The last refuge of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is this forested, hilly, 1412-sq-km national park, where visitors may go lion-spotting between mid-October and mid-June (December to April is best). Taking a safari through the dry teak woodlands interspersed with tawny grasslands is a joy – even without the added excitement of searching for big cats, deer and myriad bird species.
Access to the park is only by safari permit, which has to be booked online in advance. Tickets cannot be bought at the park. If you miss out on a permit, your other option for lion encounters is at Devalia Safari Park, a fenced-off part of the park where sightings are guaranteed but very stage managed.
The gateway to Gir National Park is Sasan Gir village, on a minor road and railway between Veraval and Junagadh (about 40km from each).