Gir gets closer to Ahmedabad
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
AHMEDABAD: Gir has just got closer to Ahmedabad. This time, it is not the lions straying further eastwards, but the Central government approving a second entry for Gir forest from the Amreli side.
This will create a whole new tourist circuit which will include Gir, Tulsishyam and Diu for the Amdavadi and south Gujarat backpackers. So far, the entry into Gir was from Sasan in Junagadh district. The second entry point will be from Ambardi in Amreli district.
Officials said this area would be developed on the lines of Devalia interpretation zone for Asiatic lions. This will make it easier for a tourist who wanted to do Gir and Diu in a single trip, packing in a lion safari, a pilgrimage and a beer on the beach. Till now, travellers were forced to take a longer route from Junagadh, Sasan, Kodinar to Diu which was over 500 kms from Ahmedabad. But after the Ambardi entry, one could head directly for Amreli and from there to Kodinar via Tulsishyam and to Diu, saving around 100 kms.
The Central government has also announced a package of Rs five crore for the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) and Gujarat state forest department to set up another Asiatic Lion Safari in Ambardi area of Amreli district which already has the permission of Central Zoo Authority of India. This will develop eco-tourism in Amreli district, which borders on the east of Gir forest. The second entry is located three km away from Dhari on Amreli Road, which is 60 km from Diu.
State tourism minister Jay Narayan Vyas said, "This would shorten the route for those wanting to see lions before heading for Diu. We chose this because it is near Khodiyar dam, so there is a water source and there are some 150 lions here so the chances of sighting are high." He added that permission to launch a second safari was pending with the Supreme Court.