The only National Park in Asia that has a fair population of the Asiatic Lions is located in the Indian State of Gujarat and this National Park is named as the Gir Forest National Park. This is also a wildlife Sanctuary and is called as the Sasa Gir that is located at the Talek Gir area in Gujarat. Gir National Park is a part of the Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forests region and the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total area of 1412 sq. km. of which 258 sq. km. is a National Park and 1153 sq. km. is a Wildlife Sanctuary. Gir National Park was established in 1965 and today the area is home to Asiatic Lions along with various other elusive animals and rare birds of the likes of Black Bucks, Asiatic Wild Ass, Gir foxes, Hyenas, Brown Fishing Owl, Pygmy Woodpeckers, etc. It was brought to the notice of the Nawab of Junagarh by the British Viceroy that he number of Lions at the Nawab’ s private hunting ground had been reduced to only around a dozen in 1913 and it was the Nawab who had decided to declare this private hunting grounds as a sanctuary and protected area to help in the conservation of the remaining Lions at Gir and today Gir National Park is the only other place in the World after Africa where visitors can spot the Lions roaming free in the wild inside the forest reserves.
It was during the reign of the various dynasties across Asia that excessive hunting of this beast of the forest that their numbers had declined drastically and were almost wiped out of various places in Asia and only about a dozen remained at the private hunting grounds of the Nawab of Junagarh and after various conservative steps were initiated, their numbers rose from 20 in 2013 to around 523 as per the census of 2015 and the population of the lion species at Gir National Park is divided into 106 males, 201 females and 213 sub-adult lions that roam in the wild at the forest reserves of Gir National Park. Though this number is much healthier compared to that it was about a century ago but the threat to the Asiatic Lions inside Gir National Park always remains even though the forest reserves are well protected as there are constant threats of poaching of these Asiatic Lions. There were also reports that the lions of Gir National Park were poisoned by the local people because the animal had attacked and killed their livestock.
But the biggest threat to the population of the Lions of Gir National Park has always remained the weather as the zone falls under the dry delicious forests and during the scorching heat of the summers that the forest fires become a major threat the this results in the death of not only the Lions but the various other animals species as well. Also there are problems of floods, epidemic and the natural calamities that always come to the forest reserves of Gir National Park thereby causing a threat to the Lion population here. The authorities of Gir National Park have been successful in the maintaining of the breeding centres that not only study the behaviour of the Asiatic Lions but also practices artificial insemination at the Sakharbaug zoo that is known to have successfully bred around 180 lions that have been sent across to zoos across India and abroad where the lions have found a safe habitat. The other dominant fauna species to be found at Gir National Park are Indian Leopards, Stripped Hyenas, Jackal, Fox, Mongoose, Desert Cat, Wild Boars, Nilgai, Chital, Chinkara, Black Bucks, Porcupine, Hare, etc. The reptile species inhabiting the Gir National Park are Indian Cobra, Mugger Crocodile, Tortoise, Indian Monitor Lizards, Pythons, etc. The various birds in Gir National Park are vultures, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian pea fowl, Indian Pitta, Rock bush quail, Eagle owl, etc.
Location and How to Reach Gir National Park –
Gir National Park or Sason Gir is located in the Indian State of Gujarat that is at the western most part of the country and the distances to the Gir National Park from the prime cities in Gujarat are:
- From Somnath to Gir National Park – 43 Km (North East)
- From Junagarh to Gir National Park – 65 km (South East)
- From Amravali to Gir National Park – 60 km (South West)
Distances to reach Gir National Park from other prominent cities and towns in India:
- Mumbai to Gir National Park – 351 km
- Pune to Gir National Park – 464 km
- Delhi to Gir National Park – 1080 km
- Kolkata to Gir National Park – 1856 km
- Ahmedabad to Gir National Park – 340 km
- Surat to Gir National Park – 249 km
To reach Gir National Park, in case you are travelling from other parts of India, it is recommended that you fly to Ahmedabad International airport and from here the time to reach Gir National Park is around 7 hours by road. In case you are interested to travel to Gir National Park by rail then the nearest rail station near Gir National Park are at Junagarh (65 km) and Vernal (40 km). There are two domestic airports as well at Keshod and Rajkot that will help you access Gir National Park by air and later by road.
When to visit Gir National Park –
Ideally the best time to visit Gir National Park and get the opportunity to witness the Lions and the Black bucks of Gir National Park in the wild is from the months of November through March. Because from the months of April to May it gets very hot during the day but this again is the best time for photography as the animals come out of their hiding in search of water sources at the forest reserves of Gir National Park and you can capture amazing clicks during these months. In case you are interested in a holiday and want to experience a pleasant wildlife safari then it is recommended that you visit Gir National Park from the months of November to march. The Gir National Park is closed for public viewing from the months of June to mid-October every year as this is the time the monsoon arrives and also the weather is very hot as well when temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees in the day time and also the monsoon rains are needed to rejuvenate the flora of Gir National Park that has a stable ecosystem and also is home to rich biodiversity that spans across 600 flora species, 2000 species of insects, 36 species of mammals and 300 species of birds inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park.
