Established in 1965, Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary is situated at
, in the south-west of Saurashrea Peninsula, in Junaghad District
. It was primarily established as a forest reserve to conserve the Asiatic lion, and was declared a national park in 1974.
The Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary is collectively known as the Gir Protected Area. It is spread over an area of 130,000 hectares. Rough and steep rocky hillside covered with mixed deciduous forests encircle the park. The park is home to over 300 lions. Popular of the other residents here are leopards, chital, nilgai, chinkara, four horned antelope, wild boar and a variety of birds and reptiles. Apart from these, a crocodile rearing farm can be seen in the vicinity.
The best time to visit the park is from December through June and the park is closed during the monsoon seasons.
Nearby airport is at
Keshod, 86 km away. The park can be approached by both road and rail, and Sasan Gir Railway Station is only a few blocks from the park. At a distance of 42 km is the nearest town, Veraval. The forest department operates two lodges, the Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge and the Gir Lodge, while some private lodges also exist.
All visitors to Gir are required to obtain entry permits from the Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge Office. The permits cost Rs 15 for the first day, and Rs 7.50 for every subsequent day. Extra charges are levied for cameras. A jeep ride will cost about Rs 100 per person and Photograhic camera fees is Rs 50 for Indians and $5 for foreigners. Guide charges are, respectively, Rs 50 or $10.
Vehicles are available for hire and are easily the best way to see wildlife in the park. Some of the most popular routes for a drive are the Sasan-Kamaleshwar Dam, the Sasan-Kankai, the Sasan-Chodavdi and the Sasan-Tulsishyam routes.