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Old 28th March 2012, 14:30   #1
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Default Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

It was the year - 2010, December, having had successful tiger sightings in RNP in Oct,
Read about it here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...gers-more.html (Ranthambhore National Park - Tigers and More!),

the ambition to see more of our amazing wildlife was burning strong.

Gujarat - a place where my father had been posted for 9 long years. A place where we spent our summer vacations, a place with so much diversity - mountains, beaches, temples, GIR.

A place where Birlas built their very first Birla temple, a place with high industrialisation and growth.

A place where despite my father's 9 years - I had not seen anything other than a couple of beaches and Somnath

Above all - the birth place of Gandhiji!

After much delibration - it was decided that we will do a family holiday in Gujarat in Feb 2011 - and a visit to Gir was a part of the plan.

My father had been stationed in a small place called - Sutrapada which is very near to Somnath and Veraval and is only about 60 odd kms from Gir.

The plan was -

- Fly out from Gurgaon to Ahmedabad
- Train from Ahmedabad to Veraval (overnight journey)
- Stay in Veraval (our base camp)
- Visit Somnath, do pooja there
- Do a day trip to Diu
- Leave for Gir
- Stay in Club Mahindra resort in Gir - do 5 safaris in Gir.
- Train from Junagadh to Ahmedabad
- Flight from Ahmedabad back to home.

It was a week long trip and a family holiday.

Did all the bookings and logistics myself - prepared the trip plan and were set for the trip.

Last edited by sach.sri : 2nd April 2012 at 12:31.
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Old 28th March 2012, 16:03   #2
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

06/02/2011 - 07/02/2011

So - the day was there. We were all packed and ready - taxi arrived and we were off to the Airport. Boarded the flight w/o any incidents and touched down in Abd on time.

Had a nice train journey to Veraval - there is something inherently roamantic in Train journeys which is missing when you fly. We all enjoyed it - for the young ones, it was a new and great experience.

We reached Veraval and transferred to the hotel in the cab arranged by the hotel. This same cab was to take us on our trip to Somnath.

It was nice being back - i had so many memories of Veraval including vivid memories of getting stuck in floods when coming home for summer vacations , but that is a story for some other time.

Some pictures of Somnath temple and the boat building in Veraval. Veraval is a huge dockyard and has a thriving fisheries industry.

Old Somnath temple

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The new and famous Somnath temple - it has changed quite a bit in the years.

Legend has it that this temple was raized to ground 17 times and was rebuilt again - the last one under the ageis of Sardar Vallabh bhai patel.
Get to know a lot of interesting bits of history and legend in the sound and light show - something that should not be missed.

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Boat being built

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Dockyard with 100s of fishing boats

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Last edited by sach.sri : 2nd April 2012 at 12:27.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 13:19   #3
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

We spent the day visiting Somnath - first in the afternoon to do pooja and then later in the evening to watch and sound and light show.

The hotel that we were staying in was a decent place - nothing fancy but clean rooms and good food. The food was so good that it was a pleansant surprise.

Next day was the day for Diu - we booked a cab to take us from Veraval to Diu and we were to spend a day on the beach.

It was a pleasant exp - we did all sorts of activities on the beach including para sailing and boat rde on a banana boat, concluding with a quick shower and then some nice lunch. It was nice fun day at the beach.

Some pictures from the beach.

Nagoa beach the most famous beach in Diu
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Getting ready for para-sailing. It was a exhilarating experience.
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Our para-sailing trips aroused a lot of interest in other folks. I think we kick started the parasailing company's day. a lot of other people took para sailing trips after us.
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Up, up and away!!!
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Coming down....
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Coming down.....
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Coming down.....
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Touchdown
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My son - in life jacket before the banana boat ride
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Poor man's sand castle
Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!-p1040576.jpg
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Old 2nd April 2012, 13:24   #4
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

I must say that the journey too and from Diu totally rattled our bones. It was a baaaad road with a lot of potholes and patches. It did not help that we were in a old rusty, creaky qualis!

One should live in a coastal place to appreciate the amount of rusting that happens to metallic things in a short span of time.

Anyways, back at the hotel - this was our last day before going off to Gir forest. Had dinner - packed and went off to sleep.

In the morning - the same qualis as yesterday picked us up and dropped us to the Club Mahindra resort in Gir.

This was the first time that i was staying at a club mahindra resort and it was a nice place. great rooms, with different options for outdoors activities. Liked the place!

We settled in and got ready for our first safari in the evening.

Signboard at the entrance of the park - exhorting tourists to follow the rules
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Couple of skulls - telling us that we are in a predator country. Look at the size of the second skull!
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WEll in the park
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Mongoose
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Gum tree - this tree changes colors as seasons change and also glows in the dark.
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Sambhar stag - looks so different than the ones we have seen in Sariska and RNP
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It was our first safari and we saw the usual sights barring a couple of noticable shots (of the skulls) did not take a lot of shots. The jungle though was totally different than the jungles up north. Much more dry and very dusty, even in feb.

Last edited by sach.sri : 2nd April 2012 at 14:07.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 00:20   #5
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Thread moved here from Assembly line section. Thanks for sharing the travelogue with us
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Old 3rd April 2012, 15:34   #6
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Thread moved here from Assembly line section. Thanks for sharing the travelogue with us
Thanks Anshuman.

