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Commonly called as Chanchai-Pania, the sanctuary has been an integral part of the popular Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. This forest patch has arid conditions without any natural source of water, giving way to growth of grass in abundance and makes it an ideal place for gazelle of India, chinkara. However there are leopards, lions and various other animals residing in Gir, but chinkaras are found to be roaming more freely here. The wooden area of Gir falls in district Amreli and can be easily approached from Dhari and Amreli. The Chanchai hills offer a landscaped view to this area. The eco-tourists can see wildlife and nature in form of raw.
The Pania Sanctuary was notified in June 1989.The worldwide popular, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is abounded in the eastern and southern Chahchai hills which towers north-western parts of Gir. Chinkaras find terrain suitable to them.
Girnar Mountains adjoin city of Junagadh which is historically quite popular known to be a holy place for pilgrimage for both Jains and Hindus. Ujjayanta or Girnar or Raivatak had been one of the sacred places during the times of Aryan inhabitants. This mountain is called as King of hills. There are steep slopes and the area of Girnar is very hilly.
The maximum height found is 1,117.4 m where the topmost point falls in Kutch and Saurashtra region. It consists of 5 peaks sacred to Gorakhmata, Ambamata, Oghad, Kalika and Guru Dattatraya are some of the temples found on top. In the surrounding area of Sudarshana Lake, King Ashoka had 14 Edicts of Dharma on a rock engraved at Girnar. There was issuing of edicts in 12 and 13 years after the coronation.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is situated at a distance of 150 kilometers from Rajkot.
The nearest Bus Station is at a distance of 10 kms away from Visavadar.
The nearest railway station to reach the Sanctuary are Dhari and Visavadar just 10 kms and 35 kms respectively.
Flora and Fauna
The trees found here include Desi baval, gorad, khair, hermo, dhav, bordi, saladi, dudhlo, ashitro, khakhro, lantana camara, modad, karamda, bamboo etc.
The sanctuary and its vicinity is enriched with beautiful bird life.
Leopard, Lion, wildcat, hyena, civet cat, chinkara, spotted deer, wild boar, pangolin, four-horned antelope, blue bull etc.
As per Ainne-Akbari, the Mughal Gazetteer this area remains to be unexplored on the basis of impenetrable forests nature and the mountains offering intricate windings. Dry deciduous scrub, dry teak, bamboo brakes, thorn type, and tropical reverine as well as secondarily dry deciduous forests in Girnar.
In 1980s, the Forests were degraded but the process was reversed in 1990s due to developmental and protection measures. It has been found that the Girnar forest were larger than what they are currently, however forests still engross an area of 179.5 sq. km.
In the 1986, the forest cover was limited to 107.3 sq. km only but it was expanded to 157.4 sq. km in the year 1997. According to sources, in this last decade, the restoration work of these forests has improved. It is basically because of the forest belonging to Girnar that the people living in the Junagadh city enjoy more as far as the availability of water is concerned in the whole of Saurashtra.
It has been found that Girnar had been a popular reserve for hunting in the state and the reason being the wildlife present there such as leopard, lion, sambar, spotted cat(rusty), spotted deer, jungle cat, four-horned antelope, blue bull, wild boar as well as other wild animals found in large numbers. However still there are a number of animals who are present there but the number has relatively decreased and usually this wildlife sanctuary is considered as a habitat of lion. There are more than a dozen lions which have inhabited the area. According to some sources there were 13 lions counted in the year 1995. It is believed to be a floating population because they come from Gir found just 22 km distant from the boundary of forest of Girnar. Girnari vulture or White backed vulture are also seen on the cliff.