Junagadh District, Gujarat, India
in a day at dawn or dusk, the mighty uproar that brings breath
standstill is certainly of the Asiatic lions who are on the prowl. Welcome
to the Gir wildlife sanctuary and national park a sole home of the
Panthera leo persica in the world. This forest is the only place in the
world, outside Africa, where the lions can be seen in their natural habitat.
Sprawling in an area of 1424 sq. km, it is located in Junagadh district at
Kathiawar peninsula of Gujarat state, India. The rich ecosystem at Gir is
endowed with plentiful flora and fauna, providing the best glimpse of big
cats is in their natural surroundings. Gir is not just about Lions but
several other species of carnivores and herbivores. Besides this, there is
plentiful for ornithologists too as the Gir's avifauna kingdom has more than
300 species of resident birds.
Gir Protected Area has mix vegetation where dry deciduous forest is
interspersed with scrub, patches of grasslands and rocky hills. It has more
than 507 recorded species of plants. Teak bears nearly half of the total
vegetation. The other includes flame of the forest, Acacia, Banyan,
Zizyphas, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak. In afforestation endeavours, Prosopis and
Casuarina have been planted in outer region of Gir.
Gir has seven major perennial rivers and four reservoirs, presenting a
panoramic view. The biggest reservoir named Kamleshwar Dam is dubbed as the
lifeline of Gir.
The count of 2,375 distinct fauna species of Gir includes over thirty
species of mammals and twenty species of reptiles along with several species
of insects, birds and reptiles. After lions, the second most common predator
of Gir is Indian Leopard, Striped Hyenas, Golden Jackals, Porcupine,
Pangolin, Desert cats and Rusty-spotted cats. The main herbivores of Gir are
Chital, Nilgai, Sambar, Four-horned Antelope, Chinkara and Wild boar.
The reptilians are represented by the Marsh crocodile, Indian Star
Tortoise, Monitor Lizard, Snakes and Pythons. The avifauna population has
more than 300 species of birds including 6 species of Vultures. Other other
habitants are Crested Serpent Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Brown Fish Owl, Great
Horned Owl, Bush Quail, Black-headed Oriole and Crested.
Nearby Tourist Destinations
Girnar mountain is located 6 km from Junagadh city. It has five principal
peaks in which Gorakhnath (1,116 m above sea level) is the highest.
Ashok Shilalekh (Rock Edict)
About 2km east of Junagadh, there is an rock edict of Emperor Ashoka built
during 3rd century BC. It has a circumference of seven metres and a height
of ten metres.
It is 3rd oldest in India. From here, the rare Gir lions are bred and
supplied to other zoos. The zoo also houses a museum that has rare specimens
of art furniture, stuffed animals, ancient coins and Persian Sanskrit
This temple is located at 3,100 feet on Girnar Hill. The ancient Jain
architect beautifies this marvellous structure.
Uperkot is an impressive fort located on a plateau in the middle of town.
It was originally built in 319 BC. It was covered over for 300 years, then
rediscovered in 976 AD. Some parts of the forts walls are 20 m high.
There is a huge, fifteen-foot cannon, made in Egypt in 1531.
Best Time to Visit
Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Gir park throughout the year, but the best
period to visit the Gir Sanctuary is between late-November and early-March.
During the summer, the temperature reaches to 43 °C. In winter,
temperature dips down to 10 °C. The monsoon is humid and starts from
mid-June till September.
How to Reach
Nearest airport is Rajkot 165 km via Junagadh.
Nearest railway station is Junagadh, well connected
with Ahmedabad and Rajkot.
- Ahmedabad - 400 km
- Veraval - 43 km
- Junagadh - 65 km
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