Gir National Park (Gujrat)

Gir is the only home in India for the Asiatic Lion of which there are nearly 300 in the park. The Gir National Park lies in the Gujarat peninsula in South-Western India. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees, interspersed with large patches of grasslands. The trees on the hills are sparse and stunted. Gir National Park
Within the sanctuary, there are numerous human settlements of cattle herders called Maldharis with an estimated 20,000 head of livestock (which, incidentally, forms a significant part of the Lionís diet). There are also places of Hindu worship and pilgrimage and sulphur springs at Tulsi Shyam and Kankai Mata. The edges of the park have good population of Indian Gazelle, protected by religious sentiments of the local people.

Sightseeing at Gir National Park -
The Flora : The Gir National Park is a mixed deciduous forest with teak, flame of the forest, some Acacia and Banyan trees. A distinct belt of vegetation is found along the main rivers and streams. Species like the Jambu, Karanj, Umro, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Sirus and Amli are found here. These trees are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, giving the area a cool shade and the moisture content.

The Fauna :Gir Sanctuary is the last and only home of the critically endangered Asiatic Lion. These lions are a smaller more compact version of their African counterparts, and are best viewed at dawn or dusk when they are on the move. The major difference between the two is that the African Lion appears larger than the Indian Lion because of its large and luxuriant mane.

Leopard is considered to be one of the most beautiful and graceful animals in the jungle, also the most dangerous one. Popularly known as the Prince of Cats, this animal is the most adaptable among the predators, one of the reasons why it occupies a much larger spread of Gujarat forest cover. In the Gir National Park it is found in all the varied habitats and vegetation types. The approximate population of 210 Leopards resides within the sanctuary area.

Reptiles : Book This TourNot leaving the water predators behind, Mash crocodiles are often seen along the Kamleshwar Dam Site. Another major attraction among the reptile population of Gir National Park are the numerous non-venomous Snakes such as the Indian Rock Python along with the four venomous varieties of Indian Cobra, Common Krait, Saw Scaled Viper, Russell's Viper. Among the lesser-known wildlife of Gir National Park includes the most common animal that can be sighted in the sanctuary, the Chital or Spotted Deer. Other main wild attractions are Nilgai, Chinkara, Sambhar, Black Bucks, the four horned Antelope, Wild Boar, Indian Flying Foe, Grey Musk Shrew, Indian Hare, Pale Hedgehog, Small Indian Mangoose, Small Indian Civet, Indian Gir National ParkPangolin, Indian Porcupine, Ratel, Indian Fox, and Jackal. The three smaller wildcats - the Jungle Cat, Desert Cat and the Rusty Spotted Cat also inhabit the forest, a fact which shows that the forest is not just meant for the protection of Lions, but the entire cat family.

Best Season to Visit :Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Gir park throughout the year, but the best period to visit the Gir Sanctuary is between the months of November and June.

Reaching Gir National Park-
By Air :The nearest airport from Gir is Keshod 90-kms via Veraval. Visitors can easily catch daily flights from Mumbai to Keshod.
By Rail : The nearest rail connection is the meter gauge rail line of 395-kms from Ahemdabad.
By Road : Gir is situated at a distance of 400-kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot, Junagadh and Mendarda. State Transport buses are easily available from Junagadh and Veraval to Gir, between November and June.


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