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10 Best Places to Visit in Gir, Gujarat to Add on Your Itinerary

Gir in Gujarat needs no introduction. It is the only place in Asia where the Asiatic lions can be seen in their natural habitats besides Africa. Over the years, Gir has become an important name in wildlife conservations and a favoured forest safari destination for both domestic and international tourists. However, the intention of writing this piece of the blog is to let people know that Gir is not only about the national park, safari trips, spotting the big cats and taking photographs of them.

Gir is also home to some revered temples, hills, museums, forts, beaches and other structures where you can explore the uniqueness of history, culture and traditions of the past rulers of the country. There are also glowing water bodies where you can spend time peacefully with your family and watch the sunset at the end of the day. There are also some hidden gems – most people have not even heard about them. Moreover, there are some natural places in Gir which have their mentions in the world’s oldest texts.

However, not to make it a lengthy introduction, if you want to know about all these interesting places that you should visit in Gir, Gujarat, have a read!

List of Best Tourist Places in & around Gir, Gujarat

Name of The Places Why Do You Visit?
Gir National Park To spot Asiatic lions and other rare species
Kamleshwar Dam To spot mugger crocodiles and birds
Kankai Mata Temple For nature walks and seek blessings from Shri Kankai Mataji
Somnath Temple To seek blessings from Lord Shiva
Girnar Hill For Hiking and seek blessings from Hindu and Jain temples
Durbar Hall Museum To learn about the previous Nawabs of Junagadh
Uparkot Fort To explore the history of Junagarh
Tulsi Shyam Mandir To seek blessings from Lord Vishnu and take a dip in the natural hot springs
Madhavpur Beach For walking along the beach and spending relaxing time with family
Mahabat Maqbara Complex To explore different styles of architecture at one place

Popular Gujarat Tour Packages

Gir National Park: Only Home to Asiatic Lions in Asia

Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the top tourist places in Gir Gujarat, Gir National Park is the only home to Asiatic Lions in Asia. Also known as Sasan Gir, the place is a part of the dry deciduous ecoregion of Katihar-Gir forests and spreads across an area of around 1,410 square kilometres including Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. Besides Africa, it is the only place where the Asiatic lions can be spotted in their natural habitats due to its unique landscapes including hills, rivers, sharp ridges and plateaus. The place is not only famous for the species but for the efforts also taken by the central and state governments and people living here. The prevention taken by them for the species from getting extinct resulted in the reports of the population observation exercise conducted in 2020, where the data shows around a 29% rise in the population of the Asiatic lions. Now, according to the 2020 report, the number of the species is 674.

Apart from the Asiatic lions, Gir National Park houses 2,375 fauna including the Indian leopard, Bengal fox, Asiatic wildcat, mugger crocodile and many more. Moreover, more than 400 flora species are found here.

Special Notes: The best thing to do in Gir National Park undoubtedly is experiencing a lion safari, specifically at the Gir Interpretation Zone. Another top attraction here is to watch the crocodiles closely at the breeding centre. You can also attend the folk-dance festival in Gir National Park after Holi. The park remains closed every year from mid-June to mid-October for monsoon.

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Kamleshwar Dam: A Sight to Behold

Kamleshwar Dam Inside Gir Forest

Kamleshwar Dam, officially known as ‘Hiran-I Dam’ is one of the best places to visit in Gir National Park. Located inside the national park, made on the Hiran River (one of the seven rivers flowing inside Sasan Gir National Park: Hiran, Dhatarvadi, Shetrunji, Shingoda, Machhundri, Raval and Ambajal). Kamleshwar Dam is considered a prominent source of water in the park and it is referred to as ‘the lifeline of Gir.’ Established for irrigation purposes in 1959, the dam measures 7,640,000 square metres. It is now one of the top places to visit in Gir with your family to spend quality time. The glittering waterbody during the time of sunset makes a sight to behold.

