Sasan Gir forest has been flourishing with tourists throughout the year. Considered to be one of the hottest tourist spots in Gujarat, a lot of developments have recently taken place in this area. As Gir is one of these places close to my hometown and feels like home, I’ve never felt the need to go and explore it as a trip spot until recently.
Let’s take a birds eye view on Gir. A forest located in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Gir forest is the home of 523 lions spread across a huge forest area. It remains open for almost 8 months a year for visitors. And from the geography perspective it is a dry deciduous forest.
Coming back to the trip, as a matter of fact the system of getting a joyride in the jungle safari is simple and straightforward. You enter the gates of Gir National park safari entry aka Sinh Sadan-without an online booking receipt and ID proof, ta-da! there they show you the gate again with a goodbye. But, we didn’t do that. Proactively we had done all those formal bookings in advance but missed the ‘stay’ part thinking that its just close to home. Also many friends own farms and resorts there, hence we just put our blind faith.
Unfortunately or fortunately (I will get back to this part later) our blind faith was blind for real and no bookings were done till the D-Day. We then decided to make it a one day trip with a few explorations combined. I was really annoyed by this fact as I often wish my trips last minimum for two days, if more-that’s a blessing.
So we (me and the young guns of my family) set out in the morning to report for the Safari at 9. To brief you up, my hometown is just a couple of hours away from Gir which makes it easy peasy for us to be there. We reached a little early and checked out the popular souvenir shops at Sinh sadan, the entry to the forest safari. Here, people go for a 3 hour ride in the gypsy bearing all the dust to spot some lions. In these three hours you play a scientist, an ornithologist, a zoologist and overall a keen observer curious to know what next. I relish every bit of it starting from the flora and fauna, the forest feel and the gypsy ride. Lions? Ah that’s your luck. That day we weren’t lucky enough to spot a single lion in the Safari 😒 (may be they didn’t wish to greet us). But we could spot the obvious animals like deers and peacocks. Alongwith that, we spotted huge garden lizards, owl and eagle.
Post the safari, we grabbed a quick bite in a restaurant opposite Sinh Sadan called Rajwadi dining hall. The gujarati thali over here was quite average, loved their chapatti. Caution! If you aren’t a street foodie and crib for hygiene all the time, you won’t enjoy this place as much.
Left with two options and the lion still on our mind, we thought of first visting the Jamjir waterfalls nearby is approximately an hour drive from Gir. This was my second visit to Jamjir. The fall was peaceful and beautiful, but littering was very much visible due to mismanagement. If you are a sea and waterfalls lover, you feel like sitting there for hours and enjoying its sounds. Jamjir is not a waterfall in which you can drench yourself as it falls in a pool, atleast 20-30 feet deep. Not recommended due to safety reasons. Nevertheless, I found selfie crazy people risking their lives and making themselves probable contenders for newspaper headlines the next day. Cons of social media!
We were back in Gir soon after that quick detour to Jamjir. Our final destination was Devalia park. This is said to be a sureshot place to have a look at the lions. It is an interpretation zone in the Gir area. We reached there just in time, queued up and got our tickets for a bus ride. During our ride, I saw an animal sitting at ease. Suddenly it notices a change in the surroundings (as our bus stopped in its vicinity). And then it gets up, walks closer, closer and closer. There it was-the lioness, the queen! That, was thrilling! Well she immediately changed her course and went behind the bus to stay on the road. But I will never forget that posture, that look!
Coming to the ‘fortunate’ part, the amount of traffic and crowd I witnessed in Gir that day was unimaginable. I felt it was a wise choice to head back home and relax. If you wish to eat and stay in peace, do keep a track of where and at which time of the year you travel. But at times, being in the crowd is fun too. Individual choices.
And as usual, each trip leaves a sugary sweet memory in my life 🙂
P.S. Pic courtesy for Gir forest: Harshil Trivedi