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Gir National Park

📍 Gir National Park, GujaratView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:December to March

⏰ Open Hours:6:00 AM - 5:00 PM

🎟 Entry Fees:INR 4500 per Jeep (Max 6 Persons)

🧳 Traveller Types:Wildlife enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Photographers

📍 Distances:Nearest Airport: Rajkot Airport (165 km), Nearest Railway Station: Junagadh (70 km)

🔍 Known For:Only Home to Asiatic Lions, Wildlife Photography, Jeep Safari

🏞 Things to Do:Wildlife Safari, Bird Watching, Visit to Crocodile breeding farm, Visit Devalia Safari Park

💰 Budget:INR 5000-7000 including safari and accommodation

📌 Tips:Booking safari in advance is recommended. Follow the park rules and do not litter.

🏨 Accommodation:Forest guest houses and private lodges available around the park

🍽 Food:Local restaurants serve Gujarati, North Indian and limited Continental cuisines

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Gir National Park: The Last Abode of the Asiatic Lions

Gir National Park, also known as Gir Wildlife Sanctuary or Sasan Gir, is the only place in the world where you can see the endangered Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. It is one of the most important conservation areas in India, as it is home to more than 500 lions, along with other rare and exotic animals, birds, and plants. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Gir National Park, from how to reach, how to book a safari, what to see and do, and where to stay.

What is Gir National Park?

Gir National Park is a national park and wildlife sanctuary located in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. It covers an area of 1,412 square kilometers, of which 258 square kilometers is the core area and 1,154 square kilometers is the buffer zone.

Gir National Park was established in 1965 as a protected area for the Asiatic lions, which were on the verge of extinction due to hunting and habitat loss. Thanks to the conservation efforts of the government and local communities, the lion population has increased from 177 in 1968 to 523 in 2015.

Gir National Park is not only famous for its lions, but also for its diverse flora and fauna. It has more than 2,375 species of plants, including teak, acacia, banyan, and bamboo. It has more than 600 species of animals, including leopards, hyenas, jackals, foxes, deer, antelopes, monkeys, crocodiles, and snakes. It has more than 300 species of birds, including eagles, vultures, owls, parrots, peacocks, and flamingos.

Gir National Park is also a cultural hotspot, as it has several temples, mosques, and historical monuments within its premises. Some of the notable attractions are the Kankai Mata Temple, the Jamjir Waterfall, the Tulsishyam Hot Springs, and the Somnath Temple.

What to See and Do in Gir National Park?

Photo of Gir National Park 1/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

Gir National Park offers a lot of things to see and do for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and culture seekers. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Gir National Park:

1. Spot Wildlife:

The main attraction of Gir National Park is spotting wildlife, especially the Asiatic lions. You can see them roaming freely in their natural habitat, hunting, resting, or playing with their cubs. You can also see other animals such as leopards, hyenas, jackals, foxes, deer, antelopes, monkeys, crocodiles, and snakes. You can also see a variety of birds such as eagles, vultures, owls, parrots, peacocks, and flamingos.

2. Visit Temples:

Gir National Park has several temples within its premises that are worth visiting for their religious and historical significance. Some of the most popular temples are the Kankai Mata Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Kankai; the Tulsishyam Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu; and the Somnath Temple, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

3. Explore Nature Trails:

Gir National Park has several nature trails that offer a scenic and serene experience of walking through the forest. You can enjoy the fresh air, greenery, and tranquility of nature while observing the flora and fauna along the way. Some of the most popular nature trails are the Chodavadi Nature Trail, the Kamaleshwar Nature Trail, and the Hiran River Nature Trail.

4. Visit Waterfalls:

Gir National Park has some beautiful waterfalls that add to its charm and splendor. You can visit these waterfalls and enjoy their soothing sound and sight. Some of the most popular waterfalls are the Jamjir Waterfall, which is also known as Swarnavari Kund; the Machhundri Waterfall, which is also known as Lion’s Point; and the Madhavpur Waterfall, which is also known as Madhavpur Ghed.

5. Enjoy Cultural Activities:

Gir National Park is not only a wildlife destination but also a cultural destination. You can enjoy various cultural activities such as folk dance, music, art, and cuisine that showcase the rich heritage and traditions of Gujarat. You can also interact with the local communities such as the Maldharis (cattle herders) and Siddis (African-origin tribes) who live in harmony with nature and wildlife.

Also read: Gir National Park

How to Book a Safari in Gir National Park?

Photo of Gir National Park 2/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

One of the main attractions of Gir National Park is the safari experience. You can enjoy a thrilling ride in an open jeep through the forest and spot various wildlife species along the way. You can also visit the Devalia Safari Park (also known as Gir Interpretation Zone), which is an enclosed area within Gir National Park that offers a guaranteed sighting of lions and other animals.

There are two types of safari available in Gir National Park:

1. Jeep Safari:

Jeep Safari is conducted in the core area of Gir National Park, where you can explore the natural habitat of the lions and other wildlife. Jeep Safari is available in three shifts: morning (6:00 am to 9:00 am), afternoon (9:00 am to 12:00 pm), and evening (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm). Each jeep can accommodate up to six people, excluding the driver and the guide. The duration of each safari is about three hours.

