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GIR Forest


Location: Junagadh, Gir Somnath and AmreliDistricts, Gujarat, India

Area: 1,412 km 2  (545 sq mi)

Nearest Railhead: Junagadh and Veraval railway stations

Nearest Airport: Keshod, 70 km away

How to reach: 43 km (27 mi) north-east of Somnath, 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and

60 km (37 mi) south-west of Amreli

Famous for: Lions

Months open: Protected area remains closed between June to October


Gir, also known as Sasan Gir, is a Wild Life sanctuary located in Talala Gir, Gujarat. The

sanctuary is around 43 km/s away from Somnath. It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by

the Government of India on 18 th Sept 1965. The place has 7 perennial rivers – Godavari,

Hiran, Shetrunji,  Machhundri, Raval, Shingoda and Datardi. Climate at Gir is welcoming

almost throughout the year. The average temperature of the region is 22 ̊C. The best time to

visit Gir is from Oct end till mid June.

What to see

Mammals –Asiatic lions, Indian leopards, Indian cobras, jungle cats, striped

hyenas, golden jackals, Indian mongoose, Indian palm civets, and honey badgers. Desert

cats and rusty-spotted cats, chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara wild

boar and blackbucks. Birds –crested serpent eagle, endangered Bonelli’s eagle, crested

hawk-eagle, brown fish owl, Indian eagle-owl, rock bush-quail, Indian peafowl, pygmy

woodpecker, black-headed oriole, crested treeswift and Indian pitta. Reptiles – common

krait, Russel’s viper, saw-scaled viper, marsh crocodile, soft-shelled turtle, star tortoise,

Indian rock python and monitor lizard


Flora and Fauna

Gir is one of the wildlife sanctuaries which have caught attention of not only wildlife

enthusiast but also others. This is because besides Africa, Gir is the only place on earth

where one can find free roaming Lions. Gir has about 2375 distinct reported species of fauna

which include about 300 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles and 1800 species of insects.

Also it is the only forest which habitats popular Asiatic Lions. But lions is not all that habitat

this sanctuary. Gir is also a home for black bucks, wild ass, foxes, leopards, jackal, hyenas,

black cobras, marsh crocodiles, krait, white back- long billed vultures, woodpeckers and the

list goes on.

But it’s not just the fauna (wildlife) that it is known for; even flora at Gir is breathtaking. It is

said to have more than 400 species of flora. Gir owing to a large variety of deciduous plants

is western India’s largest deciduous forest. It is spread with semi-evergreen and evergreen

trees, rocky hills, grasslands and also scrub jungles. The vegetation of deciduous forest


includes teak, several species of acacia, ber, jamun, zizyphas, tendu and more. Other plants

found here are sirus, prosopis, cacti, various species of grass etc.


Safari Tour

Entry into the jungle is only through government pass. The booking for safari can be done

online or offline. The timings for safari are 6am -9am, 9am-12pm and 3pm-6pm with a

reasonable entry fee. Guide service is also provided by the forest department for a better

experience of the jungle safari.

Gir has several options for stay according to preferences. The booking for the same can be

done online or offline and even on spot. The hotels also provide aid in booking a Safari Tour.

Gir has an enclosed zone which also conducts safari tours. Devaliya Safari Park offers a

wonderful experience of wildlife safari in just about 20- 30 mins. The visitors are taken in a

cross section of the Gir National Park for a wildlife tour where they can also see Asiatic



Places Nearby

It is not just the Forest that has attracted people from far and with to Gir. It is also the

attractions near the forest. Kamleshwar dam located in the centre of the park, built on Hiran

river attracts tourists to Gir. It is the reproduction area of the crocodiles and also a large

variety of species of birds can be seen here. One of the main attractions near Gir National

Park is Somnath Temple. It houses the idol of Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve

jyotirlingas. Another place to visit is Girnar mountain. Just 5 kms away from Junagadh

district Girnar Mountain has Jain Temples which are built between 1128 and 1500 CE.

The Uperkot Fort said to be built by Chandragupta Maurya in 319 BCE attracts a lot of

tourists. The >

another lovely place to visit in Sasan Gir. It is situated near Diwan Chowk. The museum is

in the Ancient Palace there. It has a massive display of jewels, weapons, silver ware,

thrones, paintings, outfits etc.


How to reach

Gir is can be reached by road. The most convenient route is from Junagadh. There are a

number of trains to Junagadh from Rajkot or Ahmedabad. After getting down at Junagadh,

Gir can be reached by taxi or by bus. There are a number of buses that go up and down

from Junagadh to Gir. Ahmedabad and Rajkot can be easily reached either through railways

or airways as per convenience.

Gir can also be reached from Diu which is one of the Union Territories of India. After getting

down at Diu airport one can take a direct taxi or bus to Gir. Buses from Junagadh and Diu to

Gir are very frequent and no bookings are required until you book a private bus. Even taxi

will be easily available to reach Gir from both these places. Another easy route to Gir is from

Keshod Airport. Keshod airport is just 70 kms away from Sasan Gir. From the airport buses

and taxis are available to reach Gir. Taking a flight from Mumbai Airport is a convenient way

to reach Diu and Keshod.

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