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Old 18th March 2011, 12:58   #1
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Default “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Last month I was enquiring for the itinerary for Ahmedabad – Nalsarovar – Sasan Gir – Diu – Somnath, finally I completed my trip without Nalsarovar and Somnath because of some personal reasons.

I had started on 9th March and was in Ahmedabad on 10th / 11th to attend a marriage, started for Junagad on the night of 11th and reached by early morning. We had hired a taxi from Junagad to take us to Sasan Gir and Diu. We (Me, wify, Brother-in-Law, His Wife and child) were in Gir for 12th and 13th half day and then in half day covered Diu.

From Diu we started in at 8 PM, reached Junagad by 11:30 PM and catched 12:15 AM but to bring us back to Ahmedabad. I was again in Ahmedabad on 14th / 15th. I had planned to visit Nalsarovar on 14th but now they have banned boat ride and it was too hot (42/43 degrees) so opted out. I came back on 16th and joined office.

I have put some of the teaser shots at my facebook (facebook.com/bmunshi), all of them are un-edited, un-processed, direct of the camera shots.

In this travelogue I will focus only on ‘Gir’ part and might be just might be will touch the ‘Diu’ at the very end.

As I am starting from ‘Gir’ so let’s start from the point once we reached Junagad in the morning of 12th March’11 at 5:30 AM.

I called the travel agent with whom we had pre-booked the taxi, he requested us to come to his office (yes it was open) as driver was still awaited. We reached there, taxi (Indica Vista) was already waiting for us, after initial introduction and formalities, we started for ‘Gir’.

Hardly 10km from Jungad there is a Jain worship place by name ‘Girnar’ which has got 10,000 steps and is located high on a hill. My brother-in-law and his wife just stepped down and prayed at base of hill and then all of us started for ‘Gir’.

‘Gir’ is around 50-55KM from Junagad and road is not that excellent what we generally hear about ‘Tarmac of Gujrat’. From my overall experience and talks with locals I got to know that the ‘Saurastra – The Southern Gujrat’ hasn’t got its share of development. Majority of people says Modi is a big marketing / advertisement man and mainly focusing on big cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda etc.

Well coming back to main topic, the surrounding and atmosphere was excellent, by 7 AM I could see Sun rising up from the back of hills, I captured many shots but looks like nothing came up as excellent shot, but just for sake of starting with images, here comes the very first image of this travelogue.
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As we move forwarded started to spot the very common animals like deers, peafowl.
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We reached ‘Sasan Gir’ by 8 AM and inquired about our room at ‘Forest Guest House’, we were told our room will be available by 10/11 AM once the morning safari is completed and guest frees the room.
Getting room at ‘Forest Guest House’ is very interesting and tedious process but once you reach there and experience it, it’s all worthy. One has to call their number in advance (1 – 1.5 months) and check for the availability. Based on availability you have to fax a request with copy of ID Proof, then confirm if they have received good copy and confirm the availability again. After that you are required to make the DD of room charge and send them and again confirm it is received.
In my case we got a link (my wife’s cousin’s friend’s father is a forest ranger) so I just had to fax the request and that too hardly 3-5 days in advance. But we could get only 1 non-ac room with 2 extra mattresses. The weather was too good and AC is not at all required in any extreme weather conditions.
Another interesting thing is in forest guest house you have to book your break-fast/lunch/dinner in advance (by 8 AM for 1PM Lunch, 5 PM for 9PM Dinner and 8PM for morning 9AM break-fast). We booked our lunch knowing the food is very tasty and cheap (50/- per plate) thru our link.
So by 8:30 AM we were standing in the parking lot and were discussing what to do for next 2 – 2.5 hours. The first fixation was to have a break-fast. Then we started for ‘Devaliya’ which is about 10 KM from Forest Guest House.
‘Devaliya’ is a very special small forest area which is very well and strictly controlled, they have kind of enforced the natural habitat of forest by keeping almost all kind of animals (of course which are suited and present in the main forest area). It is being said that at times big animals like Lions are given food as well.
Not sure but looks like it has got around 7 lions, plenty of deers, sambhers, bores, peafowls, and others.
To visit it they have a small office from their one has to buy the ticket (95/- each) and then they have small buses (capacity 22). Once a bus is full it goes in to the park (I would rather say it park instead of forest). Lion sighting is almost guaranteed and drivers does nothing but just goes to the place where lions are resting (they get the information from previous bus drivers and the patrolling persons inside park).
I had to request him multiple times that I am not here to see the lions, rather to experience the natural habitat and take some interesting shots than just tons of kind of dead shots of lions.