Special Notes: The best time to visit this dam is during the monsoon when it gets filled up with water. Moreover, the best thing to do here is birdwatching and spotting mugger crocodiles.

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Kankai Mata Temple: A Revered Temple inside Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

Kankai Mata Temple Gir

Kankai Mata Temple, one of the best places to visit in Sasan Gir is a revered temple located inside the wildlife sanctuary. Located around 25 kilometres from Sasan Gir, Kankai Mata Temple is dedicated to Shri Kankeshwari Mataji, who is also known as Shri Kankai Mataji. The Goddess is popular among the people living in surrounding areas of Gir Forest as well as in the whole state for being the protector of the shepherds roaming here. Moreover, the temple is considered a great retreat for those who enjoy nature and its elements. Kankai Mata Temple is the only temple in the area of the forest and from here you can listen to the cry of the lions who gather near the lake here.

Special Notes: Kankai Temple Safari is the best thing to do here. The timing is between 6:30 AM to 12 noon. Pre-booking is required for the safari. Spending night here is not permissible. In addition to this, only 50 people are allowed to enter the temple at a time.

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Somnath Temple: A Pilgrimage for Hindus

Somnath Temple Gujarat

Somnath Temple, located in Prabhas Patan, Veraval, is undeniably one of the best places to explore near Gir National Park, as it is located at a distance of only around 40 kilometres from the national park. Somnath Temple, the famous Hindu pilgrimage, which is also known as Deo Patan is considered to be the first jyotirlinga shrine of Shiva among the twelve. Moreover, it is one of the most revered religious sites on the seacoast of India along with the adjacent Hindu pilgrimage sites such as Dwarka in Gujarat, Puri in Odisha, Rameshwaram and Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.

As per historical evidence, the name of the temple has been mentioned in chapter 13 of the Shiva Purana, the oldest text, which strongly validates its roots belonging to the timeframe between the early centuries of the 1st millennium to about the 9th century CE. However, due to the repeated destruction by several invaders, the original temple became ruins and under the orders of India’s first Home Minister, Vallabhbhai Patel, the new temple was built in May 1951. It is one of the top tourist places in Gir Somnath, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and witnesses a large footfall every year.

Special Notes: The best time to visit the temple is from November to February. Apart from Somnath Temple, there are several other temples to visit. Moreover, Shivratri and Kartik Poornima are celebrated here in a grand manner.

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Girnar Hill: The Sacred Hill That Existed More Than Mohen-jo-Daro Period

Girnar Hill

Girnar, a historic hill in Junagadh, perched at 3,672 feet height, is covered with 866 Hindu and Jain temples that are dispersed throughout its peak. One must ascend 9,999 steps to reach the top to see the mesmerising surrounding views. According to legends, Girnar Hill is a sacred site for Hindu worshipers. The most revered place for Hindus is Dattatreya Paduka, an ancient shrine situated on the 9,999th step of Girnar Hill. Other Hindu temples worth visiting here are the Gorakhnath Temple and the Amba Mata Temple. Girnar Hill, which is one of the best places to explore near Gir is also famous among Jains and they refer to it as Mount Neminath. The popular Jain temple in Girnar is Tirthankara Neminath Temple, which is dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankar, Neminath. The other Jain temples to visit here are Mallinath Temple, Bhagwan Rishabh Dev Temple and Parshwanath Temple.

Special Notes: The best time to visit Girnar Hill is during Maha Shivratri Festival, which is held in February or March. Moreover, the place is popular among adventure junkies as there are several opportunities for hiking and trekking. There is also Girnar Ropeway, Asia’s longest ropeway, a 10-minutes ride that connects the base and Ambika Temple. The other top tourist destinations here are Damodar Kund, a sacred lake and Ashoka Edicts, located outside the town of Junagarh.

