real encounter to a wild beast, 'The royal jungle king' was my cherished
dream. When a long awaited opportunity came my way, I could not suppress my
emotions and planned a tour for Gir National Park in north west of Gujarat.
My complete tour was organized through a travel agent. Gir is the only
place and probably the last refuge of the Asiatic Lions as told by my agent.
After arriving at Sasan Gir one of the major railhead, I was taken up by
the AC tourist cab to 'The Sinh Sadan Guest House' lodge located on the main
highway through Sasan. The accommodation had all the modern amenities with
hot and cold-water baths and excellent cuisine. After spending a relaxing
night, I was all set for a hectic day full of adventure and thrill. I opted
for a jeep safari as they are the best ways to explore the wide home of
As we proceeded, I could enjoy the distinct belt of vegetation found along
the main stream. Gir is the mixed deciduous type of forest with teak, ber,
and babul trees growing at a long stretch. It was a long pleasant drive
through forest covers, having a hilly terrain with plenty of rivers.
Being a wild life enthusiast I wanted to know more about those majestic
predators called lions, my well-trained guide and expert aquainted me with
the various facts. This Asiatic lion is slightly smaller then its African
cousin. It can weigh upto 200-250kg and could be 8-9 feet in length. The
best way to observe these beasts in their natural habitat is at dawn and
dusk. Gir National Park is a heaven to about 300 Asiatic lions. They are
most endangered cat species of the world. The government of India has
declared the park as a protected wildlife area and is undertaking constant
research to save these species from the point of extinction.
It didn't take us long to sight this elusive mammal. I was wonder stuck at
the sight of this Royal family and couldn't stop gazing at, as this was a
fabulous treat to my eyes. The cubs were wading in waterhole while his
majesty with his queen was enjoying the glance with utmost pride. I have
never known a beast so majestic and captivating. I was lucky to be there on
Sunday as Forest Department organizes the Lion show, where I came across
quite elusive beasts roaming nonchalantly in the wooded forest and could
watch the prides of lions on the hunt. It is indeed fascinating to catch the
lion in its various subtlety of mood.
The vast Gir forest a coveted home to these wild animals, also treasures
chinkara, langoors, wild boar, porcupine and almost 200 variety of bird
species along with marsh crocodile, which I could easily spot in the lake of
the Kamaleshwar Dam. Apart from lion, Gir has considerable population of
leopard, upto 294.
At the end of the day I could only say, to my bewilderment I found much
more then I expected .If there is heaven on this earth for these gigantic
kings then it's only in Gir National Park.