Gir National Park is located in the south west of the
Saurashtra peninsula and was established on 18th September, 1965, as a
Forest Reserve, primarily to conserve the Asiatic lion. The 116 square-mile
Gir sanctuary was created to protect the last wild population of Lions,
around 300 in number. It is now the only home in the world of the
beleaguered Asiatic Lion. The rugged terrain and the steep rocky hillsides
are covered in mixed deciduous forests of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and
Dhak trees, interespersed with large patches of grasslands.
In 1955, Indian government placed a total ban on killing of Lions and in
1965, the Gujarat government declared Gir forest as a sanctuary and in 1975;
part of the sanctuary was declared as a National Park. As this protection
program became successful, an incredible increase in the Lion population was
reported, from 177 in 1974 to around 300 in 1995.
Numerous cattle herders called Maldharis, reside within the sanctuary with
an estimated 20,000 head of livestock. The park also has places of worship
and exquisite 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. The Kamleshwar
Lake has some Marsh Crocodile. The exotic varieties of birds in the park
include: the Paradise Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Bush Quail,
Bonelli's Eagle, Black Headed Cuckoo, Shrike Woodpecker and Painted
Sandgrouse. Gir also has nearly 210 leopards and numerous cheetal (spotted
deer), jungle cat, hyena, sambhar, nilgai (blue bull), chousingha
(four-horned antelope) and wild boar. Marsh crocodiles are often seen along
Best Time to Visit
Even if Gir National Park is one of the hottest and most visited wildlife
reserves within India still the period one should visit this park is during
the months of Mid October-Mid June, and the best recommended time is
Nearest airport is Keshod 90-km via Veraval. One can catch
daily flight from Mumbai to Keshod. Drive to Gir from Keshod or Rajkot
Meter gauge rail line of 395-kms from Ahemdabad. 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 and Veraval
between November and June.
64 km from Junagadh and 32 km from Verawal
Total Coverage Area:
1,412.14 sq. km./ Lion sanctuary 141,213
hectares (of which national park 35,948 hectares).