Gir National Park- The flourishing kingdom of lion
Initially a hunting reserve for the Nawabs of Junagarh, today Gir forest situated in Gujarat is the only adobe of the Asiatic Lion in the world. When the animal was under huge threat then the Nawab imposed a ban on hunting these mighty animals and the efforts were huge success when the count of the animal rose from 12 to 250 during the year 1900 to 1936.
The Gir National Park and Sanctuary is situated in the south-west of the Saurashtra in the state of Gujarat. The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary covers 1412.4 sq. km.
TheGir forest, which falls mainly within Junagadh district shares a small portion in the Amreli district. The fantastic magical presense of the Asiatic Lion in its only habitat compliments the efforts of the State Government and the natives of the area.
The Breathtaking Wildlife Richness:
Gir National Park is combination is now the house for about 523 lions. Apart of the Asiatic Lions Gir is habitat of 38 species of mammals, 300 species of birds and37 species of reptiles.
So in brief Gir has everything to offer the wildlife lovers whether it’s the mighty and fantastic Asiatic Lion or pretty rare snakes. Indian Leopards, Indian Cobras, Jungle Cats, Striped Hyenas, Golden Jackals, Indian Mongoose, Indian Palm Civets and Honey Badgers etc.
The innocence of Cheetal, Chinkara, Four-horned Antelope andSambar along with reptiles like marsh Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards and the snakes like Pythons are waiting here for your visit.
TheGir has avifauna population has more than 300 species of birds, most of which are resident. The scavenger group of birds has 6 recorded species of hard clawed vultures. Some of the typical species of Gir include crested serpent eagle, endangered Bonelli's eagle, crested hawk-eagle, brown fish owl, Indian eagle-owl, rock bush-quail, Indian peafowl and pygmy woodpecker etc.
Best time to visit:
The Protected Area is closed between June and October. Climatically, December to March is a good season, but April and May though very hot are by far the best months for wildlife viewing and photography. A 3-4 day stay to Gir helps the chance of witnessing a variety of wildlife including Lions.
Additional places to visit:
A morning visit to the KamleshwarDham is recommended. There are some old temples like Kankai Mata and Tulsishyam, a place of hot springs. The modern temple of Somnath constructed recently on the site of the ancient temple is 45 kms away. The thorn-fenced settlements of the Maldharis called nes also deserve the visit. They are extremely hospitable by nature and their lives have changed little over the years and their folklore and the unique face to face encounter of the local people is a much advised experience to go through.
How to Reach:
State transport buses make the two hour trip between Junagadh and Veraval via SasanGir, at least four times a day.
A number of state highways connect to Gir:
From Junagadh - Junagadh - Medharda - Talala
Junagadh - Visavadar
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