How to reach Gir National Park –
Once you are here at Gir National Park and have checked yourself at one of the various stay options around Gir National Park that range from budget hotels to high end resorts, the next thing on your mind is to catch your wildlife safari experience and sight the lions of Gir National Park. To offer a wildlife safari experience into the interiors of Gir National Park, the forest authorities have allowed the option of visitors to go for jeep safari rides inside the forest reserves. Unlike the other National Parks in India, Gir National Park doesn’t have the options of Elephant Safari or Canter Safari ride and jeep safari is the only option for tourists to explore the forest reserves of Gir. The forest permit for tourists to go in for jeep safari inside Gir National Park can be obtained from the Sindh Sadan Forest Lodge Office and once you have the permit you can go for the experience of a lifetime to witness the Lions of Gir National Park on an open end jeep ride. These jeep safari rides inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park are made available by the forest authorities of Gir National Park and once can go for morning and afternoon jeep rides inside Gir National Park to spot and click the pictures of the mighty Asiatic Lions. The jeep safari rides are conducted in the morning time from 7.30 AM to 11 AM and again in the afternoon from 3 PM to 5 PM. Jeep safari rides cost around INR 4000 for one jeep for Indian Nationals and 6 persons + 1 child are allowed on one jeep.
Places of Tourist Attractions near Gir National Park –
- Devaliya Safari Park
The Devaliya Safari Park is also called as the Sasan Gir Interpretation Centre and this place was developed for the tourists to have a better understanding of the Gir Forest National Park along with its varied wildlife. The main idea behind the introduction of this park was to reduce the human interference in the main area of Gir National Park. The Devaliya Safari park is located in the Talala Gujarat and this offers the visitors to Gir National Park a guaranteed sighting of the Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat in the wild. The Devaliya Safari park near Gir National Park is having an area of 412 hectares and the entire area is covered with ferns that illustrates the rich floral and faunal wealth of Gir National Park including the major habitat and the dominant wildlife of Gir National Park like Lions, Sambars, Chinkaras, Wild Boars, Blue Bucks, Black Bucks and Spotted deer as well. This Devaliya Safari park is a real treat to all wildlife lovers and this is a guaranteed place to spot the Lions of Gir National Park and the presence of this park reduces the load of traffic into the core forest reserves of Gir National Park in Gujarat.
To plan your visit to the Devaliya Safari park near Gir National Park it is necessary for you to plan in advance as the permits are issued by the forest department everyday on a first come first serve basis and in order to avoid the rush of tourists especially during the peak season of Gir National Park it is always recommended that you book your permits well ahead in advance. The tourist reception centre issues these permits to explore the Devaliya Safari park and the permits can be availed by providing the same details that you furnish for your wildlife safari at Gir National Park like ID, photo proof, name, age, gender, etc. Online permits issued are however non-refundable here at Devaliya Safari park. There are options of Bus and jeep safari both here and in one jeep 6 adult and 1 child can travel and both these safaris are conducted in the morning as well as the afternoon slots.
- Crocodile Breeding farm
One very interesting place to visit near Gir National Park is the crocodile breeding farm. As we are already aware that Gir National Park has a fair population of the Mugger crocodile reptile species and in case you are interested to see them that a visit to the crocodile breeding farm is a must. The Mugger crocodiles are bred here so that they can be released in the forest reserves of Gir National Park to maintain an ecological balance inside the interiors of Gir National Park and the forest authorities of Gir National Park take the responsibility of breeding the crocodiles here at eh breeding farms and later releasing them into the Kamleshwar Lake.
- Kamleshwar Dam
The Kamleshwar Dam is built on the River Hiran and is located inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park and the waters of this dam serve as a lifeline for the wildlife of the Gir National Park. It is in the waters of this Dam that you find a decent population of the Mugger crocodiles of Gir National Park in the wild.
- Tulsishyam Temple
The Tulsishyam temple near the Gir National Park is a very revered temple shrine that is dedicated to Lord Krishna and visitors who pay a visit to Gir National Park ensure to visit this temple so that they have a safe safari experience and also get the opportunity to sight the Asiatic Lions in the wild at Gir National Park. This area around the temple also has numerous hot springs as well.
- Zanzir waterfall
A very picturesque waterfall that has waters around the year is present on the Hiran river near Gir National Park. People flock here to bathe in the waters and also experience the beauty of nature at Gir National Park.
How to access Devalia Safari Park along with Gir National Park
Along with Gir National Park, the Devalia Safari Park also attracts thousands of visitors to sight the majestic Asiatic Lions in the natural habitat each year. As Devalia Safari Park is a part of Gir National Park, it can be said that this is the only place in the World where the Asiatic Lions are to be found. The Devalia Safari Park just like Gir National Park is opened for public viewing from the 16th of October to 15th of June every year and visitors can book their safari rides inside this place to access the varied wildlife to be found at Gir National Park. To access Devalia Safari Park as well as Gir National Park, Junagarh is the best approach and the closest rail head that receives trains from various cities and towns like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, etc. and it is just around an hour and half drive before you reach Gir National Park to check into some of the very comfortable and deluxe hotels and resorts around the vicinity of the Park. Gir National Park offers a wide variety of stay options for the guests ranging from budget lodges to star category hotels and resorts for tourists depending on the choice of stay needed for the guests. While some tourist who come to Gir National Park want to spend an entire holiday experience and they come here with their families and so they want to have all luxury while they stay at Gir National Park and so they chose to stay in star category hotels and resorts but many photographers and backpackers who come to Gir National Park for a once in a lifetime opportunity to catch a glimpse of these unique Asiatic Lions in the wild and also to witness the various places of interest in Gujarat as well and so they are on a budget and for them there are the accommodations of low cost budget lodges and guest houses in the vicinity of Gir National Park.
