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.
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,
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.
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,
Phone: +91 02877 285541
Fax: +91 02877 285641
Guest House Manager
Phone: +91 02877 285540