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Gir National Park

Lioness © Anish Andheria

Spotted Deer (Chital) © Anish Andheria

Leopard © Anish Andheria

Lioness with cubs © Anish Andheria

Lion © Anish Andheria

Misty winter morning in Gir © Anish Andheria

Rabari herders © Shutterstock

Pair of Asiatic Lions in Gir © Shutterstock

Gir National Park

West India

Rugged, scraggly, brown and dry, Gir is best known as the last bastion of the Asiatic lion. A beautiful hilly but harsh and thorny habitat in southern Gujarat, it is the last remnant of native landscape within the Saurashtra peninsula, yet often compared with the African bushveld. Old lion adversaries including leopards, hyenas, jackals and sloth bears live here too. The lions that once ranged from Asia Minor to the northern plains of India almost came to the brink of extinction due to a combination of reduced habitat and mindless hunting. Today, roughly 526 of them can be found in and around Gir, the only individuals left on the subcontinent. The forest area and its lions were declared as ’protected’ in the early 1900’s by the then Nawabs of the princely state of Junagadh. This initiative assisted in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only fifteen due to endless trophy hunting. In the years after India’s independence, Prime Minister Nehru, spurre...d on by conservationists like Dr Salim Ali, formally declared Gir a Forest Reserve in 1965 and eventually a National Park in 1974 with a total area of 1,412 square kilometres. While on your safari, don’t be surprised if you find tribesmen roaming this lion country on foot with their cattle without a care. These people are from the Maldhari tribe that translates to ‘owner of animals’. These colourful, nomadic people have lived alongside lions for millennia – with mutual respect.
The best way to get a sense of Gir is to drive along Sasan and Kankai, Baval Chowk, Chodavadi and Tulsi Shyam zones. Seven rivers run through the park: the Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi and Raval. These are great places to spot marsh crocodiles and turtles along with aquatic birds. Most of the year you will find a variety of animals that come to quench their thirst on the banks.
It might be a desert, but Gir is home to a plethora of wildlife. Apart from the Asiatic lions, the hunters include leopards, sloth bears, striped hyenas and golden jackals. Herbivores are also aplenty - chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar. Among the smaller mammals, porcupine, hare and pangolin scurry beneath your feet. Gir has the highest population of marsh crocodiles among all Protected Areas in India. The plentiful avifauna population has more than 300 species of birds. There are six recorded species of vultures alone.
Make a trip to the crocodile hatchery and learn about these interesting creatures. For the spiritually inclined, the famous Somnath and Palitana Jain Temples are close by. People flock in droves to pay their respects to their deities here. Junagarh Fort is another attraction mainly for those interested in the history of the region. Diu is a beach town where you can go to relax and soak up some sun and sand
The park and the Girnar temple attract thousands of visitors every year putting pressure on the forest. There are also roads and a railway track that runs through Gir causing numerous road kills. Experts have urged that a new home be found for the lions and a rich forest in Madhya Pradesh, called Kuno Palpurhas been identified for relocating a small pride. But this idea does not find favour with Gujarat as it feels that its monopoly on the lions will end. Hopefully, a resolution to the problem will be found to the advantage of the lions in the long term, with the ex-Gujarat Chief Minister now India’s Prime Minister. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org.

Destination Information

How To Book

Your lodge or tour operator can book a safari for you, or you can visit: www.girlion.in

Park Timings

Morning: 06:00 am to 09:00 am and 09:00 am to 12:00 pm Evening: 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm Gir Jungle Trail remains closed from 16th June to 15th October every year

Getting Around the Park

Jeeps called ‘gypsies’ that carry 4 to 6 persons. Book through your operator, lodge or at the gate. Cost from R 1,200 per game drive.

Entry Fees

For Indian NationalsWeekdays: R 800 | Weekends: R 1,000Festival days: R 1,200 For Foreign Nationals: Weekdays: R 4,800 | Weekends: R 6,000Festival days: R 7,500
By Air: Diu (110 km), Rajkot (156 km), Ahmedabad (348 km). Transport can be hired to drive to the park. By Rail / Road: Junagadh (65 km) is the nearest town. Transportation is available from the railway station.
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Woods At Sasan Resort and Spa

Nestled among 300 lush mango trees, Woods at Sasan  sits within this eight-acre orchard at the edge of the National Park.

The Fern Gir Forest Resort

In the land of the famous Asiatic lions at Sasan Gir, The Fern Gir Forest Resort offers 40 well-appointed, air-conditioned villas, suites, cottages and tents,

Other Destinations To Combine

Little Rann of Kutch

West India

Dasada is a small village in Surendranagar district in Gujarat that serves as an ideal base

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

West India

Ranthambhore National Park is part of the much large 1333sq km Ranthambhore Tiger reserve,

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

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