Continuing with the TL.

Our second safari and first encounter with the king, or rather queen of the jungle.

Before i get on to the encounter - a small note on how the viewing in Gir happens.

This is a different from the other jungles that i have visited till date, there is a concept of "harkare" these are forest rangers that live in the jungle - they go out in the mornings to find out where the lions are and then guide the gypsys to the spot for a darshan.

Even though this is convinent and good fun to watch the lions - the thrill of the unknown and tracking is somehow dulled (guess we tourists are a hard lot to please ).

Obviously - you tip these rangers for arranging the spotting for you. That is the expectation.

Anyways - i must admit - that i enjoyed watching the lions - and it would have been pretty dissapointing to go back w/o a dekkho.

So here we were on a gypsy trying to find some lions - and we come across a ranger who tells us about a lioness inside a small thicket and guides us to the place. We go there and wait - cannot see anything just yet. Slowly the news spreads and a lot of gypsys are coming our way.

They all jostle for space to somehow see the lioness that is inside and our driver is coolly letting all and sundry go ahead. I get a little flustered and ask him as to why is he not going forward - we cannot see anything. He is like - wait, the lioness will come out and then we will have the best seat of the show. I am like - "yeah, right"!

Well, as it turns out - he was right. The lioness came out just infront of our gypsy. She must have only 5~10 metres from our gypsy

So she came out a settled down infront of us in the shade of a tree. grooming herself and then lying down for siesta. Wow is the only word - what a majestic animal and you could see the strength and why she is regarded as the queen of the jungle.

Now - let the pictures do the talking

Coming out of the thicket
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Closeup
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This is how close she was to us
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Love this cheetal stag pic. Clicked by my bro-in-law
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Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!-img_3325.jpg

Last edited by sach.sri : 3rd April 2012 at 15:54.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 16:36   #7
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Wonderful pictures and narration, looks like it was a fruitful outting in the wild.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 17:41   #8
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Wow, A tiger thread (One Lucky Sunday At Ranthambhore- 24/03/12 Trip Report!!) and now this, the Lion thread. India is truly blessed to have, both these big cats.

Please do post more pics, and some more info on getting inside the forest (like permits, best time of the year)

Thanks and let the pics roar.

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Old 3rd April 2012, 22:16   #9
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Wow is the word and sad that my trip got cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. The lioness is in her prime and exudes grace & strength. The confident look in her eyes bowled me over.
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Old 4th April 2012, 13:48   #10
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Wonderful pictures and narration, looks like it was a fruitful outting in the wild.
Thanks motomaverick. Indeed if was a nice outing in the wild. Going to a jungle is my favourite thing to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by neofromcapone View Post
Wow, A tiger thread (One Lucky Sunday At Ranthambhore- 24/03/12 Trip Report!!) and now this, the Lion thread. India is truly blessed to have, both these big cats.

Please do post more pics, and some more info on getting inside the forest (like permits, best time of the year)

Thanks and let the pics roar.
Thanks neo.

I will be posting some more pics - we did have another sighting of a pride of lions.

On info regarding getting inside the forest, i am afraid i will not be very helpful - i had left all my bookings to the resort, and they managed everything. So we just had to plonk ourselves in the gypsys and go out for the drive.

The best season to visit is summer months - if you can bear the heat as it is best season for sightings given the scarcity of water holes.

However, i should say that other than the monsoons, during which the park is closed - you can visit anytime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Wow is the word and sad that my trip got cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. The lioness is in her prime and exudes grace & strength. The confident look in her eyes bowled me over.
Thank you sir. let me dedicate this thread to your visit, that could not be. Hopefully - you will be able to re-plan the trip in near future.

I will be posting more pics shortly - still go go through and sift through the pics.
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Old 5th April 2012, 00:04   #11
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Amazing shots, Keep the Pictures rolling. Nice narration.
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Old 5th April 2012, 10:46   #12
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

What? no leopard? With your luck you should be sighting a leopards first, than a tiger!!

Ok that was a joke, but seriously, very nice!! Love the way you keep travelling to NP's to spot the big cats.

Regards
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Old 5th April 2012, 13:12   #13
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Amazing shots, Keep the Pictures rolling. Nice narration.
Thanks Joshuakeys. Still to get myself to sort out the pics. Will probably be doing in the next days and posting more pics on the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
What? no leopard? With your luck you should be sighting a leopards first, than a tiger!!

Ok that was a joke, but seriously, very nice!! Love the way you keep travelling to NP's to spot the big cats.

Regards
Heh heh. This is a "Lion" thread .

But we did get to see a leopard - it was a very fleeting glance and we could not click any pics!
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Old 5th April 2012, 15:53   #14
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Default Re: Visit to Gir forest - the only natural habitat for Asiatic Lion!

Sach.sri those are some good pics. Hope more pics are coming up.
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Old 6th April 2012, 11:39   #15
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Sach.sri those are some good pics. Hope more pics are coming up.
Thanks Thamizha. Appreciate that you like the pics - it is a great feeling

Yes, i have more pics to share - however i have been pretty occupied in the past days and am looking to sort out the pics and share as soon as possible.

Pls bear with me.
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