Gir-Gujarat

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In Gir you touch the history of India before humanity itself. Before monuments, temples, mosques and palaces.

Or rather, a history as humanity was emerging, when humans coexisted with lions, before the former had overrun the continent (and the world) and pushed the latter to the brink of extinction.

Many come to Gir because, outside of Africa, it is the only place with wild lions. But to truly experience Gir and the lions, you must explore their natural habitat, with everything from tiny wild birds, not easily seen, but heard singing in the forest canopy, to crocodiles floating in the marsh waters.

Driving around, you are uncommonly aware you are in someone else’s territory. You stay in your vehicle because you are in the home of lions, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles; you remember that humans do not rule the world, and however “advanced” we think we are, most of us would not survive very long on our own in a place like Gir.

That is not to say that all humans are out of place. The local Maldhari community has lived here for generations and coexists magnificently with the wilderness. They sustain themselves by grazing their livestock and harvesting what they need from the forest.

The sizeable portion of their herds lost to lions and other predators is considered prasad, offered in exchange for living in another’s homeland.

Gir is a place that deserves time and involvement. Your chances of spotting wildlife in a few hours is small, especially in the middle of the day; to truly experience the wonders of the Gir forest, and hopefully see a wide variety of its diverse wildlife, three or four days is recommended, particularly with a knowledgeable guide. This will vastly improve the depth of your visit. Contact the Park for information about hiring a guide (phone number below.)

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While Gir is most famous for its lions, the park is one of the most diverse places in Gujarat, both in flora and fauna.

A permit for entering the park can be obtained at the Sinh Sadan Orientation Centre,

between 07.00 am to 11.00 am and 03.00 pm to 05.30 pm

For more information, contact the Forest Department at Sasan Gir on 02877 285541

You can also book online on

www.girlion.in

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For shorter visits, the Gir Interpretation Zone, at Devalia, 12 km west of Sasan Gir, has some lions in captivity, but this is not the same as visiting them in the wild.

Entry fees for Gir Interpretation Zone:

Rs. 75/- (weekdays) & Rs. 95/- (weekends) & Rs. 115/- (holidays) for Indian nationals

$20 for foreigners (payable only in rupees)

Entry fees for Gir National Park:

Per vehicle with up to 6 occupants Rs. 400/- (weekdays) & Rs. 500 (weekends) & Rs. 600 (holidays) for Indian nationals

$40 for foreigners (payable only in rupees)

Getting there:

By road: Gir National Park is 60 km from Junagadh, the most common base for making a visit, and 360 km from Ahmedabad.

By rail: One can travel by rail to Junagadh from Ahmedabad or Rajkot and then take a 65-km road trip on bus or taxi to Sasan Gir.