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Durbar Hall Museum: The City Palace in Uparkot

Durbar Hall Museum Junagadh

One of the must-visit places, Durbar Hall Museum is one of the finest museums of Gujarat, located in Junagarh. A former palace, also known as the City Palace in Uparkot, is a prominent building, which can be spotted from afar for its well-maintained polished exterior. The place is named after the Gujarati word ‘Durbar’ which means court in English.

The museum houses a rich collection of paintings, costumes, silver articles, tapestries and thrones. The must-see attraction of the museum is the carpet, as per history, which was woven in the Jail of Junagarh.

Additionally, you can look through a variety of paintings from the royal galleries here. The objects in this museum will transport you to a different time and mesmerise you with their incredible illustrations. Through the distinctive antiques, you can get a taste of the aristocratic Nawabi lifestyle in this location. The wall of the huge hall of the museum, which you will first notice while entering, boasts portraits and armour of the previous Nawabs of Junagarh. There are also rooms where you can take a glimpse of the royal textile including the clothes of the Nawabs and their Begums.

Special Notes: Durbar Hall Museum remains open from 9 AM to 1:15 AM and in the afternoon, from 2:45 PM to 5:45 PM. The place remains closed every Wednesday, on public holidays and on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month. Moreover, there is an entry fee and an extra fee to use your camera inside.

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Uparkot Fort: An Intriguing Place for History Buffs

Uparkot Fort Gujarat

One of the best places to visit in Gir for people who love to explore ancient Historical architecture, Uparkot Fort is located in Junagarh, around 73 kilometres from Gir National Park in Gujarat. It is believed to be built by the Mauryan monarch Chandragupta in 319 BC, though it has undergone numerous expansions later.  In several areas of the building, you may observe the remains of various rulers. It is renowned for helping Junagadh withstand the 12-year conquering effort. The fort is also claimed to have withstood 16 sieges over a timeframe of 1,000 years because of its strategic location. Here are some caverns with exquisite pillars and carvings that are thought to date from the first and fourth centuries AD. From the Uparkot Fort, people can see wonderful views of the city and Girnar Hill to the east of the fort. Within its gates are a magnificent former mosque, a collection of centuries-old Buddhist caves, and two lovely step-wells.

Special Notes: The must-visit places in Uparkot Fort are Adi Kadi Vav, a 15th-century stepwell, Navghan Kuvo, another ancient stepwell and Uparkot Caves, the Buddhist caves or monks’ quarters. The fort remains open to the public from 7 AM to 7 PM.

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Tulsi Shyam Mandir: Hot Water Springs or Taptodak

Tulsi Shyam Mandir Gir

According to legend, Lord Shri Krishna killed the demon Tul here, and as a result, the location is known as the Tulsi Shyam Temple bearing the names of both Tul and Krishna as Shyama. It is estimated that this temple is 700 years old. You must ascend 100 inclining steps to get here. Legend says Lord Tulsishyam’s idol in the temple is 3,000 years old. It is crafted from dark stone. One of the top tourism sites in Gir for sightseeing, the temple is located in a small dense forest where you can feel peace and serenity in nature. The highlights of the place are the three hot springs. The first one contains hot water, the second one is hotter and the water in the third spring is boiling. As sulphur is present in the water, it remains hot naturally. In Puranas, this place is referred to as ‘Taptodak’ where hot springs are found and you can take a dip.

Special Notes: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple remains open from 7 AM to 7 PM. One of the must-visit nearby places to Tulsi Shyam Mandir is the Anti-Gravity Hill, where vehicles can be seen from down to up the slope. Anti-Gravity Hill is around 400 metres north to Tulsi Shyam Mandir.

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Madhavpur Beach: Where Lord Krishna Married Rukmini

Madhavpur Beach Gujarat

One of Gujarat’s most beautiful sandy beaches and a famous tourist destination to visit on a sightseeing tour from Gir is undeniably Madhavpur Beach. On Gujarat’s Arabian Sea coast, Madhavpur Beach is a fantastic beach to spend holidays with family amidst the serene nature. Madhav Rao, a remarkable king, after whom the beach is named. According to legend, Lord Krishna married Rukmini in the town of Madhavpur. The ocean here is crystal pure, and the shoreline is lined with coconut trees, which make the beach look stunning. The beach is a must-visit due to its vast shoreline and sparse economic activity.

