This Segment ” Wanderlust Tales” brings to you the fascinating stories of a young dreamer, a passionate traveler, and a wandering soul. Witness her emotional stories coupled with exquisite photographs from her travel diaries, every Friday.
From Wanderlust Tales of theWanderingSoul
Official Globe-Trotter, The Floating Thoughts Team
” Take only memories,leave only footprints.“
Gir National Park is one of the most popular tourist places in Gujarat. Spread across an area of 1412 sq.km, it is a home to diverse flora and fauna. Located in the Junagarh district of Gujarat, Gir is the safe haven for the majestic Asiatic lions, the population of whose has been consistently increasing since its establishment. According to the Asiatic lion Census of 2015, the lion population had risen to 523 from 177 in 1968.
Since the wild animals come out in search of water in the months of summer, we decided to visit Gir in the month of March. The Gir Jungle lodge resort was our abode during the visit. It is spread across 4 acres of lush green mango orchard located just 2 km from the Safari-gate.We made a prior online booking for the jeep safari on Gir Online Permit booking system and got our safari timing at 8:30 a.m. as the early morning slots were already booked.
Jeeps were ready at the lodge’s gate to take the visitors to witness the grandeur of the king of the jungle. With enthusiasm, we reached the gates and after the permit check, we entered the Gir forest. The driver instructed us to savor the beauty of the Gir Jungle and its wildlife in silence.
Before we reached the core forest area, the driver frequently stopped the jeep to show us various animals as if he knew where each of those resided. Every time he stopped, our eyes would scan the surroundings to find the lions, only to be told to keep patience. We saw the Nilgai, the Chital or the spotted deer, the buck, owl, Indian peacocks, langurs, camel etc.
As we moved deeper into the forest, our driver and the guide was flooded with all kinds of questions about the lion sightings in the recent days. With high hopes, our guide assured us that he would make sure that we saw at least one lion. Like an excited child, our eyes kept staring at the forest.
After around more than half an hour, we reached the area where the probability of getting to see a lion was maximum. Few other tour jeeps were also parked in that very spot. Everyone was waiting patiently and searching for that special moment. All of a sudden, our jeep stopped and our heat beats grew louder. We saw everyone staring at the same direction. I felt a jolt of adrenaline as soon as the guide spoke softly to us,
“Lo here is your lions…chilling lazily on the roads”
Damn! wow…just wow. I was really seeing them…not one but a pack.
I had never realized the magnanimity of the king of the jungle until I saw them for real in front of me. It was the moment that made me feel scared and simultaneously proud.
One person dressed in a uniform went towards the sleeping lions with a stick in his hand. Everyone stared at him as he neared the lions and stamped the stick on the ground which woke them up.The lioness elegantly stood up and started walking around gracefully while few others were lazing around.
YEP! GUYS are LAZY and GIRLS are Graceful no matter which Species they belong to. Huh 😛
The spectators were not only taken aback by the way the person went near them but were also amazed to witness the magnificent Asiatic lions. It is said that the lions in Gir lives in close proximity to humans but never attacks them. This does reflect that there is an unspoken bond of love that exists between animals and humans…a sense of respect for the other’s existence. Let us uphold that dignified relationship.
With big grins and joy on everyone’s face, we started moving back.While moving around the jungle, we saw several cottages inside the jungle. According to our guide, those belonged to the Maldhari Tribe who have been living in the Gir forests since years. Several attempts were made by the government to relocate them after the forest was recognized as National Park. But due to mismanagement and non-availability of facilities at the relocation site, the tribes returned to the Jungle to maintain their traditional way of life which led to the lion population spreading outside the jungle leading to human-wildlife conflict. They have lived in the wilderness for generations by grazing their livestock and has used forest products and fodder which had a negative impact on the animals in the jungle.
Special Tips form theWanderingSoul.
Devalia Safari Park
- Devalia is an enclosed area where spotting the lions is guaranteed if you don’t spot one in the Gir National Park.
- Also known as Gir Interpretation zone-this safari park also houses several other wildlife like the panther, spotted deer, blackbuck etc
Witnessing the wild animals in their natural habitat for the first time and being a spectator to the elegance of the Asiatic lions made me introspect how beautiful this nature is…how wonderfully God has crafted this world…how beautifully different are forms of life.
I would request every one of my dear readers to visit wildlife for once. You would surely lose a piece of your heart to the beauty.
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