I dont know why its always very difficult for me to stick to a plan. When I started this blog I made a plan that as soon as the trip is done will draft the blog and publish it. But its been over 3 months after the trip I am trying to recall my trip.. Hey its late but it is better than never..
So here goes the background story. We made our first trip to Gujrat on jan 2017. During that trip we covered Rann of Kutch and little Rann. And as I had mentioned in the blog that it was my idea to visit the white Rann.. my husband wanted to include the Gir forest in the fisrt trip.. But it is almost like a triangle from Ahmedabad. With a preschooler who refuses to stay in a car was difficult to accommodate Gir forest in to our itenary. So my ‘always up for safari’ husband planned our second trip to Ahmedabad even before starting our first trip. The tickets were booked for March 2017. We took a early morning flight to Ahmedabad. Reached hotel before actual check in time.. the hotel was kind enough to accomodate us early and we refreshed ourselves and we had a full day stay at Ahmedabad as our trip to Gir started the next day. This time our inlaws joined us too and they were supposed to arrive at Ahemadabad only by evening. So we had good amount of time. This time we opted for self drive car(zoom car) and we booked it for the next day.
After refreshing we decided to take Ola to Adalaj step well. It is approximately 18 kms from the city and took us 40 mins to reach . It has a very interesting architecture and has that resplendent look. It is five stories deep and the carvings are very intricate.The place is so photogenic and it is a treat to people who loves to take pictures or like to be photographed with a alluring backdrop. This was our first time visit to a step well and thoroughly enjoyed the place.There is a garden behind the monument where we relaxed for sometime and then we decided to head back to the city to pick up our parents from the airport. Gandhi temple which is located in Gandhinagar and Akshardham tare two places of interest which can be covered if you have more time . Because of time constraint we decided to head back to the city.
On the way we took a detour to Sabarmati Ashram. It is located on the river banks of Sabarmati. This was one of the residences of Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi. Nice and calm place where one can witness the true meaning of simple living. It houses many rare photographs of Gandhiji. You can also see the home where Gandhiji and his wife spent there life. The famous Dhandi March started from this place. It was from his base here that Gandhiji led the Dandi march also known as the Salt Satyagraha on 12 March 1930.
We finished of the day with shopping in the Law college road where we bought few handbags and oxidised silver jewelries.
Next day we started our trip to Gir National forest at 9 AM. Gir is the only place where Asiatic lions are found. It is approximately 327 KMs from Ahmedabad , for us it took 8 hrs to reach our resort. There are many resorts around the park which can be booked via any hotel booking sites. We stayed at Mahindra Resort which is around 5 KMs from the park entrance. For safaris it is always better to plan ahead so that there is no disappointments and last minute over spending. We booked all safaris through online portal. For more details on safari booking click here. It is more like a permit that you can take a permitted vehicle inside the forest. There is three slots of safari timings one in early morning which starts at 6 AM and next is 9 AM and the last one in the evening which starts at 3 PM. It is advisable to go the counter half an hour before. If you have your own car take the car to the park entrance where you can hire a jeep directly. It will cost you less than hiring a jeep through your resort. If not the resort will also arrange a jeep for you. At the counter you have to show your permit and they will randomly assign a route and a guide. Talk to a guide before going to the counter , they will give a rough idea where you can spot lions and leopards. If you are interested to see the African tribal communities who have settled in Gir for many decades ask for route 1 . It is one of the longest route and If you are feeling lucky you can also spot leopards in this route. There are specific routes like route 5 , 3 where lions are seen mostly. Try different routes each time if you planning to take many safaries.
Next day morning we started from our resort at 5:30 AM . The resort arranged the jeep for us. The jeep picked us from our hotel. It was too cold in the morning , so dont forget to take some warm clothes .. The forest was mesmerizing in early morning sun. This forest has varied landscapes from rugged hill, open grasslands , dense valleys, fields and water bodies. Around half of the forested area of the park is teak forest. We spotted wild boars, chitals , sambars and nilgais. Also quite few numbers of birds and owls. This time we did not encounter our hero of our trip. But was quite satisfied with the safari. It was towards the end of second safari inside the forest we spotted our hero , the royal Asiatic lion. Always looking for a tiger made me little difficult to see it first which was sitting inside under the deciduous trees. But the lion decided to do a parade for us and it got up walked towards the road and crossed the road. walked along the path for sometime and then went near a water hole where it decided to chill for the evening. It was a treat to our eyes to see a majestic animal right in front of our eyes. Even though there was many jeeps and canters were around and people making noise and clicking photos the lion was unperturbed.It walked like a mighty king, calm and composed with so much of grace. This was the only lion we could manage to spot. I have heard people spotting 10 lions in a single safari.
For the next safari we wanted to take the longer route and also wanted to see the African tribe settlement inside the forest so we took route 1 . Generally many tourist avoid this route as there is next to thin chance of seeing a lion in this route but it is also known for spotting leopards in this route. Again leopards are very shy animal and very difficult to see. But we were at the right place at the right time.. The guide who was a African tribe settled in the Gir forest sensed that there is a leopard around by following the warning calls. So there it was staring right at in to us. It didnt move for a good amount of time. Guess it never expected us there. And we were the uninvited guest. And with a slight movement of my husband who wanted a better angle to take a picture it ran in to the forest.This was my third time spotting a leopard.
That was the last safari for us. And next day we planned to visit the Devalia Safari Park which is around 20 KM from Gir National park. They have Asiatic lions in captivity so if you missed spotting a lion in the forest here you can see them . Unfortunately we went there on the weekly off day. It too has safari timings and they are only open during mornings and evenings.
If you got couple of days more and you can visit Diu which around 65 KM from Gir. Also Somnath temple is 50 KM takes 1 hour to reach. Generally we try to cover maximum places but this time my partner decided to relax at the resort between the safaris.
The next best thing about the visit is gujrati food. Please dont miss to eat at local joints. Its more money saving than dining at the resort. And also you can relish nice home cooked dishes. The chaas is unbeatable compared to many drinks. They serve in a big jug like water. Thin and the soft thepla and lasun ki chutney combo is heavenly.