Gir National Park & wildlife sanctuary is located as a last abode of Asiatic Lions (Panthera Leo Persica) in the world. It is located in Gujarat state of Western India. It is also called Sasan Gir. As mentioned, it is the only place in world, where you can see Asiatic Lion species. It is a dry deciduous forest in Southern part of Gujarat state. This forest is the last ultimate habitat of the dwindling population of Asiatic lion in Saurashtra region. Their was a time then only 20 Asiatic Lions were left in Sasan Gir forest thus Nawab of Junagarh declared this forest as protected area in year 1900. In those days, it was hunting preserve for Junagarh Princely State in which British India Officers were invited, time to time for hunting expeditions. Here we can find more than 32 mammal species and 300 bird species which indicates that it as a very good birding site. In year 1977, Forest Department adopted Indian Crocodile Conservation Project to revive their population and conservation.
Sasan Gir forest was under princely state of Junagarh. It was ruled by Babai dynasty, founded in year 1654 but they remain under Mughal Empire. They independently establish princely state of Jungagarh in year 1730, after collapse of Mughal dynasty and conflict with Marathas empire. During British India rule they became British protectorate till year 1948. Like other royal families of India, they also use this forest for their hunting expeditions. As forest is spread the base of Girnar hills which is linked with Hindu & Jain religions and whose reference comes in ancient scripts thus its name "Gir" is derived from it. Just like other ancient princely states of India, here also state controlled hunting was going on which resulted into huge loss of Asiatic Lions. In those days, Asiatic Lions were present on other regions of India but on their downfall. Best thing about Jungadh princely state was their timing. They were among the early states who undertook Lion Conservation project with the beginning of 20th century. With the advent of firearms, massive hunting was recorded in India from year 1800 to 1860. It was the period when Asiatic Lions have their presence in majority of India. In year 1890, when Prince Victor Albert (Duke of Clarence), elder brother of King George V was on visit to India. He expressed the desire for Lion hunting in India and till this time, Asiatic Lions were left on region of Kathiawar in Saurashtra. As it was part of princely state of Junagarh so Nawab of state took the responsibility to arrange the services for him. Unfortunately, due to relentless hunting, large number of lions are already killed and they faced lot of difficulty in locating a lion for shooting. Some how it is done and this incidence inspired Nawab Saheb Sir Muhammed Mahabat Khanji - III to take necessary step for Lion conservation.
In order to plan for Sasan Gir tour, it is important to know the safari timings so that accordingly we will draw our tour plan, decide arrival & departure schedule. Given time table is of Gir Jungle Trail, which is actual jungle safari experience in core zone. You can make the bookings in last 3 months. Advance booking is highly recommended.
|Period||Morning Safari||Afternoon Safari|
|16 Oct - 28/29 Feb (Mon-Sun)||06:45 - 09:45 Hrs||15:00 - 18:00 Hrs|
|01 Mar - 15 June (Mon-Sun)||06:00 - 09:00 Hrs||16:00 - 19:00 Hrs|
|16 Oct - 15 June (Mon-Sun)||06:30 - 10:30 Hrs||--|
|16 June - 15 Oct||Closed||Closed|
Here the park management authority retains the right to change the safari timing at any time as per situation. Usually park opens 30 minutes before sunset and closes 30 minutes after sunset. As per change in sunrise and sunset timing, park authority adjusts the park entry & exit timing.
Jungle safari options at Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary are almost similar to other popular tiger reserves of India, with some variations. Jungle safaris are mainly done on open jeeps, as we do in other national parks like Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba, Ranthambore. Here you will find mainly two variations of jungle safari i.e. Gir Jungle Trail in which safari in core zone of national park, covering vast area and second type is safari is in Gir Interpretation Zone - Devalia which is done by Bus and Jeep, in an large enclosure. Both the safari options are available for both Indian and Foreigner tourists. Their timings are fixed. Here you need to note that GIZ-Devalia safari remains closed on every Wednesday. In order to experience the real jungle, we recommend to give priority to Gir Jungle Trail option. If you are short of time and want assured lion sightseeing then Gir Interpretation Zone - Devalia option is more suitable for you. Here system is such that more and more tourists can attend safari.
Gir national park is located in Gujarat state of Western India. It is a dry deciduous scrub forest type thus accordingly mammal species can be seen here. As per record, about 32 mammal species have been recorded here in which prominent species are Asiatic Lion, Leopard, Stripped Hyena, Wolf, Jackal, Desert Cat, Small Indian Civet Cat, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Chinkara, Four-horned antelope, Hanuman Langur etc. Here Leopard sighting is very good due to their high density. Their is no tiger in this state.
The avifauna of Gir national park is best with more than 300 bird species. If you are interested in bird watching and bird photography, then this place is a paradise for you. Here majority of bird species are resident or local migrant thus good birding is possible throughout the safari season. Here commonly seen bird species includes Jungle Bush Quail, Indian Peafowl (Peacock), Lesser Whistling Teal, Ruddy Shelduck, Comb Duck, Common Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Indian Grey Hornbill, Hoopoe, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Koel, Small Blue Kingfisher, Little Green Bee-eater, Shikra, White-eyed Buzzard, Imperial Eagle etc.
Before visiting to any destination, it is important to know how to reach that destination. For any tourist destination, travelers are of different categories thus their way of reaching that destination may also varies.
Nearest Airport = Keshod airport (70 kms), Rajkot airport (170 kms) & Jamnagar airport (200 kms). Here most of the tourists uses Rajkot airport. Further journey is possible by cab.
Nearest Railway Station = Junagarh station (50 kms), Veraval station (50 kms) and Rajkot station (160 kms). Here Rajkot station is well connected and most suitable for tourists.
Nearest Bus Stand = If you are coming by road, then consider the options like Rajkot, Diu, Junagadh, Veraval, Keshod etc. Cab services are available from these places.
Gir national park is popular for its Asiatic Lions population thus first priority of tourists is to have their sighting, during safari. Unlike tiger reserves, here Lion population is very good which means easy sighting, during safari so whole safari season is good for lion safari. Now other attractions are its Crocodiles, Birds and its jungle. So here climatic condition plays decisive role in considering its best time to visit. Here majority of tourists are prefering the period of November to March as their best time to visit.
Gir national park is having good number of accommodation facility in all budget categories.
After completing the Gir national park visit, other best options to visit are Somnath Temple, Rajkot, Veraval, Velavadar, Dwarka etc.