2 days short trip to Sasan Gir

jigarshah

Member
Hello All BCMTians

Disclaimer: This is my first attempt to write any travelogue so please excuse me for any mistakes……

Introduction:

This is Jigar Shah, from a small industrial town called “Bharuch” in the state of Gujarat. I am a 9 to 5.30 person by profession and love traveling, exploring new places, photography and dreaming of traveling only almost every day of my life.

You all BCMTians have contributed in making my dream of traveling in reality to much extent. You guys have also inspired me to start learning photography since last 2-3 years.

I have traveled many places of western, northern and southern part of India and journey is continue as and when I get time. My major traveled destinations include, Ladakh (2 times), Jammu and Kashmir, Multiple trip to Himachal Pradesh except Spiti, Some part of Uttaranchal, Kerala, Goa etc…etc….

Prologue:

It was quite some time when we last traveled to Goa in Oct-19, So a travel break was much needed, may be of shorter period. We started thinking in Jan-20 of going to somewhere during long weekend coming on 21 Feb to 23 Feb for 3 days. Due to limited days in hand, traveling to any long distance (snow location) was not possible from Gujarat. Also wanted to do self-driven road trip and started getting suggestions for below nearby destination which can be traveled by driving 8-10 hours.

  1. Mahabaleshwar - Travelled 2 times earlier - Rejected
  2. Lonavala - Travelled this monsoon - Rejected
  3. Udaipur - Travelled in May - Rejected
  4. Saputara - Travelled 3 times earlier - Rejected
  5. White Ran of Kutch - Need more days - Rejected
  6. Leopard sighting tour @ Jawai & Bera - New destination - Under consideration
  7. Sasan Gir - Travelled 2 times - Under consideration
After much thinking, 2 locations were short listed 1. Leopard safari tour @ Jawai and Bera in Rajasthan and Sasan Gir safari tour @ Junagadh, Gujarat which we have already travelled 2 times earlier. I was not sure about going to Jawai & Bera since it is a new destination and not found much detail on Google or on BCM too. Discussed with safari tour operator and hotel at Jawai & Bera and learned that leopard sighting is almost guaranteed at Jawai & Bera but from a longer distance.

My brother in law was asking to go Sasan Gir again since few months in this winter but not for his interest of Jungle Safari but his main area of interest was the FOOD (Authentic Kathiyawadi) which is served at the Farm House where we have stayed earlier for 2 times. To maintain peace at home, you cannot deny to your in laws request, hence without having any second thought the place was finalized as Sasan Gir, Gujarat. Immediately I checked the advance safari booking website GSLCS :: Gir Online Permit Booking System for availability of safaris during our dates and luckily it was available for our dates.

Total 7 persons finalized for our trip, Me, my wife, 2 kids, brother in law, sister in law and her fiancé. Booked 2 Gir Jungle trail permits for 22/02/2019 afternoon and 23/02/2019 morning. Also booked accommodation at New Nesh farmhouse at Bhojde Village near Sasan Gir for 2 nights.

Some Information on Sasan Gir

Gir National Park is located at a distance of appx appx 60 kms from Junagadh district in Gujarat. It is the only National park in India where we can find Asiatic Lions. It is the only place other than Africa where Lions exist. It has a total area of 1400 square kms. As informed by our guide appx 600+ lions and 700+ leopards are resident the Gir in total 6 districts of Gujarat which is a part of National park and wildlife sanctuary. Jungle Safaris are available at only Sasan Gir in Junagadh district which can be booked online on their official website GSLCS :: Gir Online Permit Booking System. Park is closed for Safaris during monsoon from 16th June to 15 Oct every year. Safaris are available for 3 times in a day in compare to 2 times for most of the other wildlife sanctuaries of India.

