Sasan Gir Tourism
The blissful realm of Asiatic Lions
|District||: Junagadh &Amreli|
|Type of Tourism||: Wild life|
|Area||: 1,412 square kilometers|
|Population of Asiatic Lions||: 411 (in 2010)|
|Altitude||: 225 to 648 meters above the sea level|
|Languages spoken||: Gujarati, Hindi, English|
|Best Tourist Season||: Mid October to Mid June|
|Telephone Code||: India (02877-5), International (+91)|
|Pin Codes||: 362135|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton clothes, simple and loose fitting, dark in color that would provide you camouflage in the wilderness|
|Local transportation||: Jeep Safari, Elephant Safari|
- Do not break the silence of the jungle and do not disturb the wild animals.
- Do not try to tease the animals or irritate them. This might make them angry and provoke them to attack you.
- Do not litter.
- Make sure that you are accompanied with an official guide when you go for the safari.
- Smoking, drinking or any such kind of activities should not be indulged in within the premises of the park.
- Do not use flash or any kind of intrusive photography.
- Do not pick up plants or insects from the jungle.
- Wear simple, loose fitting and dark colored clothes like black, brown and green that would easily blend with the surroundings.
- Do not get down the safari vehicle inside the park as this is not the place for your walking or hiking.
- Camping or picnicking is not allowed inside the park.
- Carry plenty of water along as the weather mostly remains hot and humid.
- The lion safaris are scheduled thrice a day: 6:00 am, 9:00 am and 3:30 pm
About Sasan Gir
Gir Forest National Park, also known as ‘Sasan Gir’ is a celebrated wildlife sanctuary of the state of Gujarat that provides a shielded refuge to the Asiatic Lions; one of the most endangered species that faces a high risk of extinction in near future. Established in the year 1965, the Gir Forest National Park boasts of being the exclusive abode of the pure Asiatic Lions and one of the most crucial protected areas of the Asia Continent. Positioned approximately 65 kilometers to the southeast of Junagadh, the Gir Forest National Park is spread over an extensive area of about 1412 square kilometers which is divided into two parts, i.e. the fully protected National Park (258 sq km) and the sanctuary (1154 sq km).
This forest region of Gir was declared a ‘conservation area’ by the then Nawab of the ‘Princely State of Junagadh’ in early 1900 s itself. This enterprise of the Nawab of Junagadh utterly assisted in the protection of the Asiatic Lions whose population had dropped down to only 15 as a result of the unrestrained hunting sports of the aristocrats and their hunger for hunting trophies. In consequence of the timely pronouncement made by the Nawab and the relentless endeavors of the Forest Department of State Government, Wildlife Activists and a number of NGOs, the Asiatic Lions and the eco system of Sasan Gir with its miscellaneous flora and fauna today stands appreciably safeguarded.
According to the records of the census of April 2010, the lion population in Gir is reported to be 411, which indicates an increase of 52 as compared to the count of census 2005 i.e. 359. The Lion Breeding Program has established a Lion Breeding Center at the Sakkarbaug Zoo of Junagadh which has effectively bred nearly 180 lions till today. The Asiatic Lions reside in dry scrub land and open deciduous forest. Despite the fact that the Gir Forest is well protected, the lions still face some lethal threats like being poisoned by the locals for attacking their livestock, epidemics, floods, fires and other natural calamities.
Gir Forest National Park due to its international repute as the only residence of Asiatic Lions receives deluge of domestic and overseas tourists every season. For promoting nature education and also reducing tourism danger upon the wildlife, an Interpretation Zone has been established at Devalia within the premises of Sasan Gir. Tourists can enjoy a safari tour in this Interpretation Zone where all types of the habitats of Gir Forest are kept inside the chained fences fortified by double gate entry system. The best period to pay a visit to the Gir Forest National Park is mid October to mid June. Tourists are requested to abide by the rules set up by the National Park authorities and not to disturb the peace and disrupt the order of the wildlife there.
Bequeathed with seven perennial rivers namely Hiran, Datardi, Shetrunji, Shingoda, Godavari, Raval and Machhundri and enveloped with over 400 botanical species, the Gir Forest National Park or Sasan Gir Sanctuary provides a protected home to nearly 2,375 distinct species of animals which includes 38 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and over 2000 species of insects. Some of the most worth mentioning carnivores animals sighted in the Gir Forest include Asiatic lions, Indian Leopards, Jungle cats, Sloth bears, Indian Mongoose, Golden Jackals, Striped Hyenas, Indian Palm Civets, Indian Cobras, Ratels, Desert cats and Rusty-spotted cats. The chief herbivores species found in Sasan Gir comprise of Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild boar, Blackbucks, Four-horned Antelope, Chinkara etc. The smaller mammals spotted here include Porcupine, Hare and Pangolin. Some of the noteworthy reptiles of Gir National Park are; Marsh crocodile, Indian Crocodile, Monitor Lizard, Indian Star Tortoise, Snakes, Pythons, etc. The avifauna of the sanctuary includes Vultures, Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Indian Eagle-Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Pygmy Woodpecker, Rock Bush-Quail, Black Headed Oriole, Indian Pitta and Crested Treeswift.
The Hindu and Muslim pastoral communities who reside at Gir and the surrounding regions are known as ‘Maldharis’. They reside in their traditional settlements known as ‘nesses’ and pursue the occupation of tending Jafrabadi buffalos, Gir cows and other livestock such as camels, goats and sheep. Sorathi Rabari is the most famous pastoral ethnic group of Gir. The Siddis dwelling in this terrain have African origins that are believed to have migrated from various African countries as soldiers, laborers or slaves. Over the years Siddis grew in power and became rulers. In the Gir domain there are several exclusive Siddi villages who are acclaimed for their traditional dance forms, other performing arts and their Nagarshi Pir Shrine located at Jhambur.