National Chambal Sanctuary is a riverine sanctuary spanning an area of 5,400 sq kms running along a length of 400 kms on the River Chambal. It is located near the town of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, India. It was established in the year 1979 serving as a refuge for the rare and endangered Gharial and Ganges River Dolphin. The Sanctuary supports the largest population of Gharials in the wild and also popularly called the National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary for this reason. It is co-administered by the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The National Chambal Sanctuary is among India's officially listed important bird area (IBA) IN122 and is a proposed Ramsar site.
Main Attractions: There are plenty of activities at Chambal to interest any wildlife, bird or adventure seekers.
Birding: The large population of the endangered Indian skimmers is the main birding attraction. Other commonly seen winged creatures are the black-bellied terns, red-crested and ferruginous pochards, bar-headed goose, sarus crane, great thick-knee, indian courser, pallas's fish eagle, pallid harrier, greater and lesser flamingos, darters, and the resident brown hawk owl. The spectacular array of bird life can be best explored on boats and the experienced boatman will take you close to the birds and large reptiles basking in the sun and near to dolphins gleefully playing in the river in pairs. All together, Chambal supports more than 320 resident and migrant birds as well as magar crocodile and smooth-coated otters, and six species of terrapins/turtles.
Village Safari: The Sanctuary arranges jeep safaris for visiting the villages in and around the Chambal Valley. It is another experience watching the villagers making earthernware such as pots and bowls.
Chambal Safari is an annual 300 kilometers car rally organized by the Chambal Conservation Foundation to acquaint visitors with the Valley. The ancient Bateshwar Temple complex, lined with more than hundred temples dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, make another interesting visit. The area is also said to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna's mother.
When To Go: Once can visit the Sanctuary all the year round but the best time is from November to March.
How To Get There
By Air: The nearest airport is at Agra which is 70 kms away.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Etawah.
By Road: Chambal is located on National Highway 45 and is well served by road to all parts of the state. One can hire a taxi or take a bus from Agra and Etawah.
Where To Stay: Forest department rest houses are available at nearby towns such as Etawah, Bah, Baiwan, Chakar Nagar and Sarson. They are quite basic but provide facilities for jungle trips including food, transport and guide services.