Lions block Girnar Parikrama path for 2 hours
Times of India
Junagadh: Unusual participants — three lions and three lionesses — joined the party of several thousand Parikrama walkers at Mount Girnar on Sunday at 8.30 pm. The royal brigade, who sat nonchalantly on the path, 10 km of Junagadh, in Jambudi — a dense forest range, made many a pilgrim skip their heartbeats.
The sighting of a big cat in the pathway of pilgrims, was in fact the second incident of its kind in the past 24 hours. On Friday evening, at 9 pm, a lioness had blocked the way near Jeena Bava Ni Madhi for over an hour.
Walkers breathed a sigh of relief only after two hours of operation by the forest department officials, who rushed to the spot and drove away the lion. Led by two assistant conservators of forests, PS Babariya and VT Chorsariya, the team chased the lions back into the deep jungles by flashing high-intensity lights at them.
The area was first cleared off and pilgrims were asked to empty the place. At first, foresters created a blockade by parking large vehicles and then beamed the search lights, till the lions went about 5 km into the forest.
Interestingly though, it was not the lions who had overstepped human lines this time. This is a forest area and the lions live in the area. ACF Babariya said, "Lions have a habit of walking on these pathways made in the forest and it was not that they had lost way when they crossed paths with pilgrims." A constant vigil for five days till the Parikrama gets over will have to be kept, he added.
Official figures suggest 4 lakh pilgrims have already started their Parikrama on Sunday and heavy inflow of people is likely to continue for another four days.