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Face to face with the King


 

The best place to rendezvous with the King of the jungle - Gir Forest, Junagadh.


Your heartbeat quickens, your pulse races, your eyes dilate, your lips go dry and the adrenaline rush is palpable; you hear a deafening roar and your bones are suddenly brittle. Few encounters can make for a life-altering experience. Such is the experience when you are face to face with the majestic lions at Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.


Welcome to my Kingdom


The Asiatic lion survives today only in the wilderness of Gir and the surrounding forests. The wildlife enthusiast in me wanted to know more about this majestic animal, and my helpful guide shared with me some facts: the Asiatic lion is smaller than its African cousin. It can weigh up to 200 to 250 kgs and also grow to about 8 or 9 feet in length. The best way to sight the lion is in its natural habitat around dusk or dawn.


Growing Royal Family


The Gir Forest National Park is home to about 411 Asiatic lions. And these are among the most endangered cat species in the world. The Indian government has declared the park a protected wildlife sanctuary. We took the morning option on a jeep, and as we were leaving the resort, we saw a few langurs and wild boars. The forest was getting denser and quieter. We also chanced upon some porcupines. The driver then went off the beaten track towards what seemed like a watering hole. He drove towards the clearing, shut off the engine and pointed towards the water. Wading in the water was the most amazing sight we had ever seen, the King of the jungle, with his Queen and two cubs who were enjoying the water. After a while the King himself came out of the water to catch some sun and suddenly there he was – majestic, magnificent, royal, grand - simply captivating. This is a moment we will cherish forever.


Your heartbeat quickens, your pulse races, your eyes dilate, your lips go dry and the adrenaline rush is palpable; you hear a deafening roar and your bones are suddenly brittle.