Along with the private Hotels, Resorts and Guest Houses where visitors can get to witness a laid back and comfortable stay in Gir National Park there are also the budget lodges that are operated by the Forest department of Gir National Park like the Gir Lodge and the Sindh Sadhan Forest lodge (this is also from where you can get your permits for safari bookings into Gir National Park and Devalia Safari park as well). For the budget hotels near Gir National Park, the tariffs start from INR 600 per night to INR 1000 per night and the luxury hotels the prices start from INR 5,000 per night to INR 10,000 per night but the luxury resorts offer some of the best accommodation facilities for the guests. These rates of the luxury hotels at Gir National Park often come down to half when the tourist season is not at its peak and you can book your visit to Gir National Park during that time (say when it is not the school holiday season, festivals, New year, etc.) but it is always advisable to check the prices before the booking is done. Even though visitors come to Gir National Park during the peak season but people also come during the off season not to experience the jungle safari but simply to enjoy their stay away from the city in the luxurious hotels and resorts at Gir National Park. It is therefore always advisable to plan your visit to Gir National Park much prior to your planned time of visit to avoid any last minute hassles and so you should book your hotels and safari ride inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park. In addition to the various hotels and resorts around Gir National Park there are also various safari camps present that overlook the Hiran River and are located along the mango orchards around Gir National Park and these safari camps are actually luxury camps that offer various facilities to guests to enjoy a complete jungle safari experience during their stay at Gir National Park.
Once you are done with your pleasant stay experience and also the wildlife safari experience of Gir National Park and the Devalia Safari Park, then you can ensure to visit the places around Gir National Park in Gujarat that are the vibrant attractions of Gujarat and this is the land of culture, history and traditions. Located in the western most part of India, Gujarat is not only renowned for its population of the Asiatic Lions at Gir National Park but also a land of diverse historic monuments and history dating back 4000 years with connections to various civilizations including the Indus Valley civilization. The land of ‘Bhuj’ in Gujarat can be called as a place that has some of the various ancient monuments of history recorded here. Even though Bhuj in known to the people of India for a devastating earthquake of 2001 that had killed around 12,000 people and devastated many historic buildings and tourist attraction that had to be rebuilt. Bhuj is a prime tourist attraction where tourists not only come to pay homage at the site of the earthquake but to be a part of the 4000 year old history of Bhuj and to immerse in the vibrant culture of this place that finds mention in the Mahabharata and was also touched upon by Alexander the Great, the Sultans of the region and the British as well.
The famous Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachan is the brand Ambassador of Gujarat tourism and the state has been drawing millions of tourists not only at Gir National Park but across the various historical monuments, world famous architectures, temples and the exotic wildlife where tourists can smell the fragrance of ‘Khusboo Gujarat Ki’. After your visit to Gir National Park you can make a visit to one of the very renowned temple shrine of Lord Shiva at the Somnath temple in Gujarat that is one of the very sacred suites for the Hindu community. The Somnath temple is a part of the Char Dham Yatra and it is said to be having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. These 12 Jyotirlingas are spread across India and a temple shrine is present at these places. As per Hindu mythology, the God of Moon had built this entire temple shrine with gold and this temple shrine is located on the shore of the Arabian Sea overlooking the beautiful waters of the place and this temple shrine had faced the wrath of many outside invaders and had to be rebuilt on several occasions. Every year lakhs of pilgrims throng this temple shrine to seek blessings of Lord Shiva in Gujarat.
Junagarh is a very popular city known for its relics and varied history in Gujarat and the name literally means an Old Fort. Junagarh near Gir National Park in Gujarat has many Hindu temples, Buddhist Monasteries and mosques and also many other historical structures as well. The land of Junagarh was ruled by the Bibi Nawabs until the independence of the country and the intention of its Nawab merge Junagarh with Pakistan after India’s Independence from the British was foiled as the land had a majority of Hindu population and Junagarh remained with India after Independence and today Junagarh is home to the Gir National Park and host of other historic monuments like the Mohabat ka Maqbara, Ashoka Rock Eddict, etc.
Lord Krishna’s temple of Dwarkadhish:
Another very holy temple shrine located near Gir National Park in Gujarat is the temple shrine of Dwarkadhish that is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is situated on the Gomti area. This temple shrine is a very sacred place for the Hindu people from across the World and the main attraction here is the festival of Janmashthami (lord Krishna’s birthday) and the temple attracts thousands of devotees during this time. Lord Krishna is a revered God among the people of Gujarat and the Gujarati welcome phrase ‘Jai Shri Krishna’ has Lord Krishna’s name in it. The temple shrine is believed to have been built by Lord Krishna’s grandson who was the King of Dwarka and it dates back several hundred years and has some of the finest architectures. It is believed that when Lord Krishna has come to settle at Dwarka, it is believed that an entire island emerged from the Arabian Sea and the temple shrine is built on this island itself.
