Gujarat Travel Guide

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Introducing Gir

Gir national park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Gujarat tourism industry. It is the only place to spot Asiatic lions in a big number. Gir attracts tourists not only from various corners of India but also from across the world. It is situated near Talatar Gir in Gujarat and is home to lions since 1965. The national park was established in 1965 covering 1412 sq. kms area. The jungles safaris at Gir national park are absolutely unforgettable. It also boasts extensive range of flora and fauna on display. 

Along with 300 unique Asiatic lions, Gir national park is also home to 250 leopards and various other carnivores like hyena, jackal and wild cat. Here jungle safaris are usually organized during the dawn or dusk allowing travelers to spot numerous exotic beasts and the wilderness. Travelers and wildlife lovers explore Gir year round to explore Gir’s bountiful wildlife. If you are a wildlife lover and wish to experience the sight of this rare species then this is the place for you. 

History of Gir says that it holds full of Indian Lions which are also known as Asiatic Lions which are smaller than African Lions to a certain extend. Basically in the 19th century the rulers of Indian princely states used to invite the British colonists for hunting adventures. Eventually only about a dozen Asiatic lions were left in India and all of them were in the Gir Forest. Back then it was a part of the Nawab of Junagadh’s private hunting grounds. At present it is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions occur and now it is considered as one of the most protected areas in Asia due to its biodiversity and is one of the most popular tourist attraction being a part of Gujarat tour packages. Gir is considered as the jewel of Gujarat’s ecological resources. 

Culture of this famous attraction in Gujarat is largely reflected through the traditional customs, cuisine, art and architecture. The culture is a combination of current tradition and lifestyle along with tribal culture. Siddhi people reside in the village of Sirvan. Siddh’s chase original traditions by performing Damal Dance which is similar to Nagoma drumming and dance form of Africa.

Sasan Gir itself is loaded with plenty of exoticness. But it is also surrounded by exciting other places to visit and things to do for travelers to experience an unforgettable holiday.

Best places to visit:

1. Somnath Temple

2. Nalsarovar Lake

3. Junagadh Zoo

4. Kamleshwar Dam

Things to do:

1.Take a riveting jungle safari

2. Shop at Gir National Park

3. Enjoy tribal festivals

4. Get the best opportunity for bird watching


 

Must Know Facts

Best Time to Visit

Gir can surprise you in all seasons but the best time to visit Gir is during the winter season. The months between December to March are the best months to visit Gir. During this period the climate is pleasant and cool. The protected area of Gir National Park is shut every year from 16th June to 15th October. Gir National Parks is a place for all animal lovers getting to observe the Asiatic lions. During the winter season you will be able to efficiently explore the dense place and also find plenty of other animals and birds. In winters, safari in the national park will be a delightful experience. 

March to May – Summer in Gir

Summer season is extremely hot and humid in Gir. It starts from March till May and the temperature fluctuates between 28 degrees to 42 degrees Celsius. The summer winds can be really hot. Animals here face a brunt of heat too. With such hot weather animals prefer staying in sheltered areas under the trees, near water bodies or somewhere in the shade.

Even though it is hot, there are travelers who prefer exploring Gir in summer. For such tourists, it is suggested to set their adventure early in the morning and get done with all activities by 11AM. In the afternoon it gets blistering hot. Around 5 PM again the weather becomes more tolerable and so one can explore for good 2 hours till 7 PM when the sun is about set. At night you can camp outdoors in cool breeze. However, summers are extreme due to scorching heat, photography enthusiast cannot let go of the chance to capture great pictures. Summer is the best time to visit Gir for wildlife photography. Though you need to make sure you carry a hat, sunblock, and keep yourself hydrated.

June to October – Monsoon in Gir

This is when animals get a much needed break from scorching heat during the monsoon season, but they also do prefer to stay sheltered from the rain. In this season safari are not really possible. This is when Gir is closed from June to October therefore it is not the best time to visit Gir. Although with the amount of rainfall that Gir receives by the end of the season, the park is lush and fresh infused with life.