Safari Time-Table

SeasonDaysMorning Evening
WinterMonday To Sunday6:45 AM to 9:45 AM3 PM to 6 PM
(16th October To 28th/29th February)
SummerMonday To Sunday6:00 AM to 9:00 AM4 PM to 7 PM
(1st March To 15th June)
Winter/SummerMonday To Sunday8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
-​

Safari Permit charges
DaysParticularsIndian Foreigner
Normal DayUp To 6 persons8005600
Normal DayExtra Child1001400
Saturday-Sunday/Up To 6 persons10007000
Festival Days
Saturday-Sunday/Extra Child1251750
Festival Days
Note: In one E-permit maximum 6 (+1*) persons will be allowed.
* Only 1 child between 3 to 12 years will be allowed.
* The permit doesn't include the Guide charge (Rs. 400 only) and Gypsy charge (Rs. 1700 only), which must be paid separately to respective Guides and Gypsy vehicle owners.

Forest department has also developed an interpretation zone at Devaliya which is appx 12 kms from Sasan Gir. The basic aim of creating this facility is to provide an opportunity to view lions and other animals in their natural habitat within a short period and reduce tourist pressure on the sanctuary. It is a fenced open area of Jungle. Both Bus and Gypsy are available at Devaliya park for tourist. One can get confirmed sighting of Lion and other animals during the safari at Devaliya. Devaliya safari can also be booked at https://girlion.gujarat.gov.in/. As per my knowledge, Devaliya is a year-round safari except all Wednesdays.

To get the proper feeling of Jungle, Devaliya safari is not advisable and wildlife enthu should opt Gir Jungle trail only.

Contact details of Guide

Mr Akram - 8000229991

Mr Bhavesh - 9909653269

Anyone can contact them to get an idea about current lion sighting possibility during their safari date, safari timing etc before safari permit booking.

There are various stay options available at Sasan Gir from Budget to Luxury hotels, resorts, Farmhouse etc….

We have stayed 3 times at New Nesh Farmhouse @ Bhojde Village near Sasan Gir. Bhojde is appx 7-8 kms from Safari starting point. There are many farmhouses available at Bhojde village. Village is adjacent to Gir Sanctuary and one can hear roar of Lions during night from their farmhouse. Most of the farmhouses gives same facilities like, good AC rooms with attached bath, tents, swimming pool, Pure delicious Kathiyawadi food etc…

New Nesh farmhouse is covered with Mango and coconut trees. If you are travelling during May, you will get to eat lot of famous Kesar Mango at farmhouse only. They serve as many mangoes as you want during the stay with no extra cost. They also grow most of the vegetables at their farm only. We love the place due to authentic Kathiyawadi food prepared by their family members. They charge Rs 1500 / day for an adult which includes all. This may vary as per the tourist season.

However, you will get almost same treatment and facility at other farmhouses as well which is given at New Nesh Farmhouse. We have yet not tried any other farmhouse/hotel except this one.

Contact details of New Nesh farmhouse (Mama ni wadi)

Mr Devsinh Bhai - 9898169691.

This was a brief info on our plan, place and safari. This may be available in BCM site however might be useful to any fellow travelers….

Now starting the day wise details with a teaser as per BCM tradition.

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Thanks.... will submit next part at the earliest....
 

earthian

Wanderer
Great start Jigar. Look forward to reading more. The lion portrait is fabulous.

I have been to jawai area twice. recently i went on 18th February and stayed two days at Jawai Dam resort. earlier i had stayed at Bera.
Yes, leopards are sighted but from quite a distance and as it gets hotter, they will venture only after dusk or early mornings. Advisable to go during winter.
 

jigarshah

Member
Day 1 – 21/02/2020 - Bharuch to Sasan Gir (Bhojde)

Route


Bharuch=>Vadodara(80)=>Anand(45)=>Nadiad(20)=>Dholka(48)=>Bagodara(28)=> Limdi(42)=>Chotila(66)=>Rajkot(43)=>Gondal(38)=>Virpur(18)=>Junagadh(46) => Mendarda(25)=>Sasan(28)=> Bhojde(7), TOTAL – 534 kms

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We planned to get on the roads at 5 AM but as usual when you are travelling with family and kids, you have to keep a margin of 1-2 hours. We could start journey @ 6.30 AM from Bharuch. We have to pick up my sister in law’s fiancé from Vadodara and after picking him again we were on highways at around 8.00 AM. We continued driving for next 2 hours and had tea & breakfast halt near Bagodara Chokdi. I forgot the name of the place where we had pure gujju style breakfast like, Fafda, Gathiya, jalebi, chatni etc….etc….. Items were hot & freshly prepared in front of us. All the items had delicious authentic Gujarati taste.