The earlier capital of Gujarat and the largest city of the state, Ahmedabad is a land of historic monuments, elaborate architectures and loving people. The tourist attractions in Ahmedabad are temples, museums, forts but the most important place visited by tourists in the Sabarmati Ashram that is the Ashram of the Father of the Nation – Mahatma Gandhi. Another popular attraction is the Akshardham temple that is located at Gandhinagar and the major festivals celebrated are of Sankranti and Navaratri.
Vadodara or earlier Baroda
Vadodara is the third largest city of Gujarat and is also a cultural capital of Gujarat and this place is a testament to how the Mughals were expelled from the place by the Marathas and Garhwals and this city is a beautiful example of the past and present and Vadodara had flourished under the rule of King Sayaji Rao II. Located around 50 m ahead of Vadodara is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chempaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park that will enthral any person interested in history, culture and architecture that spread of a construction across 600 years. The important places in this park are the Jama Masjid that speaks highly of the Indo-Islamic architecture. There is also a temple shrine called as the Kalika Mata temple that attracts thousands of devotees every year here. Another place to visit in Gujarat after your visit to Gir National Park is the Rani Ka Vav located at Patan that are historic monuments actually step well that were erected by Queen (Rani Vidyamati) in memory of her deceased husband King Bhima I on 1063 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014.
Tips to explore Gir National Park and forest permits
As you have planned to visit Gir National Park and sight the majestic Asiatic Lions in the wild if not at Gir National Park then at Devalia Safari Park then you must be aware of the various timings that the safari rides are conducted inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park. In general, during the season of tourists, Gir National Park conducts 3 safari tours at distinct slots during the day and visitors to Gir National Park are permitted to travel into the forest reserves of Sasan Gir and generally these timings are 6.30 AM, 9 AM and in the afternoon slot at 3.30 PM. These rides are conducted across the tourist season of Gir National Park that starts every year from 16th October to 15th June of the following year post which it is closed as the monsoon season approaches and the jeeps cannot navigate on these muddy tracks. During the tourist season it is mostly advised that you try your luck to sight the forest reserves of Gir National Park in the morning slot but then again it not a choice and the safari slots are assigned randomly by the forest office with an online permit generation system.
Inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park every day a total of 150 safari trips are conducted and per vehicle around 50 entry permits are available. Gir National Park forest authority has for the convenience of tourists allowed a complete online system of disbursement of these forest permits. Each Jeep safari ride inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park allows a max of 6 adults and 1 child and there are also options of private tours inside the forests of Gir National Park. In case you do not total to 6 then there are options of pool so that a max of 6 adults can sit on a jeep and this reduces the safari cost. But is always advisable that tourists visiting Gir National Park make sure that they book their safari permit much ahead of time to avoid any last minute hassles. You can log into the official site of the safari booking of Gir National Park and place your safari booking request by making the payment and providing the ID details of each of the tourist and your safari booking in done and complete only with a few clicks. For foreign nationals planning to travel to Gir National Park you need to provide the details of passport for safari booking at Gir National Park.
Each safari vehicle inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park travels along 2 routes that includes one entry point and on exit point. However these two entry and exit gates are not the only stipulated ones and there are several such entry and exit points for each vehicle and this allows visitors to get a diverse exploration of Gir National Park and cover maximum forest and wildlife. There are 8 routes at one permitted slot time and around 30 vehicles can roam across the forest reserves of Gir National Park. As mentioned earlier, the routes are randomly generated for tourists but then again there in an option to change the route but the authority solely has the right to accept the request as not to disturb the sanctity of the wildlife across the forests of Gir National Park.
Hotels and Resorts at Gir National Park
Various accommodation options are present around the area of Gir National Park that offers visitors an option to enjoy a complete holiday when they visit the only abode of the Asiatic Lions in the wild. While there are presence of budget hotels, where tariffs start from INR 700 per night extending up to 3 Star Hotels and ultra-luxurious resorts and farm houses as well. You will not have any shortage of options to stay when you visit Gir National Park and it is always advised that you book these hotels much priorly to your visit to Gir National Park as hundreds of tourists visit the Gir National Park every day and so these hotels and resorts always run full during the peak season that extends from mid-October to mid-June. The budget hotels at Gir National Park many not be very luxurious as the resorts or 3 Star Hotels but they offer a comfortable stay option to budget family visitors and backpackers. These budget hotels around Gir National Park are having rooms that are elegantly furnished and are surrounded by the lush green forest reserves of Gir National Park that offer wide verandas where visitors can spend their time bird watching around the forests. They even offer dining facilities and so once you check into a budget hotel at Gir National Park you do not need to step out in search of food and it will be sent to your room.
