State : Gujrat
Total Area : 1,412.14 sq. km.
Lion sanctuary 141,213 hectares (of which national park 35,948 hectares)
Situated about 65km SE of Junagarh district in the state of Gujarat
in South West India, the National Park was established on 18th September,
1965, as a Forest Reserve, primarily to conserve the Asiatic lion-classified
as one of the World's most threatened species. Now Gir National
Park is the only remaining place in the world, where one is likely
to see the Asiatic Lion. The sanctuary covers a total area of 1,412
sq. km of which 258 sq.km at the core forms the National park. Permits
are required to enter this part of the sanctuary.
Gir National Park
is the only remaining habitat of the Asiatic
lion, which has been confined to this forest, since 1884 ( about
239 lions were reported in 1985 ).The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller
than its African cousin, nevertheless, a large male lion of the
Gir is quite a sight to behold. The best way to observe the big
cats is, of course, in their natural surroundings, at dawn and dusk,
when they are on the prowl. The Forest Department does arrange lion
shows every Sunday, where the spectators can watch prides of lions
on the hunt.There are guided trips available, to watch these magnificent
animals from a very close range.
The chinkara, wild boar, striped hyena, jackal, common langur, porcupine,
hare, black buck, are the other animals, that can be found in this
sanctuary. There are over 200 bird species including the peafowl,
grey partridge, Bonelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, jungle bush
quail, painted sandgrouse, common green pigeon and several species
of doves . The Gir is also home to the marsh crocodile, which can
be sighted easily in its rivers, particularly in the lake of the
Kamaleshwar dam. There is also a crocodile breeding farm at Sasan.
The land is rugged with deep ravines, steep rocky hills and plenty
of rivers. The vegetation, mainly along the main rivers and streams
is mixed deciduous, with Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees,
interspersed with large patches of grasslands and offers the visitor
long pleasant drives, through the thick forest cover. These trees
are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, giving the area a cool shade
and moisture content. The Gir forest is dry for most of the year
with scrub trees, like babul and few flowering trees. Prosopis and
Casuarina have been planted in the coastal border as part of the
Within the sanctuary, there are numerous human settlements of cattle
herders called Maldharis. There are also places of Hindu worship
and pilgrimage and sulphur springs at Tulsi Shyam and Kankai Mata.
At the edge of the park there are good populations of Indian Gazelle,
protected by the religious sentiment of the local people.
Climate (Gir Wildlife Sanctuary)
From the three common seasons of summer, winter and monsoon, summer
takes the longest stretch, in which the average minimum and maximum
temperature ranges between 10ºC to nearly 45ºC. The hottest
months recorded in Gir are April and May. The rains bring some relief
from the heat during the monsoons period of, starting from middle
of June and September. The maximum recorded during this period in
the area is around 1,866 mm and the minimum recorded being 199mm.
Because of less rainfall water always remains a critical factor
in the well being of the forest. At times the waterholes are required
to be replenished through water tankers from outside and the park
staff maintains around 350 of such waterholes.
How to Reach
: Nearest airport is Keshod 90-km via Veraval.
There are daily flights from Mumbai to Keshod. Drive to Gir from
Keshod or Rajkot (166-kms) airports.
: Meter gauge rail line of 395-kms from Ahemedabad.
There is also a railway station at Sasan Gir (1km).
: Distance of 400-kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot,
Junagadh and Mendarda. State Transport buses are also available
from Junagadh via Mendarda (65 kms) and Veraval (42 km) between
November and June.