My wish was granted and the moment we entered park I was able to capture this beautiful shot.
The cutie – pie looked more than happy to give pose for me.
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-15.jpg

Another pose
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-16.jpg

As we moved further, spotted this, look at the size its so big
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-19.jpg

It also blessed me by giving a look
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-20.jpg

Wished I could have got the frontal shot
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Well these fellows were kind enough
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The bigger one looks used to human and started ignoring us, but the little one was curious to my luck
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Last edited by TheBeastFieast : 18th March 2011 at 13:08.
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Old 18th March 2011, 15:06   #2
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Default The Jungle King Series and story

Ok the Future King number 1, fully in the mood to take some rest. Lions are so lazy during day
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-27.jpg

King Number 2, thinking about the excellent meal he had previous night OR was he fed just this morning by forest officials???
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-28.jpg

What’s that? Both kings together? Well they are 4 year old twin brothers and 2 lion brothers can live together for entire life and forest officials are expecting these 2 will be together forever, don’t know how they will react once they encounter any of the opposite sex.
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-29.jpg

Look at this fellow he is so sleepy
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-31.jpg

But then he decided to maintain his dignity and tried to ignore us which gave me an opportunity to get this shot
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-32.jpg

Ahhhh, Now I am sure this fellow has got full meal and couldn’t help but just slept
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-33.jpg

The first one is getting it from 2nd one (the urge to sleep and take rest)
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-34.jpg

Remember I said he wants to maintain the dignity and this time he looks directly to me and asked how many more shots you will take???
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Are you satisfied yet??? I find cuteness in his look
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While the first one is trying hard to maintain the dignity this fellow is already in deep sleep
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-40.jpg

Can’t help it
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-41.jpg

Almost dozed off
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-42.jpg

Ahhhh, this fellow is still here, I hope he hasn’t clicked my doze off shot
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-43.jpg
I thought he would just fall on the ground at this very moment
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-44.jpg

Now he started to ignore us, while 2nd one was enjoying his sleep.
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-45.jpg

Another ignorance shot, and I tried to take a portrait out of it
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Is he looking at me from the corner of eye???
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-47.jpg

This is where we had enough of the twins and moved on.

As I wrote in last post that I will take a momentary pause but during the processing of images realized its better to process a series of images and try to make a story out of it, lets see how that goes.

Give me some time to prepare the next series and story please!!!

Last edited by TheBeastFieast : 18th March 2011 at 15:11.
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Old 18th March 2011, 16:12   #3
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Was the road from Junagad to Sasan Gir very bad? Pot holes? Or was it merely a narrow road?

I also heard that the Jetpur (where the 4-laned road from Rajkot turns off towards Porbandar) to Junagad section is also in bad shape - is that so?
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Old 18th March 2011, 17:22   #4
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Wonderful travelogue ,
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Old 18th March 2011, 19:16   #5
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Wow, great pictures.
So good to see the lions, Tigers have had more than thier share of attention.
Gir has been on our plans for long. Your TL surely makes me want to go to Gir ASAP.
Will be back for more.
Regards.

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Old 18th March 2011, 19:44   #6
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

What lions, even though they are in controlled habitat, their faces (Yeah, I like to believe that I can read those faces!!!) ooze out royalty!

Looking forward to more pictures from Sasan :-) ... Subscribed!

Cheers,
NB
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Old 19th March 2011, 00:57   #7
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Amazing Pictures & amazing narration. Waiting for more. The entire cat family is facinating, Waiting for more.
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Old 19th March 2011, 01:24   #8
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Was the road from Junagad to Sasan Gir very bad? Pot holes? Or was it merely a narrow road?

