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National Chambal Sanctuary

photo credit Manish Arya

© Chambal Safari Lodge

© Chambal Safari Lodge

© Chambal Safari Lodge

© Chambal Safari Lodge

National Chambal Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh

As you glide quietly down the powering Chambal River, you are mesmerised by the deep ravines that envelope you on both sides, formed by continuous soil erosion of monsoonal floods over countless millennia. They form a maze of entwining cliffs of ancient mud and dry scrub forest – home to various species of mammals, reptiles and birds. National Chambal Sanctuary is named after the river, one of India’s cleanest and longest rivers and covers an area of 1,235 square kilometres. It was declared a Protected Area in 1979 in an effort to protect the forest and river ecosystem, as well as the largest wild population of the endangered gharial crocodile. The Sanctuary is also listed as an important birding area and is a proposed Ramsar Site. Ancient Indian texts refer to the Chambal as the Charmanyavati - originating from the blood of thousands of cows sacrificed by the Aryan King Rantideva. The river is a lifeline for both the people and the forests that border it. Its waters origi...nate from the Singur Chouri peak in the Vindhya range in Madhya Pradesh and meander their way through Rajasthan, entering Uttar Pradesh and finally draining into the Yamuna to become part of the Gangetic plains. The Sanctuary is home to the critically endangered gharial crocodile, the red-crowned roof turtle and the very endangered Ganges river dolphin. There are public vehicle entry points to Chambal Sanctuary at Pinahat, Nandagon Ghat, Sahson and Bhareh
The best opportunities for sighting and photography of gharial and dolphins can be had by hiring a boat with a driver and guide, available at several points along the river. Most boatmen are exceptionally skilled at cutting the boat engines and manoeuvring as close to the birds and animals as possible without disturbing them. Walking trails in the ravines and along the river offer opportunities for close observation of the wide variety of plants and animals in the Sanctuary.
These forests and their freshwater ecosystems are best known for the wide variety of aquatic and bird life found here. They are the only known place on earth for nesting for the threatened Indian skimmers! Migratory birds from Siberia form part of its rich avian fauna. Vulnerable bird species found here include the sarus crane, Pallas’s fish eagle and Indian courser. Chambal supports eight of the 26 rare turtle species found in India, including Indian narrow-headed soft shell turtle, three-striped roof turtle and crowned river turtle. Other wildlife found here are the critically endangered Gangetic dolphins, smooth coated otters, striped hyenas, Indian wolves and the muggers
Visitors may explore Ater Fort, a beautiful but dilapidated landmark and historical site. Take a camel safari along the riverbanks through villages and up to the Fort for a more interesting journey. The villages provide an interesting insight into rural India and one can still find a potter at his wheel making earthenware and shops selling hand-woven quilts. The Sarus Crane Conservation Reserve is also nearby. It is a widespread wetland area, interspersed by cultivated fields, where large numbers of the sarus cranes breed
Parts of the sanctuary are threatened by extensive illegal sand mining, which is endangering the fragile flowing waters critical for gharial breeding. In 2010, the Minister for Environment and Forests formed the National Tri-State Chambal Sanctuary Management and Coordination Committee to ensure ways to protect gharials and their habitat. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at and consider helping with funding or support: The Chambal Conservation Foundation

Destination Information

How To Book

Safaris can be booked through your lodge or tour operators

Park Timings

It is open throughout the day. The park is closed from June to September due to heavy rains in the region.

Getting Around the Park

Boat cannot be hired at the park entry point and needs to be pre-booked through Lodge or tour operator. There are no naturalists stationed at the Park entry points. Boat charges range from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000 + 5% tax per person inclusive of entry tickets and naturalists fees. Naturalists charges are Rs. 1000 for walking tours, and jeep tours are in the same range as boat charges (2000 - 3000 per person + 5% tax) inclusive of entry tickets and naturalist charges.

Entry Fees

R 50 for Indian Nationals R 600 for Foreign Nationals Small Vehicle entry charge Rs. 100
By Air: Agra (70 km). You may hire a cab or drive your own vehicle. By Road: The Sanctuary is about 270 km from Delhi and attracts many travellers who enjoy road trips. The journey can be covered in about 5 to 6 hours by road
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Mela Kothi - The Chambal Safari Lodge

Ram Pratap Singh and his wife Anu have turned their run down inheritance, Mela Kothi, into a lovingly restored homely lodge nestled in 35 sprawling acres of scenic woodlands.

Other Destinations To Combine

Keoladeo National Park

West India

Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

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