A Forest has a typical beautiful attitude of its own , and Gir is certainly no different. Winters in Gir are usually dry and the golden brown colours of the forest adds a certain natural element to the glory of being what it is - The Home of the Asiatic Lions , probably about over 500 lions , 200 leopards and hundereds of Deers.
There are many ways to reach Gir , by Road, Rail and by Air.
Junagadh is about 55 kms from Sasan, the place where all the action is , and Sasan is also centre to lots of places nearby where one can visit the King of the Jungle. Many villages which come inside the territory of the Gir Forest , write Gir along with the name of the village. e.g, Sasan Gir, Bhojde Gir etc.
There are now numerous hotels and resorts and private farmhouses in Sasan as well as many other villages inside the Gir territory. Personally I am against the commercialization of villages in and around wild life sanctuaries. But maybe its a part and parcel of mainataining and protecting the area.
We drove to a private farm in Bhojde. which was about 10 kms from Gir. Enroute we saw numerous Deers on the forest area adjoining the road. Every second of the drive giving us the feel of the possibility of the presence of wild life. The sound of the dry leaves, dense and dark interiors of the forest when viewed from the road, itself is a treat to eyes and a sense of privilege of being there.
It had been a long days journey to reach Bhojde and was dark evening when we had reached our place of stay. We had our dinners ended the day , having the hopes of a promising , interesting and an adventourous day ahead.
Morning was as pleasant as it could be. The fresh air , cool breeze and the amazing freshness of the morning had already rejuvenated our senses. The booking for the open jeep safari had been done online and now it is completely done online. Tourists planning a visit to Gir , should keep this in mind to avoid disappointment in missing the open jeep safari.
The safari is probably one of the best experiences of Gir, and if lucky you may spot 10 , 15 or even maybe 20 Lions , Lionesses and cubs during the course of the safari. Its very rare though to get a chance to watch a kill. Best part of the safari is getting to watch those magnificient Lions from close quarters and looking them eye to eye. certainly one of the most amazing aspects of the visit to Gir. The Do's and Dont's instructions while on safari would be well explained to the visitors before and during the safari. Its fair and important to maintain silence and keep a check on excitement levels while on the Safari. After all we are in the territory of the King of the jungle, and they have a rule of their own!
After the Safari, in the evening we proceeded towards the JamGir Waterfall , which was about 40 kms from Sasan. Due to less amount of rainfall this year, the locals said the waterfall is not of as much intensity as it used to be at this time of the year. But still , it was good enough and picturesque! After spending an hour or so at the waterfalls, we proceeded back towards Bhojde, and retired for the day.
The next day we decided to drive through the roads of the more interior forest roads e.g Sattardhar, Surva village and a few more. Those drives were amazing, Spotted a huge lioness off Surva Village. The cacaphony of the others in the car drove away the Lioness ! Numberous deers , Blackbull ( neelguy) were amongst the wildlife that we spotted in our drives.
The Sharp scary silence, mystic colour and the charm of one of the greatest Wildlife destination in the country is indeed worth visiting. Hopefully the governments and the forest departments take care in not allowing private hotels and farms to encroach into the territory of the King!
Next Day was supposed to be our last day in Gir, and we decided to visit the Devaliya national Park. For those who have missed out on Open jeep safari and also missed out on watching the Lion in its glory, Devaliya National Park would certainly fulfilll it. Its kind of a mini 20 - 20 min safari in a fenced region in a closed bus.
We left Gir , and with us an amazing experience. Attitude of the natural habitat of the king of the jungle certainly leaves a deep impact on our minds. Gir , is probably the only place in India to have the Lions in their own natural habitat , a species which was once on the risk of being on the verge of extinction about nine decades ago. The king of Junagadh took important measures in protecting the Lions and their habitat. And from less than 120 lions in mid 1920 - 1930's to about 523 lions in 2015, Gir is probably the best wild life conservation stories in the world , certainly worth a visit..