Gir National Park, Gujarat – India. Where the majestic Asiatic Lion roams free. Open 16th October to 15th June of next year.

Gir, a successful conservation program.

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia.

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia.

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India has a massive population problem but it has been able to arrest the plunder of the nation’s natural wealth.
But, before it was too late, the Indian government woke up to the situation and went to work. Today we have 515 wildlife sanctuaries that provide protection and safe breeding space to these animals that require human help in surviving.

Out of these 515 sanctuaries, 41 are exclusive Tiger reserves that shelter and aid the existence of this majestic animal.
1. There are entry fees on per head basis; they range from INR 100 to INR 1000 (about US $15). However, visitors may kindly check.

2. The Gir sanctuary opens every year to admit visitors from 16th October to 15th of June next year.
Come meet the royal Asiatic lion! The government of India banned it hunting in 1960.

Since, this was the last preserve for the majestic king of the jungle; hence, it got the pride (sic) of place.
This is perhaps one of a few places where you can see lions roaming about freely.

In 1965, the government notified the area called sasangir which is situated 68 Km from Junagadh.

It covers 1412 Km in which about 257 Km is earmarked as the exclusive enclosed area of the National Park.
Gir National park has been one of the biggest efforts of conservation that has produced results due to sustained patronage.

It was a joint effort of the Nawabs of Junagadh and the department of forests.

At that time, there were only about 20 lions left in the area.

However, the Nawabs of the princely state of Junagadh and the forest department officials got together to put it right. They worked very hard and were able to provide proper adequate protection to the endangered Lion.

Last year the census revealed a much-improved figure of 523 with 213 growing lions, 201 females and 201 males; this figure was 359 in 2005 and 411 in 2010.

The presence of the following perennial rivers that are flowing through Gir forest helps to sustain life here:
• Saraswati,
• Datardi,
• Machhundri,
• Raval,
• Ghodavadi,
• Shingoda.

Furthermore, there are two major attractions in the Gir forest area which the tourists love to visit:
• Kankai Mata temple, and
• Tulishyam Hot Springs.

In addition, there are other species of wildlife that include the following:
• Cheetahs,
• Leopards,
• Cobras,
• Crocodiles,
• Ratels or honey badgers,
• Striped Hyenas, Wild cats,
• Golden Jackals, and
• More than 300 species of birds.

Since, Indian temperatures are quite high during from April to August for visitors from the warmer countries; for tourists from cooler countries, it will be best to arrive after mid-November and visit till late March.

Summer: April to June
Winter: October to March
Monsoon: July to September
The average rainfall: 600 mm to 1000 mm
Temperatures: Maximum 45*C Minimum 05*C

The best period to visit: The Gir sanctuary opens every year to admit visitors from 16th October to 15th of June next year.

In addition, there are a variety of desert fauna among which the most prominent are:
• The Lion
• The rusty spotted cat,
• And various species of animals, reptiles and birds.


However, Gir National Park is easily accessible by almost all modes of transport as follows:

Nearest Airport: Keshod , 60 Kms away,
Rajkot Airport is 168 Km from the park; four hours by road.

Junagadh Railway Station (68 Km away) is connected by the Indian Railways network to all parts of the country.

Furthermore, the roads in India are now very well-developed particularly on the highways. Now, it is very easy to get an inter-city air-conditioned bus run by the government or the private operators.

But, due to the topography and the restrictions of the Gir sanctuary area, the resorts are a bit far away from the actual sanctuary.

In addition, a number of high-class resorts with all facilities are available in the vicinity of the national Park. Almost all of them have interactive websites.

Hence, it will be worth your while to search on the internet before finalizing your plans.

Happy travelling!

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Saturday, April 15, 2017