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.
Other Attractions in the Gir National Park
Within the Gir National Park, the Kankai Mata temple and
Tulishyam Hot Springs are located in a scenic surrounding.
These are the natural hot springs where one can take bath. It
is about 90 km. from the entrance to the sanctuary. The forest
is also known for its cattle herders, the Madharis, whose
buffaloes form a substantial part of the lions meals.
How to reach Gir National Park
The nearest airport is located at Keshod.
The nearest railway station is located at Junagadh. This
station is located on the Ahmedabad – Junagadh and Rajkot –
Gir National Park is connected to various cities in Gujarat.
Junagadh is about 60 kms from the Gir National Park.