Another worthwhile visit is the Forestry Department’s marvellous Orientation Centre. This is a very fine exhibition, employing maps, photographs and clear, descriptive panels to outline the history, background, and wildlife content of the sanctuary. It is the product of the Nehru Foundation for Development, Ahmedabad. Until recently the park organised a ‘lion show’. This allowed you to see Asiatic lions from very close quarters, as part of an organised jeep-safari party. These have now been discontinued—hopefully, they will start up again soon. However you enter the sanctuary—by jeep, by car or on a park organised tour in one of their jeep-minibuses, you must get permission from the Forest Ranger and pay the necessary entry (Rs25) and camera fees (Rs10). With the help of a good park ranger/driver you can be fairly sure of seeing lion.
If you’re not at Sasan-Gir just for the lions, you can hire a jeep and visit some interest spots further inside the forest. Of these, the most beautiful and the most difficult to get to is Tulishyam Hot Springs (96 km; 60 miles), a very scenic spot where you can bathe in natural sulphur springs, visit a very special temple to Bhim and his mother Kunti, and stay at the pleasant Toran Holiday Home (dorm and single/double beds Rs8-40). Much nearer is Sirvan Village (13 km; 8 miles), where siddi people of African origin live, retaining their own distinctive culture and way of life. The 1000 or so villagers have a fine tradition of dance, and can, for a donation, be persuaded to put on special shows for the benefit of visitors. If you want to see a tribal dance show, call in at Jambur Village 25 km (15 1/2 miles) away, on a Thursday, when a weekly festival takes place at the tomb of a respected holy man. Kamleshwar Dam, a beautiful location with an area of over 3 sq km (1 1/4 sq miles), is worth visiting when there’s water in it (October-December, after the monsoons), but is a wasted trip when there isn’t.