A wildlife trip is always exciting and adventurous. I have covered various tiger reserves in my previous journeys and an encounter with tiger has always been thrilling but this time I had planned a different jungle safari and intended to see the Asiatic Lions at Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat, the only place in the world to see the Asiatic lions in the wild.
Gir is located in the southwest portion of Gujarat and can be reached by road or air. (The nearest airport is Jamnagar / Ahmedabad.) The nearest city is Veraval in south and Junagarh in North. But in all cases to reach the wildlife you have to take the car route and SH (state highway) is the only available option.
Gir forest is spread over 1000 sq km and has various animals in it. Mainly it is the home of Asiatic lions a breed different from the African lions. You can also spot deer, wild buffalo, peacock, barrasingha, monkeys and much more.
The forest department allows two daily safaris, one in the morning and other in the evening. It is difficult to spot the lion and for that reason you should always keep a margin for your second or third round. In our case we were quite lucky to spot the wild cats entire family at two different locations. The encounter with the wild cats were amazing when the cats were moving with their cubs.
The Asiatic Lions are really amazing creatures, sometimes I doubt why they are called the king. Then a second thought and realize why they are King of the Jungle. Humorously they have lot many servants working for them. Actually they live in a family where the major work is done by the lioness and the lion does not like to work. To be frank I was amazed when I saw the forest Guard moving with the lion family like they are their pet cats and was so near to them pushing them with sticks. It was amazing, it seem that he was the shepherd and the wild cats were it sheep.
Well overall an amazing experience in the Gir Forest and an equally amazing experience was the Tribal dance which we had attended later in the night at our hotel. They are the tribe people who perform there dances and customs to promote tourism. Well done by the tribe, I shall happily say.
The dance was really very amazing and interesting, there performance was terrific specially the breaking of the coconut shell by their head. It will always be a memorable performance for me to remember. Not to be missed while at Gir Gujarat. If your hotel is not arranging one, you can ask local guide for organizing such event for you.
It made my trip really memorable. Will rate Gir Forest National Park a 4 out of 5. Must Go Place.