Devaliya National Park also referred to as the ‘Gir Interpretation zone’ is an area carved out as a distinct eco-tourism locale allowing tourists to view lions as well as the other rare wild animals of Gir within a short time span and against cheaper charges. Devaliya in other words is a part of Gir National Park and it allows the facility of reserving the population of wild animals within an area segregated with Ha Chain linked fences. This attempt has been made by the eco-tourism department to lessen the tourist pressure on Gir as a whole and to increase the chances for tourists to view the wild animals.
Devaliya National Park is an area carved out of Gir National Park to allow tourists with the exclusive privilege of viewing lions and other wild animals. It falls within Gujarat’s Junagadh district and in vicinity to Sasan Gir village which is only about 12kms away from Devaliya National Park.
One can reach Devaliya National Park by the following routes-
By Air- One could fly to Junagadh airport or Rajkot airport and then take a cab to reach Devaliya National Park.
By Rail- Local trains run frequently between Ahmedabad and Junagadh and Rajkot and Junagadh. So, you could travel to Junagadh by train and then travel by road for about 55kms to reach Devaliya National Park.
By Road- Devaliya National Park is located at 56kms from the Junagadh city and nearly 13kms from the village of Sasan Gir. Buses and cabs to Junagadh or Sasan Gir are available at regular intervals from all major cities of Gujarat. So, you could avail the road route too.
Devaliya National Park remains open for tourists from Monday-Saturday. No safaris or visit are allowed on Sundays. In the morning hours the park services open at 8am and close at 11am while in the evening time the services open at 3pm and close at 5pm.
Permits for Devaliya
To explore Devaliya National Park one has to get a permit first. Permits are generally issued from the tourist reception center. These days however visitors can get their permits online and that saves them from the hassle of waiting in lengthy, serpentine queues for permits. By availing the services of the online Gir Permit booking system, one can book the permits quite in advance and pay easily for them via credit card payment. But it needs to be borne in mind that permits done online are non-refundable in nature.
There are umpteen accommodation options around the Devaliya National Park. Accommodation options range from medium range to budget to luxury hotels and also to the forest lodges administered by forest department. Gir forest lodge and Sinh Sadan forest lodge are the two main forest lodges available in vicinity to Devaliya National Park. Thus, tourists to Devaliya are not required to worry much regarding their accommodation during their park tour.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Devaliya is between months December and March. When the weather is too hot; i.e. around months April and May, it may be difficult for one to travel due to the blazing sun and scorching heat but that is actually the time when one can spot lions quite easily as those royal beasts would come out in the open in search of water.
Devaliya Lion Shows
Lion shows at Devaliya National park are pre-arranged shows organized by the forest department. Lion shows heighten your chances of visualizing the much-awaited ‘big cats’. Spotting a prowling lion needs enough guts and patience on the part of the visitor as lions don’t always come out in the open and one may not be sure when they would. When you are embarking on a safari tour of Gir National Park, there’ll be many restrictions imposed upon you such as restrictions related to specific timings, speed limits, no-horn zones etc. But that is not the case with Devaliya National Park. In the Devaliya area you can free lions anytime and every time during the lion shows!
Entry Fees and other Charges
For visiting the park on weekdays; i.e. Monday-Friday Indians need to pay a fees of INR 150 Per head and foreigners need to pay a fees of INR 2400 per head. If you are planning to visit the park during the weekends; i.e. Saturday and Sunday, then for Indians the fees would be INR 190 per head and for foreigners the fees would be INR 3000 per head. In the festive season too, fees for Indians would be INR 190 per head and for foreigners it would be INR 3000 per head.
The major travel tips you need to follow while traveling to Devaliya are-
- Permits issued per day are limited in number. So, you need to get your permit as soon as the forest reception centre opens in the morning. Delay on your part may make the day go for a waste.
- Also, hiring of jeep should be done when there’s sufficient time left and not in the last moment.
- Adhere to the Park rules and stay away from the unsafe, danger zones.
- Keep your belongings like camera, binoculars etc safely…you yourself are responsible for the safety of your own goods.
- Always carry the necessary documents such as passport, voter ID Card with you in order to save yourself from unwanted delays and harassment.