Coming to the 3 Star Hotels and deluxe resorts around Gir National Park, these offer some of the grand and luxurious stay options when you are on your jungle safari at Gir National Park. These stay options are mostly preferred by families and groups who come to visit Gir National Park and they prefer to stay in these luxurious stay options that offer pleasant stay amidst the wild of Gir National Park. These 3 Star Hotels and resorts offer facilities like independent cottages, pick up and drop facilities, intercom and telephones, swimming pools, conference halls, etc. Some of the popular Hotels and Resorts at Gir National Park are –
- Anil Farm House
- Fern Gir Resort
- Gir Lion Paw Resort
- Aniruddha Resort
- Gir Jungle Lodge
- Hotel Umang
- Maneland Jungle Lodge
- The Gateway Hotel
- Vanvaso Resort
- Sansan Gir Resort
One example of the luxurious stay option at Gir National Park is the Gir Jungle Lodge Resort that is a very luxurious accommodation that provides very good customer service and is located near the entrance of Gir National Park. The Gir Jungle Lodge offers an ideal blend of luxury, beauty and comfort to its visitors and there are options like restaurant, dining, indoor and outdoor games, conference halls, etc. This is a family lodge resort and so you can be rest assured that your safety is addressed to utmost. The Gir Jungle Resort offers it visitor’s options of sleeping in utmost cleanliness and comfortable bedding with the safety of luggage locked in lockers and neat and hygienic bathrooms with European toilets. It is a perfect place to rejuvenate after a day of jungle safari inside the forest reserves of Gir National Park after sighting the Asiatic Lions and other animals and birds inside the park. At the Gir Jungle Lodge resort, there are 36 well maintained rooms that provide utmost comfort to the visitors and all rooms have split ACs and LED TVs.
The restaurant at the Gir Jungle Lodge Resort offers you the taste of Gujarat where you can savour the typical Gujarati cuisine especially the Gujarati thali and along with it varieties of meals of North and South Indian cuisine. All meals served at the restaurant are strict vegetarian cuisine and in case you want to eat Non-veg food at the place that it can be arranged for you in your rooms. Your stay experience around the forest reserves and home of the Asiatic lions at the Gir National Park is surely to be a very memorable one at the Gir Forest Lodge resort.
Another luxurious stay option for your stat ay Gir National Park is the Amidhara resort that is a high up construction and it overlooks the forests of Gir National Park. The Amidhara resort is spread out on an area of 1412 sq. km. and the area across the place has a combination of deciduous forests, grasslands and evergreen fauna. The Amidhara resort offers its visitors a host of services and amenities including indoor activities, swimming pools, Multi cuisine restaurant, Conference halls, AC and NON AC rooms and visitors can chose their stay in standard rooms, deluxe rooms, super deluxe rooms, family rooms and cottages.
The Amidhara Resort at Gir National Park offers visitors the amenities like 24 hours power backup, hot and cold water, mineral water, sanitation facilities, restaurants, etc. The various luxury amenities to be found at the Amidhara Resort at Gir National Park are conference halls, gyms, Multi Cuisine restaurants, swimming pools, guides, children’s park, vehicles for hire, etc. Amidhara Resort is also an excellent option to host various ceremonies like weddings, conferences, adventure tour for schools and colleges and you will not be disappointed with your stay at the Amidhara Resort at Gir National Park as the facilities and the staffs here caters to all needs of the customers here.
Another cosy and luxurious stay option around Gir National Park is the Anil Farm house resort that offers accommodation around a mango orchard at the AC Superior rooms, AC river view deluxe rooms and AC luxury family rooms. It can be said that in case you want to enjoy your stay at Gir National Park at luxurious yet cost effective holiday than you must choose to stay at the Anil Farm House Resort. The resort is located along the banks of the Hiran River at Gir National Park and the place offers fantastic views of the serene nature all around. The Gir forest is visible from this place and you can sight the various animals and birds from here.
Among the budget stay options around Gir National Park, Hotel Umang has room tariffs that start from INR 1000 and the place offers comfortable rooms at affordable costs to guests. The Hotel Umang has around 20 budget and nice rooms that can accommodate around 40-50 gusts at a time. The Hotel is run by a team of able staff who are locals of Gir National Park itself and they offer all the amenities to their guests. Even though it is a budget hotel but it has a 24 hour restaurant facility and facilities can be availed at the restaurant across the day. The restaurant offers decently priced meals and is among the best served food at these prices around Gir National Park.
Maneland Jungle Lodge is another luxurious stay option at Gir National Park and it spread across a 5 acre campus that offers the very comfortable stay, luxurious dining and recreational options to tourists at Gir National Park. Maneland Jungle Lodge provides visitors an ethnic feel of stay due to the special materials used in its construction and it is a favourite choice for honeymoon couples who would want to stay in a ambient environment under the stars of Gir National Park.
The Fern Gir Resort is located very close to the forest reserves of the Gir National Park and this is considered to be one among the finest resorts in the country and can be considered to be the pioneers in Wildlife luxury resorts in the country. The Fern Gir Forest Resort is the most renowned and popular resort among the tourists to Gir National Park and the place is surrounded by captivating gardens, lush green beauty all around and the backdrop of the tall mountains and dense forests. This place offers one of the best fine dining restaurants around Gir National Park and this restaurant is called as the Banyan tree that offers cuisines from around the World. The place offers food from cuisines like Chinese, North Indian, South Indian, Gujarati, Italian, Mexican, etc. The Fern Gir Resort is said to be having one of the finest constructions around Gir National Park and there are 40 well-built distinct categories of rooms like cottages, villas, suites and tents that offer some of the finest decors at resorts around Gir National Park. Some tourists even say that when it comes to jungle resorts across India, none can beat the Fern Gir Forest Resort at Gir National Park.