I also heard that the Jetpur (where the 4-laned road from Rajkot turns off towards Porbandar) to Junagad section is also in bad shape - is that so?
Not really bad but narrow, it took us 1 and half hour to complete 50-55 KM. but the road towards Diu is really in worst condition.

Overall the local people were saying not much development has done to that part of Gujrat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitk26 View Post
Wonderful travelogue ,
Thanks, not just for having a look of it but for the excellent help, advises, suggestion you have been providing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
Wow, great pictures.
So good to see the lions, Tigers have had more than thier share of attention.
Gir has been on our plans for long. Your TL surely makes me want to go to Gir ASAP.
Will be back for more.
Regards.
Really liked your travelogue and already glued to them. They actually inspired me to write a travelogue than just creating a photo-log.


Quote:
Originally Posted by absoluteyogi View Post
What lions, even though they are in controlled habitat, their faces (Yeah, I like to believe that I can read those faces!!!) ooze out royalty!

Looking forward to more pictures from Sasan :-) ... Subscribed!

Cheers,
NB
Many Thanks, Wait for the big cat shots in uncontrolled but in protective area i.e. actual forest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuakeys View Post
Amazing Pictures & amazing narration. Waiting for more. The entire cat family is facinating, Waiting for more.
Many thanks, I hope I would complete the next series / story by the time people wake up and gets any chance to check TBHP

Last edited by TheBeastFieast : 19th March 2011 at 01:26.
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Old 19th March 2011, 02:04   #9
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Default The Beast with Feast Series / Story

After spotting Lions everyone in the mini bus was relaxed and so does driver, He was like his duty is complete and now he just wanted to drive all of us out of the park. But many thanks to different forums and individuals I was not full. I knew there is much more in forest than just big cats and luck was favoring me. The moment I spotted this I asked (rather requested) driver to please go slow and if possible parallel
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-50.jpg

It was very certain that This Beast got Feast today and now it was up to me to get some good shots of it,
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-51.jpg

Initially it was walking on the road and looks like was trying to fit its grip on the feast (To me it look like at least 2 KG piece of flesh, might be some left-over from the fed given to lions).
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It got its grip and started flying
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-53.jpg

I was trying very hard to follow it and getting some in-focus in-flight pics, this was my best chance of getting these kind of shots
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-54.jpg

I have to agree with my friends who says I am very lucky, The grip on flesh was not very good so it had to land and come on road again only to give better shots
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-55.jpg

This time he/she got solid grip and was in position to fly high
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-56.jpg

I wish I had this one more in focus
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-57.jpg

I have to work harder for in-flight shots
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-58.jpg

This one I really like very much
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-59.jpg

Finally it started to move further away from us
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-60.jpg

This is where the next series / story ends, but this is one of the series which made me very excited and to tell you the truth, I like this one over the Lion Series.

Last edited by TheBeastFieast : 19th March 2011 at 02:06.
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Old 19th March 2011, 11:24   #10
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

excellent travelogue supported by some great shots!
Loved your description of the lion shots
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Old 19th March 2011, 13:12   #11
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Glued and waiting. Gir is one place that I desperately want to visit, but somehow am not able to schedule for that. Africa is out of bounds (pocketwise) for me hence the only chance to interact with the "Simha" is Sasan Gir before I leave this world.

Apart from those lovley snaps, a bit more detail on the logistics shall be helpful like the phone number & address of the FRH for making the bookings. Are there jeep safaris inside Gir and if yes what are the details? Any other information that could be useful.

The tour of the enclosed park where those 7 lions have been kept almost reminded me of my visit to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, Mumbai where they have similar enclosures for Tiger & Lion and conduct tour in a closed & caged Canter.
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Old 19th March 2011, 13:40   #12
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

@Shanty, @Gurudutt Sir Thanks a lot.

