Known for its significant density of Asiatic lions, Gujarat’s Gir National Park is one of the nation’s celebrated wildlife reserves, attracting adventure lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and also bird watchers. After Africa, travellers can spot these royal and massive cats in their natural form within the protected terrain of Gir National Park. This arid region houses more than just lions: it is an important site to watch magnificient and colourful birds taking flight together.
Location of Gir National Park
Nestled amidst the arid terrain of Gujarat and surrounded by the compact tract of dry deciduous forest, lies a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers – the Gir National Park. This sprawling 545-square-mile expanse, aptly nicknamed the “Royal Kingdom of Asiatic Lions,” is the last refuge of these majestic creatures on Earth. Once teetering on the brink of extinction, their numbers have soared remarkably, thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, with the latest census revealing a thriving population of 674 lions.
About the National Park
Gir’s allure extends far beyond the captivating presence of its apex predators. Its unique ecosystem, characterized by steep, arid scrubland, pulsates with diverse life forms. From majestic leopards and spotted deers to scavenging hyenas and elusive honey badgers, the park breathes with an exhilarating symphony of wildlife.
Places to Visit
Apart from the heart-pounding encounters with wildlife, the Gir National Park renders experiences for every kind of traveller. Visitors can immerse themselves in the serenity of the Kamleshwar Dam, the prime site for marsh crocodiles and a birdlife. History buffs can delve into the past at the Durbar Hall Museum, where remnants of the Nawabs’ reign come alive through paintings, weaponry, and intricate artifacts. Travellers, in search of spirituality, can ascend the Girnar Mountains and explore the ancient Jain Temples that perch atop their peaks. In addition, the visitors can visit the renowned Somnath Temple, a mere 70 kilometers away. The sacred aura of the site adds another dimension to the journey.
Visitors can embark on breath-taking jeep safaris through eight designated routes, led by experienced guides who gradually reveal the secrets of the wildlife. The explorers must keep their eyes peeled for blackbucks grazing in the plains, boars trotting through the undergrowth, and the rare four-horned antelope, a true spectacle of natural wonder.
Beyond the park’s boundaries, adventure is available in varied forms:
- Junagadh Zoo: site for diverse species
- Nalsarovar Lake : a haven for migratory birds and a photographer’s paradise
- Uperkot Fort: testament to the region’s past
Route to the Gir
Planning the Gir National Park escapade is a breeze with various transportation options that are always available. By road, a network of state highways connects the park to cities like Junagadh, Veraval, Amreli, and Una. The Sasan railway station, conveniently located within the park’s vicinity, offers easy access from Junagadh and Veraval. And visitors arriving by air can access the Keshod Airport and Diu Airport to reach this wildlife wonderland.
Right Season to Visit
To experience the actual magic of Gir National Park, a traveller can visit Gujarat during the winter months between December and March. The crisp air and vibrant atmosphere will rejuvenate their soul, transporting them away from the mundane to a world of untamed beauty.
Travellers can witness the regal stride of the Asiatic lion, marvel at the symphony of wildlife, and lose themselves in the verdant embrace of nature in Gujarat. As adventure awaits in Gujarat’s wilderness, the call to explore Gir National Park and its surrounding treasures is impossible to resist.