Gir Forest Reserve

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Gir Forest Reserve Travel Guide

Famed as the only wildlife sanctuary that houses the Asiatic Lion, the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary, is collectively known as the Gir Protected Area.

Gir is situated in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. Gir stretches over 1,412 sq km of scrub and grassland, dry deciduous forest and some marshland. Besides lions, Gir harbours other wildlife such as antelope, deer, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles, and jackals, along with a spectacular array of birds.

An important part of the Gir Protected Area is the 4sqkm spread known as the Gir Interpretation Zone, about 12 km from Sasan Gir Village, the headquarters of the park. The Zone has a cross-section of wildlife within the park, and a visit here almost guarantees a lion sighting, which is otherwise a hit-or-miss affair in other parts of Gir. So travel to Gir Forest Reserve if you want to see a lion.

There are many tribal groups who live around Gir that have chequered antecedents.

Gir is the home of the Maldharis, who are one sect of a pastoral group of people settled in this area. The tribal maldharis of Gir who are Hindus and Muslims live in traditional settlements called nesses and tend Jafrabadi buffalos, Gir cows and other livestock. Among the best-known pastoral groups of Gir is the Sorathi Rabari.

Another community - the Siddis claim African origins. It is generally believed that the Siddis came here as slaves and mercenaries from some African countries. In Gir, there are villages of the Siddis, who are well known for their dances and other performing arts.

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