Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sasan Gir, Gujarat - Gir National Park and Sanctuary

Gir Sanctuary and National Park

Gir is undoubtedly the jewel of Saurashtra the dry and drought-prone region of Gujarat, Spread over 1412 Sq. Kms. of rolling land with dry deciduous forest, Gir is best known as the last wild abode of the Asiatic lion.



The Gir National Park and Sanctuary are an out-and-out heaven of biological variety. Apart from the 300 odd lions, Gir is also home to around 250 leopards, and a number of other small carnivores like the wild cat, jackal and the striped hyena.



There are also many Nilgai, Sambar, Chowsinga, Chinkara and Chital with the Chital population in the 50,000 range. Amazing isn’t it? Gir is also supposed to be home to some rare animals like the Pangolin and the Rattle python.



There are around 300 species of birds and a phenomenal 2000 + species of insects flitting about the dry scrub jungle. Some of the birds found here are - Flycatchers, Warblers, Parakeets, Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Crested serpent eagle, Paradise flycatcher, Blossom Headed parakeet, Small blue kingfisher, Golden backed woodpecker and the Indian pitta.






Biological diversity at Gir -
Mammals: 38 Species
Reptiles: 32 Species
Amphibians: 10 Species
Birds: 300 + Species
Plants: 500 + Species
Insect Family: 2000 + Species



Sanctuary Visit -
The Sanctuary can be visited only during the daytime between sunrise and sunset. Sanctuary visit permits are issued at the Reception Center on request and after filling the necessary form. Guides and vehicles are available on hire at the Reception Center on first come first served basis. The permits are issued at around 6:30 am and people and agents begin queuing up as early as 5:00am. We reached the Reception Center at 8:00am though :)

Entry Fee to Gir Sanctuary



I felt that there was no order at the Reception Centre what with people jostling about, pushing each other. There were no proper instructions put up as to the procedure of obtaining permits and the timings. People staying at Sinh Sadan, the Forest Department Guest House, which is in the same premises as the Reception Centre were up early and formed a queue to obtain the Permits. The agents and other travelers who were staying elsewhere had formed a queue outside the closed gate of the Sinh Sadan. This gate was opened only at 5:30am and people rushed in like mad.
We learnt that are a fixed number or Vehicular permits allowed in a day and half of these could be booked in advance. Out of the remaining, few are reserved for the DFO’s.

The rest are available for current booking – The number of people in the queue outnumbered the number of permits available. It was jostle, push, and fights. We stayed put in a corner just watching all this unfold.
Each vehicle can seat a minimum of six people. Luckily, we found a family of four and clubbed with them to book a Vehicle.



A guide is must on all the vehicles that go into the sanctuary. Guide fees have to be paid directly to the guides.



Permit Issue Timings :
16th Oct to 15th Feb
Permit Issue Timing: 06.30 - 10.30 hrs
Sanctuary Visit: 07.00 - 12.00 hrs
Permit Issue Timing: 15.00 - 17.00 hrs
Sanctuary Visit: 15.00 - Sunset
16th Feb to 15th June
Permit Issue Timing: 06.30 - 11.00 hrs
Sanctuary Visit: 07.00 - 12.00 hrs
Permit Issue Timing: 16.00 - 17.30 hrs
Sanctuary Visit: 16.00 - Sunset
These were the timings when we visited Gir in December 2008. Please check with the officials when you plan to visit though.

As mentioned above there are two time zones to visit the Gir Sanctuary – 7am to 12pm
and 3pm – Sunset. There are 8 possible routes for the Sanctuary visit. Not sure if visitors are allowed to choose a route.



The visit to the Sanctuary lasts around 3-4 hours and lion spotting depends on the season and your luck :) We spotted a lot of deer, Sambar, chital but no lions.

Accommodation:

Sinh Sadan is the Forest Department Guest House. It is located very near to the Sasan Railway Station. Just a 5 minute walk. The bookings for the Guest House Rooms are done in the office of the Guest House Manager.



You can book in advance by writing to
The Guest House Manager,
Sinh Sadan,
Sasan - 362 135
along with a DD, for one day room charges, in favor of the Guest House Manager.



Sinh Sadan was a well-kept place. There are AC and Non AC rooms. There is a Dining Hall too. You need to place your order a little before mealtime.



