The valley is fast emerging as an exciting new destination, given its unique and unpolluted habitat, abundant wildlife and amazing landscapes, medieval temples, magnificent ancient ruins and animal fairs.
The river safari in the Chambal river is a unique experience, unlike anything on the Indian wildlife circuit. The boat ride on the calm waters of the Chambal, combined with the dramatic landscape and close-up views of the amazing abundance of wildlife. The National Chambal Sanctuary is home to the Gharial, the rare and highly endangered Gangetic Dolphin, Marsh Crocodiles (Muggers), eight species of Turtles, Smooth Coated Otters, Indian Striped Hyenas, Jungle Cats, Golden Jackals, Indian Wolves and foxes amongst others. A birdwatcher’s paradise, the sanctuary currently boasts of over 316 species of resident and migratory birds including large nesting colonies of the Indian Skimmer, the Greater Thick-knee, the Small Pratincole and Lapwings. The calm and gentle Chambal of the winter is a raging beast in the monsoon months. The monsoon waters recede to expose the most dazzling white sands.
THE RIVER SAFARI
The calm and gentle waters of the Chambal River are best explored on boats and the River Safari provides spectacular opportunities to view the wildlife. The Chambal Safari boatmen are exceptionally skilled at cutting the boat engines, and maneuvering as close to the birds and animals as possible without disturbing them. Trained naturalists accompany visitors and provide expert information on the Chambal wildlife. The River Safari is a most relaxing, enjoyable and special experience.
Special Nature Walks along the river banks, around the ravines and in the fields surrounding the National Chambal Sanctuary. Morning and afternoon and late evening rambles are also organised in and around the Chambal grounds and surrounding farmlands.
The Villages around the Chambal Safari Lodge provide an interesting insight into rural India. One can still find a potter at his wheel making earthen ware kullars (cups), a cobbler using the simplest implements to fashion and repair a most interesting variety of leather items, and shops selling all manner of goods from jaggery blocks to hand-woven quilts. Short Village Walks allowing access to all this and more can be organized here.
The countryside around the Lodge is ideal for cycling. Local bicycles are straight out of a period film – the old fashioned variety with upright handle bars and somewhat uncomfortable seats! The ride and countryside are however nothing if not interesting and well worth the effort.
THE CAMEL & HORSE SAFARI
Camels remain an important mode of transport for man and goods alike. They are also an ideal means for exploring the ravines of the Chambal Sanctuary and searching for the wildlife that have made these ravines their home. Be transported back in time as you amble along long forgotten trails and pathways on these haughty beasts, with their snootily upturned noses and disdainfully curled lips. One may take a Camel Safari along the river banks, into the ravines, through villages and up to Fort Ater.
The Chambal Valley is famed for the number of horses that are bred and sold at the numerous animal fairs of the area, most notably the annual animal fair at Bateshwar. The local populace takes pride in its equestrian traditions and are ever eager to display their skill.
Jeep safaris through remote hamlets and habitations hidden within the folds of the Chambal and Yamuna ravines, presenting a fascinating journey through a world that is strangely as connected as it appears removed from modern India.
The spectacular drive through a wild, forbidding and undulating landscape cuts across the ravines of both rivers going deep into one of the remotest most untouched corners of the Indian heartland. The confluence is dominated by the ruins of the majestic fortress of Bhareh, blasted by The temple platform rises 200 feet, providing breathtaking views of the confluence and the surrounding countryside. The Blackbuck Jeep Safari heads towards the Chambal Ravines for excellent sightings of Blackbuck deer and numerous dry land birds including the Indian Courser.
VISIT TO FORT ATER
Fort Ater is located on the periphery of the National Chambal Sanctuary. Once a valued stronghold and at the forefront of numerous battles between the Rajputs, the Mughals and the Marathas, the crumbling ruins bring alive the romantic glory of a bygone age. The ramparts of the fort afford some breathtaking views of the Chambal valley. One may visit this magnificent ruin riding a Camel or on foot.
VISIT TO SARUS CRANE CONSERVATION AREA
The Sarus Crane Conservation Reserve, extending to about 100 kms. It is a widespread wetland area, interspersed by cultivated fields, where large numbers of the Sarusus Cranes breed. Although not a protected area, since 1999 the Supreme Court of India, recognising its importance as a habitat has designated the area a reserve with restrictions on development.