peafowl, grey partridge, Bonelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, jungle bush quail, painted sandgrouse, common green pigeon and several species of doves. Gir is also home of the marsh crocodile, which can be sighted easily in its rivers, particularly in the lake of the Kamaleshwar dam. There is also a crocodile breeding farm at Sasan Gir National Park.
Jungle Safari in the Gir National Park
You can visit the Gir National park by having a jeep ride with a guide. The Gir Forest Department also organize “Lion Shows”. They make sure that you can see the lions at close range so they send trackers early morning on a mission to the located places and tempt them with live baits.
Best Time to Visit the Gir National Park
The Gir National Park is open from the mid of October to mid of June. November, January and February are the best months to visit the sanctuary. However the best time to view the lions, in their natural surroundings is early in the morning or after 4 p.m. It is during this time that the animals are most active and can be easily spotted..