After Africa, perhaps Gir National Park is the only place where one can see a great number of lions roaming freely under the vast skies of this wildlife sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is located at a distance of around 65km southeast of the Junagarh district and covers an area of around 1412 square kilometers.
For wildlife lovers, this place is no less than heaven. For witnessing the magnificent Asiatic Lions, Gir National Park in Gujarat is the destination that you must explore. Other than the lions, there are many more rare varieties of wild animals in this national park that will definitely attract your attention. For instance, leopards, deers, and ruddy mongoose can be spotted here. Undoubtedly, Gir is a wildlife hub and, over time, has come become one of the major tourist destinations in Gujarat.
For the unversed, this national park is home to more than 500 species of flora and more than 2,000 species of fauna ranging from Hyenas, Golden Jackal, Asiatic Lion, and Ruddy Mongoose. People who want to see something different from the usual hustle of urban city life will surely like Gir National Park, Gujarat. The park is also considered the jewel of Gujarat’s ecological resources - another reason to plan your trip here.
The lion sanctuary is closed between the months of June and October and thus the remaining months can be considered as the best time to visit the reserve. People can also prefer visiting the wildlife park in the months of April and May which may be hot but are considered good for photography and also for safari.
During the 19th century, the kings and rulers of India invited the British colonists for hunting expeditions. It is said that they did so in order to maintain good trade, power, and political relations with the Britishers. However, by the end of the 19th century, the deliberate consequences of these cruel activities showed up.
As a result, at the end of the 19th century only about a dozen Asiatic lions were left. The Gir Forest was considered the hunting grounds of the Nawab of Junagarh and British officials. They were responsible for the drastic fall in the number of lions. Due to this, until today, the forest area of Gir National Park is considered one of the most important and protected areas in Asia due to its immense biodiversity.
Major Attractions in and Around Gir National Park
1. Somnath Temple
This incredible historical destination lies very close to Gir National Park. Located at an approximate distance of 45 km, this Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Somnath Temple is also considered home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is considered one of the best travel getaways of Gujarat.
2. Darbar Hall Museum
This place is located near Diwan Chowk. It is a historic palace exhibiting the belongings of the Nawabs who once used to walk on the very streets of this place. It is here that you will be finding an amazing collection of items such as weapons, armors, chandeliers, and many other things.
3. Girnar Mountain
Standing proud and tall at a height of around 1,100 meters, this mountain is located 5km east of the Junagarh district. What’s really interesting is the fact that at the very top of this place you will find many historic temples built during 1100-1500 AD.
4. Kamleshwar Dam
The Kamleshwar Dam is perhaps one of the most amazing scenic locations to visit with your family and friends. This place has been set up across the Hiran river which also happens to be one of the seven rivers flowing within the sanctuary.
How to Reach Gir National Park
For all the wildlife lovers who want to explore the raw side of nature, a visit to Gir National Park can be a memorable experience. It is located at an approximate distance of about 1,279, 827, 2,288, 1,791 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Check out the below-mentioned details on how you can reach here.
The nearest airports from Gir National Park are Keshod airport and Rajkot airport situated at a distance of around 70 and 160 km respectively. These airports don't have very good connectivity with all the Indian cities. Thus, it is recommended to board a flight to Mumbai International Airport and then take a cab to travel here.
Junagadh and Veraval railheads are the nearest railway stations from this sanctuary. Both of these train stations are connected with many Indian cities via direct trains. After deboarding the train, you will need to hire a cab or some other means of transportation to reach Gir National Park. The road journey may take you around one to two hours depending upon factors like traffic and weather conditions.
Travelling by road always seems to be quite appealing as it usually involves traveling with your gang of friends. The roads in Gujarat are in very good condition thus making it a very viable option to travel via road networks especially if you have your own vehicle. Depending upon your location, you can consider traveling here via your own vehicle or you can also choose to travel by bus.