November to February – Winter in Gir

Winter is the best time to visit Gir for a perfect break from the hustling city life or for a family holiday. From November to February the climate in Gir is pleasant and welcoming. It neither too hot and nor too cold. During this period the temperature ranges from 10 degrees to 22 degrees Celsius. Great weather with lush greenery makes winter season the best time to visit Gir. Animals also choose be in mild weather and this is when it is easy to spot them. Winter season is the perfect time to experience a jeep safari. The 3 hour ride given tourist a chance to explore the park along with a professional guide. If you are lucky you can come across the majestic Asiatic lion which is once in a lifetime experience. The safari rides are organized at different timings during the day time.

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History & Culture

Sasan Gir was known as Gir National Park in 1975. In the past it was the first forest which contained huge numbers of Asiatic Lions which were found in their natural habitat. However Sasan Gir was controlled by British people, Kings and Nawabs who were all very proud of killing lions before the Independence of India. 
The Gir national park is the only place apart from Africa where you can see wild lions. The history of Gir begins in the 19th century when the rulers of Indian states use to welcome British colonists for hunting expeditions. Later at the end of the 19th century, only a few Asiatic lions were left in India, and all of those lions were in Gir forest. Back then it was a part of Nawab of Junagadh’s personal hunting grounds. British viceroy noticed the drastic decline of the lions in Gir and brought it to the notice of the Nawab of Junagadh who was the one who established the sanctuary. And now at present it is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions are found. Sasan Gir is now considered as the most protected areas in Asia. It has rich biodiversity. With its variety of flora and fauna, the Gir ecosystem is taken care of by the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGO’s. It is now known as the jewel of Gujarat’s ecological resource. 
In 2005, 52 Asiatic lions existed in the wild leaving the population on the verge of extinction. Fortunately conversion efforts have resulted in major population increase with around 500 lions now. 

Culture: 
The Gir forest culture follows a cycle with traditions and current lifestyle. The national park has more of nomadic culture. The local tribes reside in the forest for eight months and relocate to the close towns in the monsoon season. One of the important events celebrated annually is Krishna Janmashthami. Most of the weddings in the area take place on this day and it is more like a festival for the tribes. 
Culture of Gir is majorly visible in its traditional customs, cuisines, art and architecture. There is a village called Sirvan where Siddhi people reside. Lately siddhi people chase some original traditions with the omission of Damal Dance. This dance form is actually similar to Ngoma drumming and dance form of Africa.
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Geography

The Gir National Park is a vast forested belt with its topography consisting in evergreen and semi-evergreen flora, rough jungle, acacia grasslands, rocky hills, untouched hills, valleys, marshlands, plateaus and more. Parks eastern side is concealed by dry and deciduous trees. Rest of the park consists wild woods interspersed by lush hilly grasslands separated by rocky, steeped canyon like gap. The northern side of the park is predominated by scrub land. 

Geography of Gir has 7 major perennial rivers named Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavri, and Raval. The area has four reservoirs at four dams, one each on Hiran, Machhundri, Raval, and Shingoda rivers. The biggest reservoir in the area is the Kamleshwar Dam also known as the lifeline of Gir. 

In proper summer season, water for wild animals is available in surface of land at about 300 different points.  In eastern part of the sanctuary drought is an issue due to poor rainfall when water is not available at majority of the waterpoints. Ensuring water check in peak summer is one of the major responsibilities of Forest Department Staff. 

In the survey of Gir Forest more than 400 plant species were recorded by Samtapau & Raizada in 1955. According to the botany department of M. S. University of Baroda there are 507 species of plants during their survey. 

More green areas are mostly in the eastern portion of the forest, which consumes nearly half of the total area. Numerous species of acacia are also found. Broadleaf trees provide cool shade and moisture content to the area. 

The forest is a significant biological research area with considerable scientific, educational, aesthetic and recreational values. It serves approximately 5 million kilograms of green grass by annual harvesting which costs approximately Rs. 500 million. The forests also provides nearly 123,000 metric tons worth of fuel wood yearly.

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Happy Travellers

Thanks to flamingo we could planned it properly
Thanks to flamingo we could planned it properly

Thanks to flamingo we could planned it properly

Amazing experience at kevadiya with stay in eco camp resort as full of greenery. And thanks to flamingo we could planned it properly. Weather was wonderful in July so cherry on cake. Many things to look out for at unity city.

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