known as Sasangir National Park, Gir National Park was established to
conserve Asiatic Lion, on 18th September 1965, initially as a Forest Reserve
spread in an area of around 2,450 hectares. A part of Junagadh District of
Gujarat, Gir National Park is 90 km from Keshod Airport in Kathiawar
(Saurashtra) Peninsula. Sasan, a small town with a forest rest house is the
headquarter of Gir National Park. This national park is known for a hilly
terrain with a dense network of rivers. It was declared partially as a
wildlife sanctuary and partially as a national park in 1975. It is regarded
as one and only existing habitat of Asiatic lion whose statistical figures
are around 300 at present. Asiatic lion is different from African Lion in
its size, which is slightly smaller than its African cousin. This national
park has three adjoining reserves. Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary inhabit
myriad water-birds. Little Rann of Kutch sheltering Indian Wild Ass, and
Flamingo Island rest of the two reserves, making Gir National Park an ideal
place for wildlife enthusiasts.
Wildlife in Sasangir National Park
Gir National Park homes a number of wild animals including chinkara, black
buck, wild boar, striped hyena, common langur, porcupine, hare and jackal.
Some of the major bird species among a total of around 200 include Bonelli's
eagle, peafowl, grey partridge, jungle bush quail, crested serpent eagle,
painted sand grouse, common green pigeon and doves of several species.
Kamleshwar Dam in this national park is home to the marsh crocodile commonly
seen in the river. The only crocodile-breeding farm is also here. The Gir is
covered with mixed deciduous forests with teak, ber, flame of the forest,
jamun and babool trees. This national park has a distinct belt of vegetation
besides the main rivers and streams. Rarefied tree species including jambu,
karanj, umro, vad, kalam, charal, sirus and amli can also be seen here
Asiatic Lions in Gir National Park
Asiatic Lions were almost on the verge of extinction before their
conservation in this national park. It is probably the last refuge of
Asiatic lion or Panthera leo persica, a little different from its African
counterpart. The mane of Asiatic Lion is not very luxuriant. Its skin is a
lighter shade of that of its African counterpart. Asiatic Lions here are
purely predatory. Mindless hunting of Asiatic Lions in 19th century brought
the lion population to a few hundreds. It was the time when the erstwhile
maharajah of Junagadh decided to set up a reserve to protect the Asiatic
Lions. This reserve was later on developed as Gir National Park.
Other Attractions in Gir National Park
Jeep Safari :
If you want to explore the wildlife,
driving via jeep around it. Forest Department organizes the lion shows for
tourists every Sunday. Special trips with expert guides are also organized.
The best time to observe this ferocious carnivore is to spot him during the
dawn and dusk when they are on the prowl. Gir National Park boasts of many
antique temples like Kankai Mata and Tulsishyam. The best way to explore the
national park is jeep safari. Long jeep drives from Sasan are conducted to
Baval Chowk, Kankai, Chodavdi, Kamaleshwar dam and Tulsishyam.
How to Reach Gir National Park
By Air :
You can reach Keshod the nearest airport from
Sasangir. You can travel there onwards to Sasangir via Veraval. Some flights
are also operated from Mumbai to Keshod.
By Rail :
Ahmadabad is the
nearest railhead from Sasangir.
By Road :
You can reach Ahmadabad and then drive to
Sasangir via Rajkot, Junagadh and Mendarda. State transport buses are also
very easily available from Junagadh and Veraval to Gir during November to