Gir Forest National Park

Welcome to the only home of the Asiatic Lion

Kesavamurthy N

Gir Forest National Park

Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also called Sasan Gir), was established in 1965. It is one of the oldest sanctuaries in India and is synonymous with the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica) — it is the only home of these lions.

Sasan Gir is located about 65km south-east of Junagarh district. It covers an area of 1,412sqkm and is home to various flora and fauna — more than 500 Asiatic Lions, approximately 300 leopards, several Marsh Crocodiles, roughly 300 species of birds (including winter migrants), 37 species of reptiles and various plant species.

Sasan Gir used to be a hunting ground for the British and the Indian royalty until the late 1960s. It is a major tourist attraction also due to its proximity to Somnath Temple (70km away).

Plan Your Trip

Getting there


Diu Airport is the closest airport to Sasan Gir (75km, 2.5 hours away). Rajkot Airport is the next best option (156km, 4 hours away).


Junagarh (79km, 2.5 hours away) is better connected to major cities; however, Veraval (70km, 2 hours away) is the closest railway station.


You can drive down to Sasan Gir from Ahmedabad (355km, 7 hours away). The roads are in good condition.

best time to visit

Summer: April to June are the hottest months, with daytime temperatures soaring to 40°C. The forest becomes dry and very dusty. The Forest Department provides water to the animals at designated concrete water tanks. If you can withstand the heat, this season is good for animal viewing.

Winter: The season lasts from late November to early or mid-March . The cold mornings and prolonged golden light in the forest are suitable for photographers.

The park is closed from mid-June to mid-October.

December to March is the best time to visit Sasan Gir. Avoid going during annual school vacations, Christmas, Diwali and other major holidays.



  • Lords Resorts (₹4,675 to ₹8,175 per room per night)
  • Fern Gir Forest Resort (₹6,500 to ₹7,500 per room per night)
  • Hotel Anil Farmhouse (₹5,000 to ₹6,000 per room per night)


  • Gir Jungle Lodge (₹4,500 to ₹6,000 per room per night)
  • Gir Birding Lodge (₹4,500 to ₹5,500 per room per night)
  • Asiatic Lion Lodge (₹4,000 to ₹5,500 per room per night)

See | Do | Shop 

  • Gir Jungle Trail: As many as three forest safaris are allowed in a day — at 6am, 9am and 3pm. You have to secure permits online (, there are no facilities for booking on the spot. There are eight safari routes and they are assigned just before you enter the park. Names and ID cards will be checked at the gate.
  • Gir Interpretation Zone, Devalia: Also known as Devalia Safari Park, this eco-tourism zone was established to reduce the number of tourists visiting the forest. This Interpretation Zone comprises a 412ha area with chain-link fencing, popularly regarded as ‘Gir in a nutshell’, and contains all its wildlife and habitats. 
  • There are various souvenir shops in Sasan Gir. However, the best place to shop at is the one next to Sinh Sadan, the permit booking counter. It is government-run and has a great variety of souvenirs to choose from.

Good to know

  • Make sure to book your safaris online 90 days in advance. It is highly recommended that you book other logistics only after securing the requisite permits.
  • Gypsies for getting around and safaris can also be booked through the lodge/ resort/ hotel you are staying at. Booking well in advance is necessary.
  • Airtel, Vodafone and Idea provide good coverage outside the park, but the network is very patchy inside the forest.
  • A few ATMs and petrol stations are available in and around Sasan Gir.
  • On safaris, there is only one rest room near the watch tower.
  • You will have to pay ₹200 per camera per safari. Keep enough cash.

What to pack

  • During winters, pack a warm jacket that can protect you from temperatures as low as 5°C to 8°C. You will need a cap and scarf to protect yourself from the cold and dust.
  • Dull clothing is recommended. Avoid bright colours and whites.
  • The terrain is a little bumpy, so carry a small bag to secure your mobile phones, wallet and other important documents.
  • Carry the ID card you provided while securing permits on all the safaris. It will be checked at the park gate.

For photographers

  • The forest provides ample opportunity to photograph birds, landscapes and mammals, even portraits of the local tribespeople. You can use lenses of all focal lengths. Arm yourself with a good zoom lens (70mm-200mm) and a prime lens above 400mm. For landscape and portrait shots, you can use the 24mm-70mm or the 18mm-55mm lens.
  • Carry a few old cloths or pillow covers to protect your camera from dust. Don’t try to change lenses inside the park, you will only end up with loads of dust in the sensor.
  • Don’t miss photographing some of the Maldhari tribals during your safaris. They are generally comfortable with posing for photos. However, you will have to inform your guide to stop and request for a photo.

In Between Safaris

  • Prabhas Patan is just 70km away. You can take a cab from Sasan Gir and visit the famous Somnath Temple.
  • There are quite a few forts around Sasan Gir — Junagarh, Rajkot, Gondal, Chorwad. Most cab drivers double up as guides; they’d be the best persons to take you around.
  • You can stroll down to River Hiran for a couple of hours of bird-watching.
  • You can also visit the tribal village. There are two tribes living in and around Gir — Maldharis and Siddhis. The Maldharis are nomadic tribal herdspeople. The name means “owner of animal stock”. They are dairymen by tradition, who used to supply milk and cheese to the maharajas. During safaris, you can spot them grazing their cattle in the forests. The Siddhis are descendants of the Bantus from Southeast Africa, who were brought to India as slaves by the Portuguese. They mostly stay near Sasan Gir and work as guides and Gypsy drivers.

Budget per person

The budget for Gir Forest National Park with a minimum of six safaris depends on the place of stay.

 A Gypsy can be rented for a day for ₹2,500 to ₹2600 (if directly booked via a Gypsy driver) and for ₹3,500 to ₹3,600 if booked through a hotel.

 Permits cost ₹1,000 (per safari on weekends and holidays) and ₹800 (per safari on weekdays).

If you are a group of six and stay at a budget hotel (on a twin-sharing basis), your three-night trip should cost ₹25,000 per person.

Tips, personal expenses, and air/ rail/ road travel to and from Gir Forest National Park will cost extra.

Kesavamurthy N - Wildlife Photographer

Kesavamurthy N

Wildlife Photographer

Kesavamurthy is a naturalist, wildlife photographer and photography mentor. He has travelled extensively in Kenya and India. He posts as @nkesavamurthy on Instagram.


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