Gir National Park
Gir today is the only place in the world, outside Africa,
where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat.From Biblical times till a hundred years
ago, the Asiatic lion roamed over a vast area ranging from Greece through West Asia to
Bengal and Bihar.The last lion seen outside Gir was in 1884, and the king of the
jungle has taken his final refuge in Gir.Even in Gir the number of lions had dwindled to
as low as just 15 around 1910. Serious and timely protection measures have raised their
numbers to just over 300.
The Gir lion is majestic animal, averaging 2.75 meters in
length, and with a bigger tail tassel, bushier elbow tufts and prominent belly folds than
his African cousin which has a larger mane. He is more shaggy and a lighter brown colour
than the African lion, but the two have similar habits resting in the shade by day
and hunting for food after dusk.
Gir is the only place in the World,
outside of Africa, which offers total protection to this majestic animal
the world over mainly for its lions, Gir is one of the few remaining forests comprising
diverse habitats open scrub country, dry deciduous and tropical thorn forest and an
evergreen corridor along the river sides. The forest also harbours a variety of birds.
Other main predators are the powerful panther and the striped hyena. Sambar, the largest
Indian deer, chital (spotted deer), nilgai (blue bull), chinkara and the unique chowsingha
(four-horned antelope) are among the ungulates found here. Another attraction is tha
crocodile farm developed in forest as well as Kamleshwar dam where large populations of
marsh crocodiles can be seen.
said that had Gir not been a lion sanctuary, it would have been termed one of the finest
bird sanctuaries in Gujarat. Some of the typical birds of Gir are the creasted serpent
eagle, creasted hawk eagle, brown fish owl, king vulture, jungle bush quail, painted
sandgrouse, paradise fly catcher, white breasted minivet, pigmy woodpecker, black headed
oriole, creasted swift and pitta. Adholia, Valadara, Ratanghuna and Pilipat are places
rewarding for bird watching.
heart of the forest and 96 km. from Sasan, is Tulsishyam where hot springs are a special
attraction. The famous Somnath 13 km.from Sasan, is a unique village where people from the
African origin live. Known as the siddis, they were originally brought here by the Nawab
of Junagadh for forestry work, but now have been declared an Indian tribe. Kamleshwar dam,
in scenic surroundings is just 12 km. Away.from Sasan, is a representative area which is
Gir in microcosm. For a tourist in a hurry, this is the best place to visit as wildlife
viewing is a certainty. This area is called the Gir Interpretation Zone-Devalia. The
facility remains closed every Wednesday.
Contact : Deputy Conservator of Forests, Gir
National Park, Sasan, Phone : 02877-85541.
Accomodation : Forest Guest House at Sasan Gir. The Taj Gir lodge. Phone
02877-85555, 079-6560338 at Ahmedabad.
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