The Gateway Hotel at Gir National Park is another fine accommodation option that welcomes visitors from around the World who come here to spend their time in utmost safety, tranquillity and comfort. The Gateway Hotel at Gir National Park offers various complimentary facilities like swimming pool, spas, gym, multi-cuisine restaurant, recreation area for sports, etc. At the Gateway hotel, there are around 28 rooms in total that can accommodate large groups, families, couples, etc. and out of the 28 rooms present, 26 are standard rooms and 1 deluxe site and 2 executive suite. The rooms at the Gateway Hotel are all river facing and to accommodate large groups there is a banquet hall that can accommodate 40 people at a time here at the Hotel Gateway at Gir National Park. The restaurant at this hotel in Gir National Park offers various cuisines and has some of the best chefs from around the country to prepare them. The restaurant at the Gateway Hotel serves both vegetarian and non-veg cuisine to its guests. The Gateway hotel at Gir National Park can be accessed via the Rajkot and Diu airports.
If you would want to witness the glory of the Gujarati Handicrafts then you can chose to stay at the Gir Birding Lodge at Gir National Park that offers a unique stay environment where the decors in the rooms like furniture’s, mattresses, holsters, wall painting, etc. are all with the traditional handicrafts of Gujarat. The Gir Birding Lodge at Gir National Park can be said to be a perfect showcase of the Gujarati art and culture in the form of its traditional handicrafts. The Gir Birding Lodge is surrounded by the mango orchards and you will be welcomed by the soulful chirping of the birds of Gir National Park and the place stays true to its name of being a Birding lodge at Gir. The place is located near the entrance of the forest reserves of Gir National Park and the Gir Birding Lodge offers 12 rooms that are under AC Deluxe cottage category that is designed keeping comfort in mid as well as to display the vibrant traditions and culture of Gujarat. The place offers 24 hours power and water supply, comfortable bed and mattresses, elegant furnishings and furniture’s with deluxe and modern bathrooms.
Your stay at the Gir Birding Lodge will be a mix of traditions and modern amenities all in the lap of nature surrounded by the beautiful Gir hills, Gir National Park forests and the Kesar mango groves. You can sight the forest from your room itself and take the opportunity of bird watching during your stay here at the Gir Birding Lodge. What makes your stay here more appealing is the restaurant at this place that not only offers the traditional food of Gujarati in the form of the signature Gujarati thali but it also offers the Kathiawadi, Kumaoni and Verawal sea food fish along with the international cuisine from China, Italy, Continental, etc. and you can be rest assured to find the fresh and tastiest food at the Gir Birding Lodge.
Another popular stay option around the forest reserves of Gir National Park is the Sukhsagar Gir Resort that offers its visitors unique and comfortable stay options across 23 luxurious rooms that are categorized under 5 AC tents, 8 Suites, 5 AC cottages, 5 AC Wooden huts and each of these rooms at the Sukhsagar Gir Resort are accompanied by TV, Cable, vibrant décor, comfortable beds, clean and modern bathrooms, 24/7 power supply, etc. ‘Sukh Sagar’ the name itself means the ‘Sea of Happiness’ and so you can be rest assured that your stay here will be amidst the very comfortable ones catered to by the overwhelming staff at the Sukhsagar Gir Resort and the entire area of the place is filled with vivid plants and trees and you can get to explore the beauty of the forest of the Sasan Gir from this resort.
Savaraj Resort is one of the top properties around Gir National Park and offers rooms at medium budgets rates when it comes to comparison with the other deluxe accommodation options around Gir National Park that offer spacious and some of the very best interiors options. Even though there are various accommodation options available at the Savaraj Resort under the categories like Standard Rooms, Deluxe rooms, Deluxe cottages, Super Deluxe cottages and luxury cottage but each of the rooms under these categories are exclusively designed with grand rooms and luxury facilities like sofa, LED TV, study table, mineral water, balcony, uninterrupted Wi-Fi, modern bathrooms, cycling tracks, folk dance performances in the evening, etc. Your stay at the Savaraj Resort at Gir National Park is sure to be one of the most memorable jungle stay experiences across the country.
Sample Itinerary for your visit to Gir National Park
In this sample itinerary you get to experience your safari at Gir National Park to sight the Asiatic Lions in the wild here and also you can get the opportunity to explore the places of tourist interest in Gujarat as well starting from the largest city of Ahmedabad and the capital city of Gandhi Nagar taking you to Gir National Park and further to the historic Rann of Kutch at Gujarat. You get to catch a glimpse of the various historic monuments and forts dating back to the ancient civilization and you will get a real taste of the taste of Gujarat and so come lets immerse in “Khusboo Gujarat ki”.
