Plane :
  Keshod - 40 KM

Railway :
  Junagadh - 8 KM

Way :
  Ahmedabad - 327 KM
Gir Gir
Gir Gir
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The forest that stretches from the base of the Girnar all the way to sea is one of the most famous forests of India. Tribhuvan Kavi has joyfully described it in his poem 'Gaje Jangal gir tana', where its rich flora and fauna, thick woods of ancient trees come to life in our mind from mere words even. However, unfortunately the in roads of time and humans have eroded the beauty and richness of this forest a great deal by now. And yet it still retains its beauty as a forest that needs to be seen by our own eyes. We find the camps of huge and quality cattle here that the shepherds of Saurashtra move with them. The wild creatures live under huge ancient trees. When the region faces a draught, the shepherds bring their cattle under the blessings of Girnar and its natural resources. It is full of small and big springs and lakes too, besides vegetation. The most distinguished feature of this place is that it is the home of Indian Lion, the king of wild life. Lions have vanished from the face of the earth, except in Africa and India; and in India also it survives only at Gir forest of Gujarat.

The government guesthouse has been set up at the western edge of the forest, at a place called 'Sasan Gir', by the Tourism Department. It also is a station on the railway line of Sasan, Visavadar- Talala. We can enjoy overnight stay in this forest here. The government also arranges a tour of the forest so that we may be able to view the freely roaming lions. We can do this in his natural habitat and go very near him without endangering any of us or him.

Of the wild animals here the lion -locally called 'savaj' - is the main attraction. Although the lions are free to roam all over the forest, it seems that they have divided it into their own territories. They take their own families around in the some kind of detennined areas only. A lion is a beautiful, majestic and fearless creature of the forest. It can get angry and is powerful enough to destroy his enemy any time. However, it never kills any animal unless provoked or absolutely hungry.

Another notable creature of Gir forest is the Gir bison. This big buffalo or bison has Yeryheavy and sharp horns, and is very powerful. It is so brave that it does not back out a combat with a lion if necessary. The shepherds of this place also have adjusted with the lions here and are not afraid of him as they too live here, having partly cleared the forest and live along with their families too, along their cattle.

At one time the number of lions in the entire Saurashtra was very large. But as is happening elsewhere, the forests are dying here and at Gir too. The population of the lion is dwindling now. As the forests were cut, the lions migrated to the thicker Vegetation Zones and now only at Gir do they survive. Uncontrolled hunting has also taken its toll on the lion population. Now hunting has been banned. To protect the lion, the government has declared Gir as a Sanctuary for Lions at Sasan Gir. A wall of stone has been erected around it and the roads in-between have barbed wire fences on both sides. In the area of 176 km care is taken not to allow any wild animal to leave it or no other animal or hunters enter it.

There are some places worth visiting at Gir. To look at the lion, besides Sasan we can go to Tulsishyam situated 30 km away where there are hot water springs.


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