National Chambal Sanctuary

The National Chambal Sanctuary was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along an approximately 425 km length of the Chambal River and its ravines stretching over 2-6 km wide along the river.The Sanctuary lies in three states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, stretching from Kota in Rajasthan to the confluence of Chambal River with the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh. The National Chambal Sanctuary is home to some of the sub-continents most rare and endemic species including the Gharial, Gangetic River Dolphin, 8 species of turtles, Marsh Crocodiles, and over 300 species of Birds.

The Chambal is a perennial river originating in the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh. Within the Sanctuary, the river flows through areas of deeply eroded alluvium, rapids over rock beds, sand banks and gravel bars along with steep banks and bends. Numerous temporary watercourses provide a variety of habitats. In Uttar Pradesh, the Sanctuary lies in Agra and Etawah districts, The Chambal Sanctuary was mainly created to provide protection to the endangered Gangetic Gharial and the Gangetic Dolphin. The Chambal River forms the core of the sanctuary, and the sandy beach and forested areas along the banks to a distance of one km form the buffer zone.

National Chambal Sanctuary is one of the most important bird areas in India, being the breeding site of the Indian Skimmer; this wetland has been listed as a high priority wetland. The area is of importance for both resident and migratory waterfowl, especially Common Teal, Northern Pintail, Bar-headed Goose, Brahminy Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, and Indian Skimmer. Small numbers of Black-necked Stork, Common Crane, Sarus Crane, and Black-bellied Tern are also found along the river.

This Sanctuary was established to protect one of the last remaining populations of critically endangered Gangetic Gharial. Good protection has also benefited another critically endangered species named Red Crowned roof Turtle, endangered Gangetic Dolphin, the Marsh Crocodile and the Smooth Coated Otter. Terrestrial mammals seen are Nilgai, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Black-naped Hare, Striped Hyena, Indian fox and Golden Jackal. The Indian Wolf is also reported from the surrounding areas.

Chambal Safari Lodge

The Chambal Safari Lodge ‘Mela Kothi’ is a family run oasis of calm, tranquillity, and gracious hospitality, nestling in the midst of 35 sprawling acres of reclaimed woodland. The larger trees, some of which are over a century old, provide safe harbour, and the extensive grounds are home to over 198 species, such as palm civet cats, jungle cats, foxes, jungle hare, fruit bats, hedgehogs, nilgai and hyenas.

Established as a field camp in the late 1890s by the Zamindar of Jarar to conduct the annual cattle fair (Mela), the Mela Kothi and its stables have been meticulously restored and rechristened the Chambal Safari Lodge. Owned and managed by Ram Pratap and Anu, professionals who moved back to their ancestral farms in 1999 to work on their dream project: turning their inheritance into a charming eco-lodge, a haven for the eager explorer and weary traveller, alike.

The accommodation, in thirteen rooms/cottages scattered in the woodland, blend the charm of traditional features with the finest of contemporary conveniences and comforts. The ensuite A/C rooms/cottages are colourful, airy and spacious. The private sit-outs and verandahs, overlooking the woodland and fields, are ideal for lazing after the day's activities. The authentic home cooked meals, with fresh mainly organically grown ingredients, include local specialties that have been fine-tuned over generations.

The Lodge and its extensive grounds provide a relaxing environment and are a far cry from the hustle and chaos of modern cities. Wake-up to the birdsong of the barbets, have a meal under the trees with the koels and hornbills in attendance, spend the afternoon reading in a hammock with peacocks for company and end the day around a blazing bonfire under a star studded sky. All this, and more, whilst enjoying warm personalised hospitality and attention to detail.

With river, camel & jeep safaris, nature walks, and heritage trails, bicycle rides, visits to ancient temples, ruined forts, animal fairs, and a National Sanctuary, the Lodge offers visitors an opportunity to explore the unique biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Chambal Valley.

The Lodge undertakes and supports conservation, research and activism in the Chambal Valley, and is committed to the sustainable use of natural resources.

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