Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is a 1412 sq km hilly tract of dry deciduous
forests, acacia scrub, evergreen and semi-evergreen flora and grasslands, fed by
rivers and streams. Among the many water-bodies in the reserve is the Kamleshwar
Dam, known for its large crocodile population.
Originally protected by the Nawab of Junagadh, after British viceroys brought to
his attention the plight of the lion in Asia, the sanctuary is the jewel of Gujarat's
FAUNA OF GIR
According to official census figures, Gir has about 300 lions and 300 leopards,
making it one of the major big-cat concentrations in India. Sambar and spotted deer
(chital), blue bull (nilgai), chousingha (the world's only four-horned antelope),
chinkara (Indian gazelle) and wild boar thrive in Gir. Jackal, striped hyena, jungle
cat, rusty-spotted cat, langur, porcupine, black-naped Indian hare are among the
other mammals of Gir.
Gir has a large population of marsh crocodile or mugger, which is among the 40 species
of reptiles and amphibians recorded in the sanctuary.
The park checklist has 250 birds and about 50 other species (including the endangered
lesser florican and the saras crane) are recorded in the grasslands along the perifery
of the sanctuary. Many species like the painted sandgrouse, grey francolin, quails,
Asian paradise flycatcher, black-naped monarch, white-browed fantail, Asian brown
flycatcher, grey-headed flycatcher, verditer flycatcher, tickell's blue flycatcher,
greenish warbler, white-eye, coppersmith barbet, common and marshal's iora, rufous
treepie, yellow-footed green pigeon have been spotted by our guests around the lodge
itself. Long-billed vulture, Indian white-backed vulture, red-headed (king) vulture,
Eurasian griffon vulture, changeable hawk-eagle, crested serpent eagle, bonneli's
eagle, greater spotted eagle, lesser spotted eagle, tawny eagle, steppe eagle, imperial
eagle, Pallas's fish eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon, laggar
falcon, red-headed falcon, oriental honey-buzzard, white-eyed buzzard and other
raptors have been seen in the sanctuary. Gir also has brown fish owl, Eurasian eagle
owl, spotted owlet. In the evening, nightjars can be seen near the lodge gate.
The lodge can also be used as the base to visit the coastal areas from Veraval to
Diu Bird Sanctuary for shore birds.
Gir also has about 2000 species of invertebrate and the trails around the lodge
can be good for butterfly-spotting.
PEOPLE OF GIR
Gir is the home of the Maldharis, a term used for the many Hindu and Muslim pastoral
groups of the area. The Maldhars live in traditional settlements called nesses and
tend Jafrabadi buffalos, Gir cows and other livestock. Some of them also have camels,
sheep and goats. Among the best-known pastoral groups of Gir is the Sorathi Rabari.
Siddis are a community with African origins. Believed to have come from African
countries as mercenaries, slaves and labour, the Siddis grew to become powerful
generals, some of them even became rulers. In Gir, there are villages of the Siddis,
who are well known for their dances and other performances, and Nagarshi Pir at
Jhambur nearby is a major shrine for the Siddi community.