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National Chambal Sanctuary

National Chambal Sanctuary is sprawled in a total area of 635 sq km over Agra and Etawah districts of Uttar Pradesh. This is a tri-state sanctuary. Part of this sanctuary lies in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The Sanctuary lies along the stretch of Chambal River, up to about 425 km. Its ravines extend more than 2-6 km in width along the river. The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department’s Wildlife wing, with its headquarters in Agra, manages this project.

The Sanctuary is the chief place where the reintroduction program was implemented for the crocodile species, Gavialis gangeticus (locally called ‘gharial’).


National Chambal Sanctuary was established in 1979 as a riverine area.

It is believed that an Aryan King sacrificed cows in his quest for supremacy. Chambal is said to have been born from the blood of these cows. The Brahmins, threatened by the king’s ruthless ambitions, cursed him and the entire land, including the river.

What happened to the king is unknown, but historical reports say that the curse on the river worked. Till today, no temple town has been set up along the entire course of the river, which is regarded as “unholy.”

In 1979, the UP government designated the 400-km stretch of the area along Chambal River as National Chambal Safari and granted it the protected area status.


This Sanctuary has the world’s biggest population of gharial that roams in the wild. This is also one of the few Sanctuaries where tourists can spot Gangetic Dolphins (Platanista gangetica), which is the National Aquatic Animal.

This is the only known Sanctuary where nesting of Indian Skimmers is seen in colossal numbers. National Chambal Sanctuary houses 8 rare species of turtle out of 26 found in India.

National Chambal Sanctuary houses over 320 migratory and resident birds. Chambal river is considered “unholy” so is one of the cleanest rivers in India, as nobody wants to take a ‘holy dip’ here. It is an irony that holy rivers are some of the dirtiest ones in the country, whereas unholy ones are the cleanest!

Chambal Safari

Chambal safari helps to familiarize visitors with a pristine land rich in rare wildlife, natural beauty, and a clean environment. The place is free from the hustle bustle of modern cities.

The safari offers tourists an opportunity to go on a cultural and historical expedition of the Chambal Valley that is intertwined with nature. This is the land of myths, history, and folklore.

Visitors can ride a camel on hot sands, walk through the sun-kissed fields, ride a jeep across the ravines, laze under the sun, and welcome dusk through a starlit sky during the safari.

Chambal spells untamed, raw land brimming with folk tales of ruthless rulers and the wilderness.


Hospitality and old-fashioned charm greets tourists at the Mela Kothi – The Chambal Safari Lodge. It is located amidst the vast 35-acre heritage plantation, which is surrounded by family-owned farmland. The Lodge is the best base for starting an expedition of the Chambal Valley and its surroundings. This place is ideal for nature enthusiasts and culture lovers.

Best Time to Visit

Months from November to March are ideal for visiting National Chambal Sanctuary.

How to Reach

Chambal Valley is just 70 km south east of Agra. This is about an hour drive from the Taj Mahal. Tourists can easily get a cab for the Sanctuary.

National Chambal Sanctuary is around 270 km from Delhi. By road it takes 5-6 hours and only 4 hours via the Yamuna Expressway. Tourists can also board a train to Agra and then take a cab for Chambal Valley.