Special Notes: You can stay near the beach as there are numerous stay options available. One of the nearby places to visit here is Mandavrayji Temple, a 15th-century temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna. Moreover, the best time to visit the beach is from July to March.

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Mahabat Maqbara Complex: Amalgamation of Gothic, Indo-Islamic and European Styles of Architecture

Mahabat Maqbara Complex
One of India’s most aesthetically breathtaking locations is this structure, which is bewitching in its architecture. Extensive carvings on the buildings’ inner and outer façades, lovely arches, French-style windows, columns, and glittering silver doors are the outcome of the project, which took more than ten years to finish. Each minaret of the nearby mosque is ringed by spiralling stairs from top to bottom. Mahabat Maqbara hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as it should have despite the remarkable nature of the complex; it remains a hidden gem although the location is on a busy road. This is the final resting place of Wazir Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai, one of the leading nobles in the court of Nawab Mahabat Khan II of Junagadh.

Special Notes: The structure features a blend of Indo-Islamic, Gothic and European styles of architecture but it can be explored only from the outside. The place has no entry fee and it remains open for 24 hours. But you have to take special permission or the keys to the building for some time from the mosque keeper.

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Hope, you like the details of these above-mentioned 10 best places including some offbeat ones and are ready to add these on your next trip to Gir in Gujarat. For your ease, you can also explore our Gujarat Tourism packages on our website. However, if you are from Gujarat or someone who has already explored these places, kindly share your experience in the comment section. We will be glad to hear your travel stories from Gir, Gujarat.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you visit Gir in Gujarat?

Gir in Gujarat is generally popular for its national park which is the only home to Asiatic lions in Asia. Apart from that, there are famous temples, ancient forts, lakes, museums and many more tourist places for which you must visit Gir once in your life.

Which is the best time to plan a vacation to Gir, Gujarat?

September to February, when the temperature becomes low and the weather becomes pleasant - is the best time to plan a vacation to Gir, Gujarat.

How to reach Gir?

By Air: Keshod Airport and Rajkot Airport are two of the nearest airports to Gir. Keshod Airport is the closest one, which is located at a distance of 38 kilometres from Gir. Both the airports are well-connected with other cities in the country as well as other countries.

By Rail: You can also reach the place by train. There are two nearby railheads at Junagadh and Veraval, which are connected to all major locations in India through rail services.

By Road: Cities in Gujarat boast some of the finest roads in the country. Gir is connected with all the cities in the state as well as the country by road and a road trip to Gir will serve you with one of the best memories of your Gujarat tour.

What are the top things to do in Gir, Gujarat?

The top things to do in Gir, Gujarat are:

  • Forest safari
  • Temple visits
  • Lake visits
  • Exploring forts
  • Museum visits
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Birdwatching
  • Attending Tribal Festivals
  • Nature Walks

What are the best attractions to visit in Gir?

The top sightseeing places to visit in Gir are:

  • Gir National Park
  • Somnath Temple
  • Nalsarovar Lake
  • Girnar Hills
  • Kamleshwar Dam
  • Durbar Hall Museum
  • Uparkot Fort
  • Kankai Mata Temple
  • Tulsi Shyam Mandir
  • Rajkot
  • Madhavpur Beach

Published: 12 Dec, 2022

About the author

Nandini Bhattacharya

From the ‘City of Joy,’ Kolkata, Nandini Bhattacharya is a Travel Writer by profession and traveller by passion. She loves to explore places around the world, new cultures, different cuisines and all new things that one can learn outside the home. She also loves to document her journey so that people can be inspired and travel more. Nandini is a nature lover and talks about sustainable tourism. She wants to make this world a good place where people can live healthy and happily.