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Gir National Park

The last bastion of the Asiatic lions and one of the best places to sight the elusive leopards, Sasan Gir National Park in Gujrat is a unique wildlife sanctuary dominated by short and gnarled teak trees, thorn bushes, grassland and rocky hills.

The Gir National Park is located about 65km to the south-east of Junagadh City, on the Kathiawar peninsula of Gujarat. Gir is a beautiful, but harsh wilderness that reminds one of Africa.

Once the lions habitat in India stretched from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in the north, across to Bihar in the east and even to the Narmada valley; however, hunting and habitat destruction almost completely wiped out the lions. The intervention of the Nawab of Junagadh in early 1870 assisted in the conservation of the lions, whose population had plummeted to only 15 at that time. Subsequently the Gir National Park was established in 1965 with an area of 1412km2 to protect the lions. Today it boasts of more than 400 of the royal animal.

The topography of Gir is dominated by deciduous forest, interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands and rocky hills. Seven rivers pass through Gir: the Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi and Raval. The water from these rivers is the key to the survival of the lions; it also feeds the large water bodies that are home of crocodiles and a large number of birds.

Asiatic lions are smaller in size than the African lions and have shorter manes. Sighting lions is best early in the morning, when they are out on patrol or hunt. Due to the nature of the habitat Gir is also a great place to spot the elusive leopards.

Maldharis of Gir
Maldharis are synonymous with Gir. They are a unique clan of graziers who live within the forest close to the lions and are acknowledged as the best source of knowledge of the Gir lions.  Their relationship with the lions is unique, as both respect each other and do not harm each-other.

Siddis of Gir
Siddis are a community of African origin, who initially came to India as slaves around 12th century. Subsequently, they settled in the subcontinent during the 12th – 19th century. In Gir, there are villages of the Siddis, who have preserved some African traditions such as the Goma music and dance form, which is believed to be derived from the Ngoma drumming and dance forms of East Africa.

According to official census figures, Gir has about 400 lions and 300 leopards, making it one of the major feline concentrations in India. Sambar and spotted deer (chital), blue bull (nilgai), chousingha (the world's only four-horned antelope), chinkara (Indian gazelle) and wild boar thrive in Gir. Other mammals in the park include Jackal, striped hyena, jungle cat, rusty-spotted cat, Langur, porcupine, and black-naped Indian hare.

Gir has a large population of marsh crocodiles or muggers, which are among the 40 species of reptiles and amphibians recorded in the sanctuary.

Avi Fauna
More than 200 species of birds are found in Gir; these include Ospreys, Perigrine Falcons, Fish Owls, Crested Serpent Eagles, Bonelli's Eagles, Goshawks and Pale and Montagu's Harriers. Water birds include Redshanks, Jacanas, Plovers, Marsh Sandpipers, Ruddy Shelduck, Spotbills, Shovellers, Nakta, Little Grebes, Lesser Whistling Teal, Ibis and Painted Storks Wrynecks, Nightjars, Pygmy Woodpeckers, Indian Pittas, Shrikes, Drongos, Barbets, Indian Rollers, Grey Partridge, Jungle Bush Quail, Painted Sandgrouse, Green Pigeons, Paradise Flycatchers, Bush Larks, Bee Eaters, Minivets and Warblers.

Nearby places Train stations Airports
RAJKOT 179 Km 03H 21m
Junagadh Junction 73 Km 01H 44m
Rajkot Junction 177 Km 03H 17m
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
68 Km 01H 33m
164 Km 03H 04m
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164 Km 03H 04m
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Best Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 25 °C 43 °C
Winter 10 °C 25 °C
Apart from summer and winter, Gir has a tropical monsoon climate. It becomes very hot during the summer, with noon temperature reaching 43 °C , and humid during the monsoon in June.

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Seasons Flavour

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