The main aim for this short trip was to spot the last remaining Asiatic Lions at the Gir forest.
Travel Dates: 26 Nov 2012 – 02 Dec 2012 (Monday to Sunday)
Little Rann of Kutch
Gir National Park
New Delhi – Ahmedabad = Rajdhani Express (12958)
Ahmedabad – New Delhi = Rajdhani Express (12957)
Ahmedabad – Little Rann of Kutch = Taxi
Little Rann of Kutch – Ahmedabad = Taxi
Ahmedabad – Gir = Sleeper Bus (http://pateltoursandtravels.com/)
Gir – Ahmedabad = Bus
Gir National Park
1. Gir Jungle Safari can be booked online at http://www.girlion.in/ or the resort may book the same for you.
2. There are 8 designated forest routes inside the Gir National Park. All routes are good and sighting is generally easy. However, guides know where the big prides will be at a given time, hence it is advisable to consult the guide and get the best route. (Routes are interchangeable at the entry gate)
Little Rann of Kutch
3. Plan your visit around a full moon night. The Rann of Kutch looks incredible on a full moon night
4. Take a sunscreen along with you as the sun is very harsh during the day.
Gir National Park: There has been a steady increase in the Lion population in the last 10 years. However, we feel that this isolated population of lions is at a grave risk of being prone to diseases due to the low genetic diversity and any natural calamity has the potential to wipe out the asiatic race.
Little Rann of Kutch: The Asiatic Wild Ass Sanctuary is under constant assault by human activities. Agriculture is making inroads inside the sanctuary and industries are being set up on the periphery.
26 Nov 2012 : Day 0
Our Gujarat adventure began on an exciting note. Even after keeping a safety margin for reaching the New Delhi Railway station on time, Delhi’s traffic and a few roadblocks ensured that we reached just five minutes before the train’s departure.
And it was all running after that, maybe our marathon training kicked in as we ran across the dozen of platforms; finally managing to hop on to the train just in time.
The moment we got on the train, we knew that we were in Gujarat already. We quickly became a part of the Gujarati family that was sharing the cabin and that ensured a healthy supply of thepla’s all along the evening. The thepla’s were sufficient for us to give a miss to the train food.
This is the best part about traveling by train. It gives you an opportunity to be a part of the various cultures that call India their home. On top of that an overnight journey saves a day.
27 Nov 2012 : Day 1
The next morning we reached Ahmedabad on time and a pre-arranged taxi drove us to the “Desert Coursers”, on the edge of the Little Rann of Kutch (Zainabad). We reached Desert Coursers by noon and enjoyed a simple but delicious gujarati lunch at the property.
After Lunch and a quick rest, we went on our first excursion into the Little Rann. The moment we entered the Little Rann, we were greeted by a large herd of Asiatic Wild Ass. During the course of the evening, we also encountered a lone Indian Fox, a few Neelgai’s and a wild boar family.
To end the day, we had dinner in the middle of the Little Rann with the full moon illuminating the entire landscape.
28 Nov 2012 : Day 2
Next morning, we went to the nearby marshland to check out the winter migrants. It was a magical experience; sun emerging from the horizon, swallows zigzagging the sky feeding on insects and the waterbody brimming with flamingoes and Pelicans.
We spend the entire morning birding at the marsh and the surrounding fields, returning to the Desert Coursers only by lunch time where we were lucky to spot a Pallid Scops Owl.
Post lunch, we left for Ahmedabad by taxi. We took a longer route to check out the Sun Temple at Modhera and Rani ki vav (Step well) at Patan along with the Patan Patola Heritage Museum.
While the Sun temple and the Rani ki vav are examples of the beautiful Hindu architecture, the Paton Patola Sarees are world famous. This is a nice little side trip and fully worthwhile.
We reached Ahmedabad by evening and spend a few hours window shopping before boarding the overnight bus to Junagadh.
29 Nov 2012 – 30 Nov 2012 : Day 3 – 4
We reached Junagadh by five in the morning and took a local taxi to the Gir National Park. Our accommodation and Safari booking was taken care by Asian Adventures (http://www.asianadventures.net/). The next two days were spent birding and wildlife spotting.
01 Dec 2012 : Day 5
We left Gir National Park on 1st Dec early morning for Junagadh by a taxi and from Junagadh took a bus to Ahmedabad.
From Ahmedabad, we boarded the Rajdhani Express in the evening reaching Delhi on 02 Dec morning.
For a list of birds and mammals spotted during this trip, please check out our birdlist and mammal list.
Please feel free to ask us any question that you may have on the locations mentioned on this blog.