Monday, 30 April 2012

A day with the LIONS.... ;)

First weekend of April 2012, first weekend of the new financial year and it was the first experience for me to see the King of the Jungle right in front of me.  It was an instantaneous decision to join my 2 friends along with 2 other friends to the trip of GIR the only home to the Asiatic Lions.  I so much wanted to go to the GIR with my orchid friends on the new year eve in 2010, but unfortunately had to fall out of it due to some social engagement that came up that year.... :(  I really wanted to be with them in that trip, but never mind.  I am happy I was on this trip this time.

A night journey in a local train to Veraval and an Ambassador drive from Veraval took us to GIR.  With the help of some guides we got a home stay which after an argument with the owners turned out to be quiet a cheap one.  We got the permit for the evening slot.  All were excited to enter the wild.  The guide that was with us was a very experienced one and he really gave us some valuable info about this magnanimous animal.  GIR is a deciduous forest, almost dry for 9 months and green only during the raining months.  Lions always are found in dry forest as their skin color blends well in the dry forest and it helps them to hide while hunting.  Lions also are very lazy.  In the hot summer that we have here, they just keep lying in the shade of a tree and come out only when they are hungry and are on the hunt.  The guide also told us that once the lion fills its stomach he needs at least 48 to 72 hours to digest its prey.  Now that's pretty long.... ;)

Our safari into the GIR forest was of almost 3 hours and anyhow we had to see one of the most magnanimous animal.  The guide was constantly in touch with the forest rangers who keep tracking the lions for the whole day. One such tracker informed our guide that one male lion is resting right in front of them and immediately the driver turned our jeep towards that location and in just few minutes we were right in 10 m distance of the first lion that we saw.  It was resting and we were there to disturb him.... ;)  Soon our cameras were out and we were clicking it, but we wanted the lion to pose for us.... ;)  So we just pressured  the tracker and he went like super close to the lion to disturb its sleep.  And soon we were looking in the eyes of the Lion.  Wow that was one awesome sight.  Some nice clicks and we started to move in search of some more.... ;)  Almost when our safari was to end we spotted one more young male lion.  The guide told us his name was Raju and we had to believe him.  Again just lying around resting in the bushes and the tracker guided us extremely close to it.  Wow that moment of watching this magnanimous creature was awesome.  How it is like you are just relaxing in the bushes and you see some other creatures taking your pics... ;)  Quickly than we left him to rest and we were on our way back.

While on the safari we had some moments too where our vehicle's type got flat and where we are not suppose to get down from the vehicle, now we had to and got our chance to click some pics of ourselves right in the middle of the very dry forest.  Was fun... :)  In the evening we got a chance to see a documentary on this beautiful creature explaining how their conservation started and how things are now for the King of the Jungle.  Some of the facts about the conservation of Lion's were just unbelievable.  The huge are of approx. 1420 sq. kms is the home of about 410 asiatic lions.  And for them now this huge area has become small.

The Lions have till date managed to survive and grow in numbers along with the local villagers called the Maldhari's.  Its so surprising that humans and lions have co-existed since decades in this area with few conflicts here and there between them.  How human being has learned to co-exist with this fierce some creature makes one think on how we learn to adapt and survive, and not just survive but live for generations.

The Maldhari's

The visit to GIR still wasn't that satisfying as we just saw 2 lions.  Some say summer is not the best time as the lions remain deep in the forest to escape the high temperatures.  So might be worthwhile to visit this place again in winter and try my luck... :)  After all a Leo loves to see the creature that is the symbol of its sun sign.... ;)  

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