There are two routes from Bagodara for going to Sasan. 1st is to take left turn after few Kms and go towards road via Amreli which is 25-30 kms shorter route and 2nd is to go straight via Rajkot & Junagadh. Road condition of 2nd route is far better, so we taken route no 2. We started again @ 11.00 AM from Bagodara crossed Rajkot at 1.30 PM.

Kids were really hungry, so we taken lunch halt between Rajkot and Gondal @ hotel Adingo. Food was OK type. We had Paneer Tikka, Cheese Butter masala, Naan etc. You may find many other options too nearby location. We reached Junagadh at around 4.30 PM. Encountered little traffic due to Maha Shivratri Mela which is one of the major attractions of Junagadh. Every year it is held for 5 days during Shivratri at “Bhavnath Temple” of Junagadh. Hundreds of ‘NAGA Sadhus’ and locals attends this Grand Mela. ‘Naga Sadhus’ take holy bath in the Kund at temple and after that they get disappeared into the Girnar and its Jungle for one year.

From Junagadh, Bhojde is appx 60 kms. This time we found road somewhat in better condition though it is double lane only. You can feel the starting of Jungle after few kms from Junagadh only. Many times, people witness lion sighting on main roads after crossing Mendarda village during night hours. We reached to Bhojde at around 5.45 PM and Devsinh Bhai (Farmhouse owner) was waiting for us at Village chowk to take us to the Farmhouse. Though it was our third visit to same farmhouse, we were not sure of finding the farmhouse from village. You will have total off roading experience for 3-4 kms to reach the farmhouse.

Much needed hot tea was ready and served immediately on reaching at Farmhouse. We settled in our rooms and had hot shower to get freshened up after long journey. Meanwhile their staff kept campfire ready, surrounded by 4 “Desi Khats with pillows” to sit and relax after sunset. You can have amazing views of sunset from the farmhouse itself. Taken some sunset photos and relaxed for more than one hour in open farm. At 8.30 PM dinner of our choice was ready and filled us with amazing Kathiyawadi food at their dinging area. Menu for the dinner:
  • Atta Roti
  • Bajra ki Roti (Rotlo in Gujarati)
  • Sev Tomato Veg
  • Bengan Bhartha
  • Dahi Tikhari – Must try dish when you are in Saurashtra
  • Khichdi
  • Chash - Buttermilk
  • Gud
  • Ghee
  • White Makhan (Butter)
  • 2 type of Chatni
  • 3 type of Salads
  • Papad
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After filling dinner, we had to take a walk for some time to get the food digested. Staff started campfire and we relaxed on desi khats for a very long time. Being new moon night and very less light pollution, we could see many stars in the sky. I had my plan to try on star photography, so I kept my tripod setting done and tried to click few shots. Don’t know how they are actually captured. Would like to hear from experts, I know these are not properly taken since I was struggling in focusing the shot. Suggestions for improvements are most welcome.

Everyone went for sleep till 11.00 PM and I was busy in trying to get at least few good shots of stars. Till 12.30 hrs I tried clicking pics and soon after I settled in room for sound sleep since I wanted to get up early for some birds’ photographs which is a delight to watch and hear birds sound in early morning.

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Few Clicks of Farmhouse. These are of earlier trips.

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Next Part of the trip with photos will update soon.
 

jigarshah

Member
Great start Jigar. Look forward to reading more. The lion portrait is fabulous.

I have been to jawai area twice. recently i went on 18th February and stayed two days at Jawai Dam resort. earlier i had stayed at Bera.
Yes, leopards are sighted but from quite a distance and as it gets hotter, they will venture only after dusk or early mornings. Advisable to go during winter.
Thanks
Will try to visit in next winter....
 