Brief of this Itinerary is as mentioned below:
Day 1: Ahmedabad
Day 2: Ahmedabad – Nal Sarovar – Ahmedabad
Day 3: Ahmedabad – Velavadar National Park
Day 4: Velavadar Nationl Park
Day 5: Velavadar – Gir National Parl
Day 6: Gir National Park
Day 7: Gir National Park – Jamnagar
Day 8: Jamnagar
Day 9: Jamnagar – Nakjatrana (Kutch)
Day 10: Nakjatrana (Kutch)
Day 11: Nakjatrana – Dasada
Day 12: Dasada
Day 13: Dasada – Ahmedabad – Final Departure
Day 1: Ahmedabad
Arrive at the Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad in Gujarat and upon arrival you travel to the city to check into a nice hotel and you take your time to freshen up and later in the day you head out of your hotel to explore the places around Ahmedabad. The vibrant city market will enthral you and you get to see a combination of the modern and ancient markets here at Ahmedabad. Gujarat is one of the very well planned cities in India and the area across Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar is very well developed with wide roads and water tunnels running along the roads to feed the agricultural fields. Later you can travel to Gandhinagar from Ahmedabad and spend time to explore the Indroda Park at Gandhinagar followed by Kankaria Lake. We explore these places of interest and later we will try out the food of Gujarat that is very famous and the people of Gujarat take pride in their dsnacks and sweets. The famous Dhokla of Gujarat is a soft cake that is very delicious and you can head to a sweet shop to try out these flavours of Gujarat. Later you can come back to the hotel and enjoy dinner and continue with the further exploration of the market
Day 2: Ahmedabad – Nal Sarovar – Ahmedabad
Today in the morning you can drive to the Nal Sarovar area that is around 3 hours’ drive from Ahmedabad and you need to depart early in the morning as the interest here is to sight the various species of migratory birds that come here from far off European countries in the winter season. Over 200 species of birds are to have been seen here at the Nal Sarovar area that is a huge lake near Ahmedabad and you can admire the various bird species here and later we will have our breakfast and continue on our drive back towards Ahmedabad where you can make a stop at the Sabarmati ashram – the Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi stayed. One of the most visited tourist places in Gujarat, the Sabarmati Ashram is where Gandhiji spend his days and people from across the World come to pay homage to the person who was responsible for the movement of ‘Saytagraha’ and got India its independence from the British. After this you can explore the Sarkhej Roza that is a mosque and tomb comples that illustrates the glorious Indo-Islamic architecture and later you can explore the Adalat Step well area to end the day and savour traditional Gujarati thali for lunch and return back to your hotel.
Day 3: Ahmedabad – Velavadar
Today will be your day of witnessing and being a part of the rich history of Gujarat from the times of the Indus Valley Civilization when you visit Lothal and continue to Velavadar. Lothal was one of the southernmost cities of the Indus Valley Civilization and it is said that the construction of this place began as early as 2200 BC. Lothal was discovered in 1954 and the ASI went on to find that this place was the World’s earliest known port that was on the Sabarmati River. You can explore this ancient town from the times of the oldest civilization in the World and admire the grandeur of this construction many years back and later you can proceed to Velavadar. Velavadar is another of the National Parks in Gujarat and this place is famous as the Blackbuck National Park. Located in the Bhal region of Gujarat, the Velevadar National Park is known for its population and conservation of the species of blackbucks, wolf and lesser Florican. This National Park is also famous for its population of the Striped Hyenas. Once you reach Velavadar you can check into your jungle lodge at this place.
Day 4: Velavadar Safari
Today you can go for your safari ride at the Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar and this is a perfect way to explore the forest reserves to spot the endangered species of the blackbucks, wolves, striped hyenas, Indian fox, Jungle Cat, etc. The Velavadar National Park also has a good population of the Nilgai as well and this is an area covered with grasslands. You can spend the day on safari at the Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar and later return back to you hotel for night halt.
Day 5: Velavadar – Gir National Park
Today you can go to travel on a 5 hour drive to Gir National Park from Velavadar. The main highlight of this Itinerary is your visit to the forest reserves of Gir National Park to go on a wildlife safari to sight the only habitat of the Asiatic Lions in the wild. Start after your breakfast at Velavadar and travel to Gir National Park and once you arrive at Gir National Park you can check into one of the many deluxe resorts and hotels around the area (mind you that this is a very popular National Park in India and sees hundreds of visitors every day during the tourist season and hence it is advised that you make prior bookings for your accommodation and online jeep safari rides at Gir National Park).
Once you check in formalities are done you can take time to relax and here you have lunch at your place of stay and later in the day head to explore the place around Gir National Park. You can pay a visit at the dam within the area of the Gir National Park and this is a crocodile breeding farm as well and you take the opportunity of sighting the Magar crocodile species here. After this you can come back to relax in your resort and spend time bird watching around the place as this is a very favourite spot for birds and you can spot various birds like partridges, woodpeckers, cuckoos, eagles, parrots, etc.
Day 6: Gir National Park
Today is your safari day to explore the forest reserves of Gir National Park. Gir National Park as mentioned earlier is the only abode of the Asiatic lions in the wild anywhere in the World along with various other species of fauna and avifauna and a safari experience here is once in a lifetime opportunity. After your safari is over you can come back to your resort at Gir National Park to have lunch and after spending some time relaxing you can go to explore the Devalia Safari Park and the waterfall around the place.