The charges for each safari are Rs. 800 per person for Indians and Rs. 4,800 per person for foreigners, excluding the entry fee, vehicle fee, guide fee, and camera fee.

2. Devalia Safari Park:

Devalia Safari Park is conducted in a fenced area of about 412 hectares, where you can see lions and other animals in a semi-natural environment. Devalia Safari Park is available in two shifts: morning (8:00 am to 11:00 am) and afternoon (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm). Each bus can accommodate up to 25 people. The duration of each safari is about 20 minutes. The charges for each safari are Rs. 150 per person for Indians and Rs. 2,600 per person for foreigners, excluding the entry fee and camera fee.

You need to book your safari at least one month in advance, as the slots are limited and fill up fast. You also need to carry a printout of your booking confirmation and a valid photo ID proof when you visit the park.

Please note that the park is closed during monsoon season from 16 June to 15 October every year. The online booking system is also closed during this period.

Where to Stay in Gir National Park?

Gir National Park has a range of accommodation options for visitors who want to stay near or inside the park. You can choose from luxury hotels, resorts, cottages, campsites, guest houses, or forest lodges depending on your budget and preference.

Some of the best places to stay in Gir National Park are The Fern Gir Forest Resort, Asiatic Lion Lodge and Gir Jungle Lodge.

How to Reach Gir National Park?

Photo of Gir National Park 3/3 by
(c) Holidify.com

Gir National Park is well-connected by road, rail, and air from major cities and towns of Gujarat and India. Here are some of the best ways to reach Gir National Park:

By Road: Gir National Park is about 65 kilometers from Junagadh city, which is the nearest major city. You can take a bus or a taxi from Junagadh to Sasan Gir, which is the headquarters of Gir National Park. You can also drive your own car or rent a car from Ahmedabad or Rajkot, which are about 350 kilometers and 160 kilometers away respectively.

By Rail: The nearest railway station to Gir National Park is Sasan Gir railway station (SASG), which is about 1 kilometer from Sasan Gir village. You can take a train from Ahmedabad or Rajkot to Sasan Gir railway station. Alternatively, you can take a train to Junagadh railway station (JND), which is about 65 kilometers from Sasan Gir village. You can then take a bus or a taxi from Junagadh to Sasan Gir.

By Air: The nearest airport to Gir National Park is Rajkot airport (RAJ), which is about 160 kilometers from Sasan Gir village. You can take a flight from Mumbai or Delhi to Rajkot airport. You can then take a bus or a taxi from Rajkot to Sasan Gir.

Gir National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves wildlife and nature. It is the only place in the world where you can see the majestic Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. It is also a place where you can enjoy the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of Gujarat.

We hope this article has given you all the information you need to plan your trip to Gir National Park.

Also read: For the love of God and wildlife II (Gir National Park/ Wildlife Sanctuary)

