Rajkot:  Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is on a three-day tour to Gujarat, visited the Gir Sanctuary, the only known home to the world-famous Asiatic lions, and came back "thrilled".
    
Ansari alongwith his wife Salma arrived here on Sunday in a special helicopter from Ahmedabad and went straight to Sasan where a special arrangement for his stay was made by the Junagadh district authorities and the forest department.
    
He also took a wildlife safari last night and this morning, forest department sources said.
    
After watching the lions roaming freely, a senior forest official who accompanied Ansari quoted him as saying, "seeing lions fearlessly in Gir forest is the most memorable experience of my life. I was thrilled."
    
As many as four sites were reserved for the Vice President, from where the lions were easily visible, sources said.
    
Various cultural programmes were organised by the district authorities at the "Sinh Sadan" where the Siddi community performed their famous "Dhamal Nrutya" while the girls performed the popular "Ras-Garba".
    
The Vice President was served traditional Kathiyawadi food of 'Bajri no Rotlo', 'Ringna no Olo' (Brinjal curry), Kadhi and Khichdi.
    
State Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, State Forest Minister Mangubhap Patel and senior district and forest officials were among those who accompanied Ansari.
    
He is expected to leave for Delhi later in the day, sources added.

(Agencies)