Day 7: Gir National Park – Jamnagar
Today you are going to bid farewell to the Gir National Park and start on our drive to Jamnagar that will be around 5 hours of drive. Jamnagar is an enthralling place for birdwatchers and is the largest city on the western most side of India and the place is also known to be the home of the World’s largest Oil refining and petrochemical complex at the village of Moti Khandi. Being a princely city, the place also has forts and palaces that you can explore after you check into your hotel at Jamnagar. Once you are done with your lunch you can go to explore the Lakhota fort, the Darbagadh palace, Pratap Vilas Palace and this will be enough for you to end your exploration for the day. The handicrafts of the local people of Jamnagar are very famous as well and you can visit the local market in the evening to pick up your souvenirs of your visit to Gir National Park and Gujarat here. Savour a traditional Gujarati thali meal for dinner during you stay at Jamnagar.
Day 8: Jamnagar
Today you can go to visit the Khijadia bird sanctuary near Jamnagar that is around 10 km from the main town. The Khijadia bird sanctuary is a fresh water shallow lake and the aquatic life here attracts the various migratory bird to the lake and you can spot hawks, eagles, falcons, raptors, harriers, little grebe, etc. at the place. Once you explore this place you can head to Marina National Park that is around 7 km from the city centre and this is India’s first marine sanctuary that is around 22 km away on the Arabian Sea and spread over 458 km. There are 42 islands on the Jamnagar coast in the Marine National Park and the best known is Pirotan. At the Marine National Parkyou can spot 70 species of sponges, 52 corals and 90 species of birds. Various prawns, crabs, lobsters, crustaceans, octopus, starfish, sea cucumbers, etc. are to be found here at the Marine National Park as well.
Day 9: Jamnagar – Nakhatrana (Rann of Kutch)
Today you bid farewell to Jamnagar to travel to Nakhatrana that is a drive of around 7 hours and this is a very beautiful drive across the countryside of Gujarat and you will reach Nakhatrana at the Rann of Kutch in the afternoon. Nakhatrana is a town located in the heart of Kutch district of Gujarat that is also the largest district in India and it is known to be the place that is renowned to supply almost 90% of the salt to the country and even abroad as well. Kutch is termed as a place that goes underwater during the rainy season and becomes dry during the other seasons. The Rann of Kutch is known to be mostly salt flats that become snow white after the shallow currents dry up before the monsoon rains and this is from where the salt is picked, packed and shipped across the country. Once you reach Nakhatrana, take time to freshen up after a long drive and enjoy your delicious vegetarian Gujarati thali meal and later in the day you can travel to the Naliya grassland known for the Chinkara and the Spiny Tailed lizard species. Later you can go to visit the Narayan Sarovar in the evening that is a pilgrimage place for the Hindus on the Kori creek.
The place is called as the Narayan Sarovar because in the earlier days it was famous for its great lake. There are various temples around this place and these temples that are the main buildings of this place are surrounded by a fortified wall outside of which there are the homes of the villagers. This is a place that is famous as a sacred site and also a historic site that dated back to several centuries ago. Later you return back to your place of stay at Nakhatrana and retire for the night at the hotel.
Day 10: Nakhatrana
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast of the Kutchi people who are known for their fried snacks and you can travel to the white desert area and visit the Bani grassland that is a home to Foxes, Wolves, Desert Cat and explore this different type of vegetation and later you can drive to the Banni village that is renowned for the traditional handicrafts. Banni village in Gujarat is a must visit to witness the real traditions of the local people of Gujarat. Located in the Kutch district of Gujarat, Banni is a large area of the Khera tehasil (block) and there are 40 villages in this area and has a population of the Mutra, Sheikh and Harijan communities. These people are involved in Banni Handicrafts that are renowned across the World especially the embroidery and mud work done here. The artists of Banni Handicrafts of Gujarat have been awarded with the National awards as well. Tourism has been another major source of revenue at the Banni Village and even though this is a remote village area, the place has an ATM run by Solar power and even a school with latest computers. The entire village has been powered by solar panels to meet its electricity needs and this has now made the Banni village attract lots of foreign tourists as well who come here to witness the mud works, goddi works, patch works and the hand done embroidery of the craftsmen here. After exploring the Banni village you can return back to Nakhatrana to your place of stay for night halt.
Day 11: Nakhatrana (Kutch) – Dasada
Today you can bid farewell to the grand Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and travel towards Dasada that is a four hour drive and you will be greeted by the natural landscapes of Gujarat along your way. Arrive at Dasada and check into your place of stay.
Day 12: Dasada
Today will be another safari day at Dasada that is a place known for the home of the short eared owls, long legged Buzzard, Asiatic Wild Ass, Desert Fox etc. After your safari is over at Dasada you can head back to your resort and relax and spend time unwinding. Later afternoon visit the local attractions at Dasada and overnight stay at a resort.
Day 13: Dasada – Ahmedabad – Departure
After a sumptuous breakfast in the morning, travel to Ahmedabad from Dasada that is a 2 ½ hour drive and you will be dropped at the Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel international airport at Ahmedabad to catch your flight to your onward destination and this ends your wonderful exploration of Gir National Park and a vibrant tour of the state of Gujarat.