There are many langurs on the premises of Sinh Sadan. However, they were not coming close to the humans - they were busy munching on the lovely rose plants in the Sinh Sadan garden. There were lot of squirrels too and these did not seem scared of human company.




How to reach Sasan?

Ahmedabad - Sasan : 408 kms
Rajkot - Sasan : 165 kms
Junagadh - Sasan : 60 kms
Keshod - Sasan : 60 kms
Veraval - Sasan : 45 kms.
Diu - Sasan : 110 kms.
Nearest Airport, Keshod : 60 kms

We took a train to Sasan as the train chugs down the jungle. We spotted herds of deer during the train journey. The train travel through Gir forests was a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Places to Visit in Sasan

Crocodile Rearing Centre - Situated in the Forest Department office complex this centre was created to rear crocodile hatchling to be subsequently released in the wild. There are some crocodiles for public viewing at the centre. Nothing much, but since it is at a walking distance from Sinh Sadan, you can visit it.

Gir Interpretation Zone (GIZ) – It is located in Devaliya, around 12 kms from Sasan. It is a fenced area of 4.12 Sq. Kms, which represents typical Gir habitats and depicts model wildlife management practices.





Gir Orientation Centre - located in the premises of the Sasan Guest House campus provides basic factual and scientific information about Gir with the help of Interactive Photographs, Paintings and models.



Camera Fees for the Sanctuary Visit

Professional Photography (Per day / Camera)
Still Photography (8 MP and above) - Indians 100 Rs, Foreign Nationals 10 $
Documentary - Indians 5000 Rs, Foreign Nationals 500 $
Feature Film - Indians 25000 Rs, Foreign Nationals 1000 $
No camera fee for amateur photography by visitors, provided the camera is less than 8 MP.
Security Deposits
Documentary - Indians 15000 Rs, Foreign Nationals 1000 $
Feature Film - Indians 50000 Rs, Foreign Nationals 2000 $

For more information contact

Deputy Conservator of Forests
Wildlife Divison, Sasan-Gir,
Dist. - Junagadh,
Gujarat 362135
India
Phone: +91 02877 285541
Fax: +91 02877 285641
Email: wildlife_ad1@sancharnet.in

Guest House Manager
Sinh Sadan,
Sasan Gir,
Dist. Junagadh,
Pin 362135
Gujarat,
India
Phone: +91 02877 285540

10 comments:

Darwin said...

Thanks for this article. This article is indeed useful.

I am planning to visit Gir in the coming weeks and was trying for all the related information on net but couldn't find much from the other travelogues and sites. Your blog covers almost of the information one needs before planning a trip to Gir. Hats off !!

The information mainly on tour timings, various charges and accomodation is of very much help.

J N Thapliyal said...

The information that you have provided in your blog is really valuable and helpful.

Can you tell the check-in/check-out time of Sinh Sadan Guest house and that if they are strict about those timings?

Thanks for the information.

Blogger said...

Hi J N Thapliyal.

Glad you foudn the blog useful. Yes, they are strict about the check-in/out timings. If I remmeber right it was 10-10 check-in/out. Half an hour here and there was permissible.

You can contact them on phone to confirm.

B

J N Thapliyal said...

I have made my booking at Sinh Sadan and yes they are strict about the timings :-)

I have planned to go there in the first week of May and also willing to do lot of bird-watching.

Thank you very much for all the information you've provided on your blog.

Ieva said...

Very nice and interesting things about Gir - thanks a lot! I`m going to Gujarat next Saturday - one of travel points gonna be Sasan Gir. Therefore I have a question regarding Sinh Sadan guest house: do you have manager`s e-mail? I somehow cannot reach them via cell phone. My phone refuses to connect with India :)

Blogger said...

Hi Leva

I dont have the email address of the Guest house manager.

You could however contact the Junagadh Forest Conservator at the following id and try

wildlife_ad1@sancharnet.in

Blogger

Jaydeep said...

Is monsoon right time to visit gir forest? and is it allowed to visit in Monsoon?

Blogger said...

Hi Jaydeep

Please check the post for timings - you will get an idea when the park will be open. As for monsoon season, though the place will be comparatively greener, summer is the best time if you want to spot lions. So, go in summer if you want to see lions, even if it means putting up with the heat. Trust me watching the lion in the wild is an amazing experience.

Jim Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Raj said...

Nice informative article about Sasan Gir.