@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
I forgot the name of the place where we had pure gujju style breakfast like, Fafda, Gathiya, jalebi, chatni etc….etc….. Items were hot & freshly prepared in front of us.
That Would be Tulshi Hotel or Amber Hotel, Tulshi is in the Corner of Bhavnagar Junction and my gut says it could be Tulshi.
 

jigarshah

Member
Day 2 – 22/02/2020 – Sasan Gir Safari

While everyone was enjoying their holidays by sleeping, I wake up at 6.00 AM. When I travel, I feel refreshed after getting only 4-5 hours of sound sleep. It was so lovely cool morning. It is a treat for you to hear sweet sounds of birds when you step out of your room. You can see birds flying and hear musical sounds of various Birds which are habitat of Sasan Gir.

By 6.30, I was ready for a morning walk and try to take as many photographs of Birds. It is always a pleasure to walk in middle of Jungle so early. You can spot some animals like Jackal, deer etc.. during morning walk itself.

Tried to capture few photos.

Brahminy Starling
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Common Lora




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Jungle Babler



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Egret

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Oriental white eye


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Plum headed Parakeet


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Great Tit



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Green Backed tit


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Indian Peafowl

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Indian Robin

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Oriental Magpie Robin


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Indian Squirrel

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Also saw this but dont know the name.


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Purple Sunbird


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Red Wattled Lapwing


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Red Vented Bulbul

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Rose Ringed Parakeet


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White spotted fantail

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Continue
 

jigarshah

Member
Day 2 Continue

I returned at 9.00 AM to farm house, by the time tea and breakfast was ready to serve in dining area. Breakfast was served with items like, Poha with Lemon and Sev, Aloo Paratha, curd, white Makhan, Fried Mirchi, 2 chutneys etc with Tea, coffee and Milk. After hefty breakfast, we all rested on Khat under the mango tree for 1 hour while kids was enjoying Jhula, slides etc…etc….

It was cold due to Feb but everyone wanted to enjoy a bath in swimming pool. Water was so cold which resisted me to jump into the water. On seeing everyone enjoying water including my kids, I wished to step in pool and found it was really very cold water for me.

After an hour of pool bath everyone was ready for posing by 12.30 hrs.

That's Me and My wife

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New couple posing


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Brother in Law


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Kids Posing



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Swag

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Model


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Candid



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Mama-Bhanja having peaceful time

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Kabab me Haddi

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Continue...
 

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jigarshah

Member
There is one small Shiva temple in the middle of Jungle in Bhojde village where we go during our every visit. It is only 5-6 kms away from the farmhouse. At 13.00 hrs we went to the Temple and returned by 13.30. Lunch was also ready by that time. Immediately, we had very nice kathiyawadi lunch with a good spread of meal since we had to reach safari ticket window by 14.30.

After reaching there, one of us stood in the que, it was not so long. I heard from the crowd there that today lion sighted in route no 6. There are appx 12-13 routes and 2 gates of safari which all are interconnected. Forest department trekkers are available in all the routes and they can pass the information of current sighting so that tourist can get opportunity to see the King.

Luckily we got route no 6 for our safari where chances of sighting were more. Forest department has made Sasan as plastic free zone hence you cannot take any eatable and plastic water bottles with you. You have to purchase water from their counter itself (Rs 10 per bottle) and return the bottle after completion of safari.

We roam in the jungle for appx 1.5 hrs but we could not spot any Lions. Suddenly we got message from a passing Jeep there is a Lioness sighting nearby and our driver immediately went to the suggested route and luckily we could spot 2 big cats during this safari one lion and one lioness.

Lioness was sitting quietly watching crowd passing nearby to her but did not show any reaction to the crowd whereas at some distance one lion was sleeping like a king, he was not even bother to take his face up for posing. We waited for few minutes for any movement of Lion but it was in vain and our guide informed that we have to leave the place soon to get out of the safari area before 6.30 PM otherwise forest dept takes punitive action against driver and guide if they don’t follow the timing.

Few pics during our afternoon safari.

Entry Gate

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Black Redstart

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Grey Francolin


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Indian stone Curlew





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End of day 2..

Last part to be updated soon.....
 

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