The Gir Experience

As the rays of the setting sun, dip beyond the unending horizon, and darkness spreads its flanks - a reverberating roar rips the stillness of the night. Yes, these are rumblings, which roll down the hills to remind, yes you are in the company of great the Asiatic Lion whose panting can be heard over a Km. of forest.

Declared as sanctuary in 1965, sprawling in an area of 1412 sq. Kms. Gir, with its dry deciduous forest, has a luxuriantly rich ecosystem-endowed with floral and faunal plentitude. Understandably, then, identifying Gir with Lions only, would be unfair to other wild inhabitants of this park. Because, occupying the same territory with equal claim, are 32 species of mammals, 28 species of reptiles, nearly 300 species of birds and innumerable species of insects. Glorifying the maxims of harmonious coexistence, is the motley assemblage of Chital, Samber, Nilgai, Leopard, Hyaena etc. Not to mention, the numerous varieties of birds, whose sprightly hops, melodious twittering-softly add to the sublime symphony which nature has orchestrated here.

Gir - a proud heritage possessed by the present generation, is not merely a heaven of wildlife. It symbolizes history , that has witnessed the vicissitudes of nature, the travails of wildlife development, the gradual recognition given to this nature's bestowal, and consequent emergence of conservation ideology. Despite the onslaught of biotic disturbances and climatic hostilities, Gir - with its virginal identity, stands as a testimony of nature's intrinsic self reviving power.

Gir promises to unfold before you the unexplored vistas of wilderness and the splendour of wildlife, which is tranquil yet vibrant, serene yet colourful, silent yet communicative, distracting and yet captivating.

It took a royal decline to an offer of a lion hunt and then nearly a whole of a hundred years to pull the Asiatic Lion back from the brink of near extinction. Now that the species seems finally secure, the management is faced with another paradox. Unaware of the awe they continue to inspire and retaliatory risks they face, the lion tends to follow it's wild instincts and venture out of man-made boundaries and reach upto the waves of the Arabian sea.

The Asian Lion is amongst the rarest animals in the world and its best to visit him in summer, where the trees are bare, the grass has withered and he's down at the watering holes to quench his thirst. As you roam the sanctuary you'ed encounter the straight probing gaze of a Nilgai, the flighty stare of a Chital and if you're lucky the stralthy menance of the Leapord or the gentle call of a Lioness to her cubs.

Only if man would make an attempt to understand that! Perhaps, you would!

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