Gir National Park in Gujarat: Only Habitat of Asiatic Lions

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

Located in Junagadh district in the state of Gujarat, Gir forest is spread over an area of 1412 sq km including the national park area of 258 sq km. The remaining area of 1154 sq km is protected as wildlife sanctuary.

Gir forest was part of the private hunting ground for Nawab of Junagadh during 19th century. Excessive hunting led to a sharp decline of Asiatic lion population in Gir. And, this species was almost on the verge of extinction with 20 or lesser number of 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 national park in the year 1965 primarily to conserve Asiatic lions.

Consistent conservation efforts since then have resulted into steady rise of Asiatic lion population, which stood at 523 according to 2015 Asiatic Lion census.

Lion at Gir National Park photo
Lion at Gir National Park

Flora & Fauna

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. Reptile population in the sanctuary include mugger crocodile, Indian cobra, python and monitor lizard.

Sloth Bear
Sloth Bear

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

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.

Park remains closed during monsoon from 16th June to 15th October every year.

How To Reach – Gir National Park

By Air

You can reach by 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. Other nearby airport is in Diu which is almost 110 km from Gir.

By Rail

Junagadh and Veraval are the nearest railway stations for reaching Gir National Park and are well connected to other major cities of the country.

By Road

Gir National Park is accessible by road from nearby cities – Junagadh (55 km), Rajkot (156 km) and Ahmedabad (348 km).

Where to stay

Forest department has a guest house “Sinh Sadan” which tourists can book. It is one of the most economical options available here. You can contact Gujarat Forest Department to get more information.

There are many private hotels and resorts near Gir national park offering all kinds of accommodation from affordable to luxury.

Useful tips

  • 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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