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India Wildlife Adventure >> Travelogues >> A Visit to Gir National Forest

A Visit to Gir National Forest

       By - Tom Hanery, Britain
       Date of Visit - 25-03-2004






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Lion - Gir Natioanal ParkA 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 gigantic lions.

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.

Information & tours of Gir National Park

Resorts in Gir Maneland Jungle Lodge, Sinh Sadan Guest House

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