The drive from Dwarka to Somnath yesterday was filled with scenic views all the way. Today I had marked the day for local Somnath sightseeing and Gir ForestHome to Asiatic Lions.

The Somnath Temple
The Somnath Temple (Source)

The most important place in Somnath is the Jyotirlinga. It is of prime importance as it is considered to be the first amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. What’s interesting is that this legendary temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times by Islamic kings and Hindu kings respectively hence called "the Shrine Eternal". 

The final shape in which it is today was completed in November, 1947. Also this temple marks the place from where there is no land up till the South Pole. Photography is prohibited inside the temple premises.

  Entry Gate to Somnath Town
Entry Gate to Somnath Town
1st Jyotirlinga
Somnath Temple (1st Jyotirlinga in India)

Magnificent Architecture
Magnificent Architecture of Somnath Temple
Main Linga of Somnath
Main Linga of Somnath Temple (Source)

Pillar from where there is no land till South Pole
Pillar from where there is no land till South Pole (Source)

After darshan at Somnath we headed straight towards the Abode of Asiatic Lions – Gir Forest. I had taken the entry permit online beforehand as it is quite difficult to get one during rush season. The point from where the safari starts is roughly around 40-45 kms from Somnath. 

We reached the place in around an hour and were welcomed by a big board saying “Sinh-Sadan“. I quickly got the documents cross-checked and in no time we were off for an exhilarating ride inside the forest in an open Jeep.

Sinh Sadan
Sinh Sadan (Gir National Park)
Entry forest checkpoint
Checkpoint at the entry of the Gir Forest
Road in the woods & our jeep
Starting our journey inside the forest in the Jeep 

Safari in the forest in an open-air jeep is an experience in itself. What to say when you know that the forest is abode of Asiatic Lions! I was over the moon excited as well as anxious to spend my next 2 hours searching the king of the forest. 

As we entered, we were greeted by a herd of deer and a dancing peacock (rare sight especially when it was not cloudy). I had deliberately asked for the Route no. 4 as the lake inside the forest falls on this route (there are different routes of the safari and you might/might not have the option to chose depending on the rush and availability). 

Once we reached the lake it was altogether a different sight. I have never wandered like this in a forest before and driving aside the lake was just an awesome feeling with no one around except us !
I am attaching the images to convey my feelings.

Spotted the spotted deer
Spotted the spotted deer
Peacock with feathers out
Peacock with feathers out

More peacocks drinking water
More peacocks drinking water
Pose,coz you are on camera
Pose,coz you are on camera

As pristine as it can get
Lake inside Gir Forest -As pristine as it can get
Typical Forest scene
Typical Forest scene

The road & the lake
The road and the lake inside Gir National Park
A Rare Sight
A Rare Sight

Moving ahead, I was desperate to spot a lion now as half of the safari was over and we hadn't seen the lion till now. We passed the railway line that go right from the middle of the park. Though it is a meter gauge line but it left me wondering how would it feel to drive a train for the driver through the home of lions and what about the passengers! 

While I was thinking this, the jeep driver stopped suddenly and in a toned down voice said “See, the lion is sleeping”. We actually had to search in the wild where he was pointing as the color of the lion matched with the surroundings. But then we did sight a pair sleeping beneath the tree. I was not able to get a clear shot of the same but somehow managed to get one or two to put here. 

Upon the sighting of lion my wish had come true and I finished the safari with partial sense of fulfillment (not full because couldn’t spot the lion in active walking/running mode). Attaching few images from net to get a feeling how they look when active.

Railway track in middle of the forest
Railway track in middle of the forest
Sleeping lion
Sleeping lion

Another lion alongside
Another lion alongside
Out on a walk
Out on a walk(Source)

About to Roar
About to Roar (Source)

Post finishing the safari, it was almost afternoon time and we were quite tired and hungry. The continuous safari on path full of zig zag twists and turns do take a toll on your body. Plus we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast so we decided to move back to hotel to take some rest and also to refuel ourselves. 

In the evening we went out to visit the place where Lord Krishna left his mortal body and departed to his dham – Bhalka Tirth. It is the very place where Lord Krishna was hit by an arrow shot by a hunter named Jara and he left for the heavenly abode. Currently the temple is not in good condition but the state government is planning to renovate it very soon.

Bhalka Tirth
Bhalka Tirth
Entry to the temple
Entry to the Bhalka Tirth temple

The very tree where Krishna was shot
The very tree where Krishna was hit by an arrow
Lord Krishna @ Bhalka tirth
Lord Krishna idol at Bhalka tirth

With this we finished our day 3 of the Gujarat excursion. The beauty of Somnath temple and the exhilarating drive through the Gir Forest are permanently etched in my mind. But as said “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost” , even more awesome part of the trip was about to come. 

The next 2 days were to be spent in Diu – The Mini Goa , and my excitement level was not dipping at all. Hope yours is not dipping too. We’ll return with the Diu travelogues soon!
Till then Happy Holidaying!

Planning a trip to Gujarat ?? Feel free to get in touch with us with for any help for your trip. 

Phone : +91-9313-777-577 , +91-9312-777-577

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