Gir National Park in Gujarat: Only Habitat of Asiatic Lions

Lion at Gir National Park photo
Lion at Gir National Park

Gir National Park is famous for its majestic Asiatic lions and it is the only place where you can find them in wild.

Located in Gir Somnath district in the state of Gujarat, Gir forest is spread over an area of 1,412 sq km including the national park area of 258 sq km. The remaining area of 1,154 sq km is protected as a wildlife sanctuary.

Gir forest was part of the private hunting ground for Nawab of Junagadh during the 19th century. Excessive hunting led to a sharp decline of the Asiatic lion population in Gir. And, this species was almost on the verge of extinction with 20 or lesser fewer lions left in the year 1913.

This made Nawab of Junagadh impose a complete ban on lion hunting within the geographical boundaries of his province. Gir forest got the status of a national park in the year 1965 primarily to conserve Asiatic lions.

Consistent conservation efforts since then have resulted in a steady rise in the Asiatic lion population. The forest hosts 674 Asiatic lions, according to the lion population estimation done by the Forest Department in 2020.

A Quick Glance Through

Flora And Fauna

Sloth Bear
Sloth Bear

The flora in the park comprises of mixed deciduous forest with dry scrub, evergreen and semi-evergreen type of trees.

Though the Gir National Park is famous for the majestic Asiatic lion population, it is also home to numerous other wild animals.

You can spot many carnivorous animals, such as leopard, sloth bear, jackal, hyena and wild cat in the park. The reptile population in the sanctuary includes mugger crocodile, Indian cobra, python and monitor lizard.

Gir is also home to around 300 bird species. Some of the commonly found birds are serpent eagle, Indian peafowl, woodpecker and Indian pitta.

Indian Peafowl-Female
Indian Peafowl-Female

If you want to know about other destinations in Gujarat for exploring its copious wildlife, check this post: Top 4 National Parks in Gujarat You Have To See.

How To Reach – Gir National Park

By Air

You can reach by a flight up to Rajkot city located at a distance of 156 km from the park and then cover the rest of the distance by car. The other nearby airport is in Diu which is almost 110 km from Gir.

By Rail

Junagadh and Veraval are the two nearest railway stations for reaching Gir National Park. These are well connected to several major cities of the country including Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

By Road

Gir National Park is conveniently accessible by road from nearby cities – Junagadh (76 km), Rajkot (161 km) and Ahmedabad (327 km).

Where To Stay

From affordable to luxury, there are many private hotels and resorts near Gir National Park.

Gir Jungle Lodge, located around 2.5 km from the safari booking point, is a good choice for budget travelers. They offer standard rooms as well as tents. Check availability and book your stay at Gir Jungle Lodge.

If you are looking for a lavish stay in Sasan Gir, check The Fern Gir Forest Resort. It is a beautiful resort dotted with greenery. A variety of trees and flowering plants on the premises make one feel close to nature.

Gir Forest Safari

There are two kinds of safaris you can go for – Gir Jungle Trail safari and GIZ Devalia safari. GIZ stands for Gir Interpretation Zone. It is an eco-tourism zone created to bring down tourist overload from the Gir national park visit.

You can book safari permit through Gir national park online permit website. Both Gypsy and Bus safari options are available for Devalia safari.

Maximum 6 adults and one child (age between 3-12 years) are allowed in one e-permit.

Charges – Jungle Trail /GIZ Devalia Gypsy safari

  • Monday-Friday (Rs. 800 for Indians, Rs 5600 for Foreigners)
  • Saturday-Sunday and festival days (Rs 1000 for Indians, Rs 7000 for Foreigners)
  • Extra child charges: Monday-Friday (Rs. 100 for Indians, Rs 1400 for Foreigners)
  • Extra child charges: Saturday-Sunday and festival days (Rs. 125 for Indians, Rs 1750 for Foreigners)

Charges – GIZ Devalia Bus safari

  • Monday-Friday (Rs. 150 for Indians, Rs. 2800 for Foreigners)
  • Saturday-Sunday and festival days (Rs. 190 for Indians, Rs 3500 for Foreigners)

Permit charges don’t include the guide charges (Rs. 400) and gypsy charges (Rs. 1500). These charges need to be paid separately to the guide and gypsy vehicle owner.

Safari Time Table

Gir Jungle Trail safaris are available 7 days a week, Monday to Sunday. GIZ-Devalia safaris are also available throughout the week barring Wednesdays.

SafariMorning TimingsEvening Timings
Gir Jungle Trail safari6 AM to 9 AM
8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
3 PM to 6 PM
GIZ - Devalia safari (Bus)7:30 AM To 11 AM3 PM To 5 PM
GIZ - Devalia safari (Gypsy)7 AM To 7:55 AM
8 AM To 8:55 AM
9 AM To 9:55 AM
10 AM To 10:55 AM
3 PM To 3:55 PM
4 PM To 4:55 PM
5 PM To 5:55 PM

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the park is from November till March as it is not very hot during the day time. April and May are the best months for spotting plethora of wildlife and photography.

It remains closed during monsoon from 16th June to 15th October every year. So, plan your trip accordingly.

Tips For Travelers

  • e-Permit can be booked 3 months in advance and at the most 48 hours prior to date of Gir Safari/ Devalia Safari
  • Carry printout of ‘e-Permit’ during reporting and entry time.
  • Don’t forget to carry the original Photo Identity proof (Aadhar Card/ PAN Card/ Driving Licence/ Voter ID Card).
  • Foreign residents should keep the original passport as the Photo Identity Proof with him/her.
  • You should arrive at the respective reporting centres as mentioned in the permit at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
  • You can refer wildlife holiday checklist to ready yourself for your next safari

Gir national park is famous for the conservation of endangered Asiatic lions. Lakhs of tourists visit the park every year to see its magnificent wildlife.

Over to you now…

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  1. K Kumar

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