I will be adding more details as I move forward. One thing is certain Visiting Gir could be one of the cheapest wild life experience, could be cheaper than visiting 'Sariska' by own vehicle. Beat this
1.) Train ticket from Delhi - Ahmedabad: 343 for 3Tier Sleeper
2.) Sleeper ticket from Ahmedabad - Junagad: 270 for 300+ km and time 6.5 hours
3.) Junagad - Gir: This could get costly if you hire taxi else use some public transport
4.) Forest Range Guest House: 500/- per night for Non-AC | 1500/- per night for AC. AC is never ever required.
5.) Food: 50/- per plate for break-fast / lunch / dinner
6.) Open Gypsy for safari: 800/- per gypsy, its all yours
7.) Permit: not sure for per head, I had 6 members for 565/- + 100/- for camera over 7.1MP.
8.) For enclosed park 'Devaliya': 95/- per person.
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Old 19th March 2011, 15:42   #13
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

After having the so much required and necessary Lion shots to satisfy friends and having great experience with eagle to satisfy myself we moved forward. We encountered many animals whose images have been posted already except this one:
Name:  GirNP 62.JPG
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Once the tour was finished and we were getting refreshed at the office of ‘Devaliya’, these fellows draw my attention and I watched their routine actions for some time and then started clicking.
The test shot
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She spotted something interesting, must be some insects in that gap between concrete
“Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion-girnp-64.jpg

Sad? Or thinking something, I would guess its talking to self
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She certainly got angry with me, I didn’t wanted to interrupt them while they were having their lunch, but I am so sorry, I ended up being a disturbing element
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Oh, look at the anger, its all in the eye
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Once every one was refreshed, we came back to Forest Guest House by 11:30 AM and the room was ready for us. We got extra beds (150/- per bed). The room charge was 500/- per night.

While ladies choose to settle down, I and brother-in-law enquired about evening safari.

Safari Timings: 3 safaris daily. 6:30 – 9:30 | 12:30 – 3:30 | 3:30 – 6:30, for each of the safari the booking office for getting the permit opens 30 minutes in advance and unlike most of the other forest, here guests have to get the permit themselves instead of the hotel / resort / guide getting it. We have to fill the form, provide Photo Identity and get the permit. All is done in no time as Gir is still not much explored and even on weekend there are few tourists.

Charges: One can even go in their own four wheeler, if its diesel then it has to be Euro III. And open gypsy can be obtain in 800/- per gypsy. I am not sure for charges for single person, but we were 6 members and booked the entire gypsy, we got the permit in 565/- and then paid 100/- for camera as it was over 7.1MP (Below that megapixel no charges). 100/- has to be paid to guide post return from safari.

We decided that we will go in the evening safari (3:30 – 6:30).

My relative who had suggested me for Gir, has already suggested to visit the nearby Crocodile centre, which actually was just next door to Forest Guest House, we immediately went their and were bit disappointed as the way my relative had narrated was very different from what we saw actually. They have got very small cages with small water ponds where crocodiles and turtles are kept. Some shots:

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I liked this one, it has got mischievous smile
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Smiling crocodile
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We were done with it in 30 min and came back to room.

We got settled in the room and took the bath one by one. Everyone was ready for lunch by 1PM and we proceeded for the dining room. We had one of the best lunches of the tour the pure Kathiyawadi Gujrati food. And now it was the time to get some required and very well deserved rest / sleep.

Around 2 – 2:30 PM we got ready for evening safari, Our number was 8 or 10 in the queue, booked the gypsy, got the permit, Guide was assigned along with permit as well. Yes in ‘Gir’ you can not choose your guide.

Our guide suggested us that we will enter the forest by 3:45 or 4PM, which will increase our chances of spotting more animals particularly Lion. So we went for the Tea, I must say we liked the strong Tea every-where, Tea tested almost similar at every place in the southern Gujrat and was really very good.

At 3:30PM we were ready for the first safari and started at 3:45PM, more to come in next post, where I will start with small description about ‘Sasan Gir National Park’.
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Old 19th March 2011, 15:56   #14
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Amazing, its getting more and more interesting with every new post of your.

Regards
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Old 19th March 2011, 16:01   #15
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Default Re: “Sasan Gir” – The Last Home to Asiatic Lion

Thanks . That's what my initial intention was and that is why I posted the Lion shots so early, which brings initial satisfaction.

I was lucky to get them so early in the tour so that I could concentrate on actual forest habitat later on. I hope I would deliver same.
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