Gir National Park Reviews

A philosophy revolves around our love, choices and care for nature. Every human has a pinch of love for nature and that he expresses through bringing plants at home or workplace. Now think if this philosophy converted to large scale project. There would be walking jungles in cities, vertical parks on high-rise buildings and leaf curtains on windows. May look like ruined forts taken over by climbers. Not everyone loves this idea of being biophilic due to maintenance, time and space. But, there is a place in Gujarat near Gir National Park in South West Saurashtra known as a " Woods at Sasan". A 38 room retreat that talks about biophilia and sustainability. Every corner speaks nature when you walk through it. Eight acres of land with more than 300 mango trees and 150 native flora remained intact when the retreat was constructed. Out of 100% area, 70% of the landscape remained open against 30% of constructed area. Imagine how much space one gets when one stays inside. Their idea of biophilia is not just restricted to bringing nature close to the humans but bringing biophilic experience upfront. Open to sky bathrooms that allow water to percolate directly in the ground. Walkways and parking have lime mortar without RCC fillings that allow surface water runoff to percolate straight to the aquifer. Age-old technology of limestone plaster that absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and once removed can be reused anywhere in new construction. Sustainably procured & less traveled material used in construction to reduce the footprint, Sand stone and Kota stone used at the accommodation and public gathering areas which ultimately a material that withstands extreme climate. Hence the reduced the consumption of Air-conditioning. The design of each room allows sunlight to enter throughout the day and reduces the consumption of artificial light. Every room and the public area will bring you close to nature in thousands of ways. Woods at Sasan, a retreat in Gir National Park, Gujarat in a true sense gives you an experience of sustainability and allows you immerse with nature. Woods at Sasan is a model biophilic property that gives learning to many industries in this segment and motivates them to think towards sustainable living especially in the accommodation at natural destinations around the country. One cannot offset his footprints, by just building a room full of RCC and steel, at natural places by ruining the vast resources the place has from where raw material is extracted. The philosophy of Woods at Sasan is to talk biophilia, live biophilic and bring regenerative experiences by building the places with less traveled local material, using spaces to magnify nature more close and less construction. Slow and low impact experiences at Woods at Sasan further emphasis on regenerative living for better future and India. Innovative designs and the material will lead us to climate change adaption. It would not be stopped but it can be controlled with wise human interference.
About The Location:This forested, hilly, 1412-sq-km sanctuary about halfway between Veraval and Junagadh is the last refuge of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leopersica). Taking a safari through the thick, undisturbed forests is a joy – even without the added excitement of spotting lions, other wildlife and myriad bird species. Access to the sanctuary is by safari permit only, bookable in advance If you miss out on a permit, your other option for lion encounters is at the Devalia Safari Park, a fenced-off part of the sanctuary where sightings are guaranteed but more stage-managed. The sanctuary’s 37 other mammal species, most of which have also increased in numbers, include dainty chital (spotted deer), sambar (large deer), nilgais (blue bull / large antelopes), chousinghas (four-horned antelopes), chinkaras (gazelles), crocodiles and rarely seen leopards. The park is a great destination for birders too, with more than 300 bird species, most of the residents. While the wildlife has been lucky, more than half the sanctuary’s human community of distinctively dressed maldhari (herders) have been resettled elsewhere, ostensibly because their cattle and buffalo were competing for food resources with the antelopes, deer, and gazelles, while also being preyed upon by the lions and leopards. About 1000 people still live in the park, however their livestock accounts for about a quarter of the lions diet. Twelve kilometers west of Sasan Gir village at Devalia, within the sanctuary precincts, is the Gir Interpretation Zone, better known as simply Devalia. The 4.12-sq-km fenced-off compound is home to a cross-section of Gir wildlife. Chances of seeing lions and leopards here are guaranteed, with 45-minute bus tours departing along the trails hourly. You may also see foxes, mongoose, and blackbuck – the latter being lion fodder. Brief History: The sanctuary was set up in 1965, and a 259-sq-km core area was declared as a national park in 1975. Since the late 1960s, lion numbers have increased from less than 200 to 674 (Census 2020). How to get there By RoadJunagadh (60 km) and Veraval (45 km) have bus connectivity to national park. By TrainJunagadh (60 km) and Veraval (45 km) are the major rail heads from the national park. By AirThe closest airport to Gir National Park is Rajkot, nearly 170 km away.
The safari was early morning, so we retired to our rooms early. Alarm beeped at 3:30 am. Call it the excitement or the teeth clattering cold, I had a bad sleep. Somehow, I pulled myself from the layers of pullovers and blankets. We had to reach the sanctuary office by 5:30. The visiting hours are divided into two slots: Morning: 6 am-9 am and Evening: 3 pm-6 pm. Morning slot is preferred as the big cats come out at night to hunt for prey and thus can be better spotted in the early hours. Later in the day lions have a knack of finding a cosy spot n dozing off to sleep. Christmas holidays meant that the outside temperature was a near freezing 6 degrees. This is a peak tourist time and pre-booking is strongly recommended if you want a hassle-free experience. Online booking is a very user friendly and systematic process. All the formalities (at Singh Sadan) and assignment of a driver and a helper consumes of about 45 mins on a rush day. After sipping through hot tea cups in a futile attempt to keep ourselves warm, we began our quest to spot the big cats. The gates open at 6 am, but trust me, December, Gujarat and inside a forest made it look like a midnight spooky adventure! The zone is divided into 6 routes where the jeeps safaris can go inside. It is recommended to let the driver and helper drive the sequences of the day as they frequently go inside and know where the big cats were spotted last. After about 1 hr in the forest we came across and lioness with her month old cub basking in the morning sun while the cub played with her tail. Unfortunately, they were quite far and binoculars aided our eyes.
Day 4 - Gir Forest National Park The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also known as Sasan-Gir in Gujarat State. its 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and 60 km (37 mi) south-west of Amreli. The only home of the endangered mighty Asiatic Lion, Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most popular attractions of Gujarat. In 1965, Gir forest was titled as wildlife sanctuary and in 1975 it was declared as a National Park. Spread in a huge area of 1412 square km, the national park houses around 38 species of mammals, 300 avifauna species, and 37 species of reptiles and over 2000 insect species. Enjoy jeep safari and bird watching at Sasan Gir. Like Africa, Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place in the world where you can spot lions roaming free in the wildApart from these animals the park is a home to two different species of Deer. The Sambar is counted largest Indian Deer. Tourists who ever visit Gir Park often love jeep safaris. A ride in wild jungle is such an adventurous idea for every visitor. But, for this ride, you must have to obtain permission. This is such a wild attraction in Gir. While you are on Jeep Safari, you can spot the Lions in their natural habitat, when they are on the prowl. Watching the Lions from open-roof jeep is altogether a wonderful experience. During your Jeep Safari tour, you can also click some pictures of the Lions. Best time to spot the Lions are at the dusk and dawn. Jeeps and guides are made available by the Forest Department. ( Note: National Park will be CLOSED from 16-Jun-2017 till 15-Oct-2017). Like around 2pm we left the Gir sasan and headed back to porbandar
The Gir National Park and wildlife sanctuary 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. This sanctuary is the final refuge of the rare Asian lions which roamed freely two centuries ago throughout Middle East and some parts of India. Sasan, with a forest rest house, is the headquarters of the sanctuary. 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.
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