GIR NATIONAL PARK TOURISM | WILDLIFE SAFARI & TRAVEL GUIDE TO GIR
About Gir National Park
Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day
Nearest City to Gir National Park: Junagadh (54 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Gir National Park: October to June
Peak Season: December to March
At a distance of 42 km from Somnath, 54 km from Junagadh, 96 km from Diu, 145 km from Porbandar, 156 km from Rajkot, 195 km from Jamnagar, 246 km from Dwarka, 372 km from Ahmedabad, 387 km from Bhuj, 441 km from Vadodara, and 594 km from Surat, Gir National Park is a wildlife sanctuary situated at Sasan Gir in Gujarat. Also known as Sasan Gir, it is one of the renowned national parks in India and among the best places to include in Gujarat packages.
Established as a sanctuary in 1965, Gir National Park is the most popular sanctuaries in India during your wildlife tour as it is the royal kingdom of Asiatic lions and essentially the only place besides Africa on earth where these majestic beasts roam freely. Gir is the part of Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests eco-region that stretches across Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. Out of 1412 sq. km area, the park's core zone, which extends for almost 258 sq. km, was declared as a national park in 1975.
The terrain of the Gir National Park is made up of successive rugged ridges, isolated hills, plateaus and valleys. Gir forms the catchment of seven perennial rivers and 4 dams - one each on the Hiran, the Shingoda, the Machhundri, and the Raval. The biggest reservoir is the Kamleshwar Dam on Hiran River, which is called as the lifeline of Gir. Droughts and water scarcity are a major challenge in the region, especially during peak summers.
During the British rule, the lion population touched an all-time low of 20 in the year 1913. The serious conservation efforts by the then Nawab of Junagadh saved the species from the brink of extinction in his own private hunting grounds. Later, the Department of Forest Officials came forward to protect these world's most threatened species. As per the statistics of 2015, the lion population in Gir has risen to 523 from its extinction number of 20 in the year 1913. There are 106 male, 201 female and 213 sub-adult lions in the wilderness of Sasan Gir.
Besides, being the last abode of Asiatic lions, Gir Forests forms a unique habitat for around 38 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects. The Asiatic lion, Indian leopard, jungle cat, striped hyena, Golden jackal, Indian and Ruddy mongoose, honey badger, chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar are the mammals of Gir. Crested Serpent Eagle, the Bonelli's Eagle, the Changeable Hawk Eagle, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Jungle Bush Quail, the Pygmy Woodpecker, the Black-hooded Oriole, the Crested Tree Swift and the Monarch Flycatcher are the important bird species found in the park.
The entrance gate to the park is located at Sasan Gir village beside Sinh Sadan. Only Jeep Safari is available at Gir. There is no canter safari or elephant safari unlike to the other national parks of India. Private open Gypsies, registered by the Forest Department are available locally along with the well-trained Guide. All the Permits are issued online by the Forest Department. Only 30 vehicles are allowed in the national park at a time. Besides, there is also a Gir Interpretation Zone, also known as Devalia Safari Park at Devalia, and was established to reduce the excess of tourists at the Gir National Park. It is an enclosed area of around 4 sq. km that contains a variety of wildlife, including lions. A bus takes visitors on a 30-40 minute tour of it.
The nearest airport to Gir National Park is Rajkot, which is about 157 km away from Gir. At a distance of about 1 km from Gir, Sasan Gir Railway Station is the nearest railway station which has direct trains from Junagadh, Veraval, Delvada, and Dhasa. Sasan Gir Bus Stand is well connected by bus with Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Somnath, Junagadh, Kodinar, Una, Veraval and Vadodara. However, Junagadh is the nearest major transport hub to Gir.
The park remains open every year from mid-October to mid-June and closed during monsoon season from July to September. While, Devalia Safari Park is open throughout the year. The best visiting season of Gir National Park is during the months of December to March.
Safari Timings: 6 AM - 9 AM, 8.30 AM - 11 AM & 3 PM - 6 PM
Devalia Timings: 7.30 AM - 11 AM & 3 PM - 5 PM, Closed on Wednesday
Safari Cost for Indians: Rs. 800 for 6 Persons & Rs. 100 for extra Child on Weekdays, Rs. 1000 for 6 Persons, & Rs. 125 for extra Indian Child on Weekends & on Festival days
Safari Cost for Foreigners: Rs. 5600 for 6 Persons & Rs. 1400 for extra Child on Weekdays, Rs. 7000 for 6 Persons, & Rs. 1750 for extra Child on Weekends & on Festival days
Devalia Safari Cost: Rs. 150 for group of 6 Indians & Rs. 240