"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. " ~ Tagore


Gujarat ~ Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

Rated by many as one of the best wild life sanctuaries in the country, Sasan Gir is now the only home in the world of the beleaguered Asiatic Lion. It covers an area of 1412 square kms and has witnessed a successful conservation effort despite numerous hurdles. The lion population had gone below 200 and has steadily increased to the present figure of around 300. However, conservationists are having to fight an upward battle against problems such as bad land management, indifference, political interference, poaching.

The Sanctuary is also home to the leopard, hyena, jungle cat, cheetal (spotted deer), sambhar, nilgai (blue bull), chousingha (four-horned antelope) and wild boar. The forest also boasts of 200 species of birds that include the crested serpent eagles, white-eyed buzzard, hawk eagles and sparrow hawks. It is therefore a bird watchers delight. There is also a centre where crocodiles are being reared.

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Most visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the Asian Lion are not disappointed. A stay of two to three days is recommended to try and ensure a good sighting.

A 4 sq. km stretch within the park, about 12km from Sasan, called the Gir Interpretation Zone has been separately earmarked and has a variety of wildlife. It can be visited by obtaining a permit and then hiring a jeep or taking a mini-bus tour. No private vehicles are allowed in.

When to visit
The Sanctuary is open mid-October to mid-June and is closed during the monsoon months. If you are visiting in mid-June, it is advisable to check the exact date of the closing of the park. Summer months are the best for viewing the animals as they come down to the water holes to drink water and also because the forests are dry and have shed their leaves, thus affording a better view of the surroundings.


Where to stay
The Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge and Gujarat Tourism Forest Lodge are comfortable places to stay. The Taj group runs the luxurious Gir Lodge

Getting there
Air: Keshod airport (90 kms) is connected by Vayudoot airlines to Mumbai.
Rail: Sasan is a railway station on the meter-gauge line connected to Ahmedabad. It is easier to take a train to Junagadh (65 kms) and then proceed to the Sanctuary by bus or taxi.
Road: Junagadh is 60 km by road, while Rajkot is 160 km.

Information: Courtesy Government of India

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.