Leaving the fort city Junagad behind
at threeish, we left towards the GIR National Park - only Home for Asiatic Lions. The road towards GIR was good with different shades of green farms of wheat and coriander/parsley. Saasan village looked to me more developed as compared to Tala village from where we have entry for Bandhavgarh National Park. It was 7 pm by when we reached GIR. First thing to do was to attend the Light and sound show offered free by forest department at 7 pm.
Government Forest Lodge is recently renovated and so in good shape. It has all range of stay available. They also have tents available. Next day we got up early and were at the gates by 6:00 am. There were not many visitors as compared to Bandhavgarh and Kahna National Park. The person who took bookings for private Jepsy steped in at the desk nearby the counter. We booked the jepsy and got the forms from him to be submited to entry counters. The counters opened at 6:30 am at its scheduled time. Hotel oweners slipped their forms before ours eventhough we arrived before them at the counter. We paid in the entry
fee for park which were Rs 500 at counter. A jepsy was alloted to us for whom we had paid seperatly paid 700 to the jepsy owner. Guide and safari route was also alloted to us. We got route 2 and 6 apperently which seemed to lucky for us.
We started our 45 km safari in the 6 sitter open jepsy. As it started cold air of early morning made us shiver and heat of excitment to see lions kept us warm. By the time we were at the official internal gate-2 of park it was proper morning. As we entered all eyes started searching for lions. Spotted dears and Sambar were visible in ample but we kept the speed of our jepsy fast as we wanted to spot lions.
And then we reached on cross where there was pugmark of lion. We went ahead and reached the most awaited moment. The beast were in front of us.. Bunch of 5 lions were passing through right side of road. One lion was sitting in middle of the road. But wait a minute.. Whats this.. 2-3 people were standing nearby on the road with forest officers 4-wheeler
parked nearby. The forest officers were following the lions and were just monitoring their behaviour.
The lions at GIR seemed to have adapted to humanly enviorment and presence. The forest had villages of maaldhaari (local tribes) who stays in forest and does business of selling milk. We even saw some truckes passing through safari route.
The day was quite brighter now and we were feeling warmth in air now. Although some area which were behind the hills and bit lower were still very cold. We thought that there would be lions in these cold area but guide told us that there is no formula for capturing lions.
Having quenched the thirst to see Lions we came out of safari and left for Diu. We were not interested in visiting GIR Interpretation zone - Devaliya. The road from GIR to Una had lots of Kesar mango farms. As we reached Una, trees of different kind called HOKA welcomed us. Its like palm trees with branches to it. We entered DIU teritorry and landscape changed its view. Roads were clean and houses were freshly colored. There were hotels banners on each and every corner.
We reached the DIU fort and saw the Old Jail within the ocean. The fort has cannons of portugese era. The fort had underground gateways allwhere to escape during attack. It also had facility to bring the ships within the fort directly from the ocean.
We next headed to Nagoa beach, where we had first bite of HOKA fruit. Guide at diu fort told us that portugese people brought HOKA trees in Diu as it was considered to be a good anti-asthama medicine. We also came to know that even after India acheived freedom DIU was a seperate country and residents needed passport to enter india. We saw Gangeshwar cave-like temple. It seemed to be present in rocks beside sea. The tides of sea offers abhishekh to 5 shivlinga peresent there.INS Kukri Memorial, artificial Zampa waterfall , Niada caves, churches and museum where other places of interest.
Next we caught the way going towards Somnath Jyotirling.
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