On day 11 of our road trip to Madhya Pradesh, we decided to visit the Chambal Sanctuary after reading about it being home to the critically endangered Gharial, Red Crowned Roof Turtle and the Indian Skimmer. Though the fog continued to be deterrent, we decided to visit there and check it out. We reached Chambal with a lot of hope of sighting the Gharial and Indian skimmer, but the forest guard here informed us initially during our discussion that spotting a Gharial in such weather is next to impossible, though we had great chances of spotting the beautiful Indian Skimmer. We decided to continue with our boat safari, hoping to spot some good water birds. River Chambal flows across 3 states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and the entire region is declared as a national sanctuary. There are many spots along the river managed independently by the state forest department. This is considered to be the longest river national sanctuary in India and also the cleanest. The entire area around this river until recently (2007) was under the control of the infamous dacoits of Chambal, including the popular bandit queen Phoolan Devi, which is probably one of reasons that this region has remained pristine. The boat safari was unique and we spotted many birds such as the Indian Skimmer, River Lapwing, Red Wattled Lapwing, Gulls, Bar Headed Geese, Sociable Lapwing, Crab Plover, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Owls, Montagu Harrier, Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminy Duck), Little Ringed Plover, Thick Knee and many more. We also got an opportunity of spotting a few Red Crowned Roof Turtle.
|Welcomed by Bar Headed Geese|
|First Look of the Indian Skimmers|
|Red Wattled Lapwing|
|Resting after a Flight|
|Indian Skimmers in Flight|
|Red Crowned Roof Turtle|
|National Chambal Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh|
|Great Thick Knee|
How to reach Chambal: Travel on Gwalior - Agra Highway, about 60 km from Gwalior and 70 km from Agra. This is the northern most point of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Rajasthan. There is a small setup by Madhya Pradesh forest department for the benefit of tourists.
Entry Fee: A. Rs 100/- per head for Indians and Rs 600/- per head for Foreigners, entry for kids below 12 years is free, while the others are charged full.
B. Boat ride - There are 3 slabs, though the price is not fixed, it may vary as per the prevailing rules of the forest department and availability of boats; wearing a life jacket is compulsory. Package includes the guide fee.
1. 3 km one way - Rs.1750/- per boat for the entire trip
2. 5 km one way - Rs.2050/- per boat for the entire trip
3. 8 km one way - Rs.2750/- per boat for the entire trip
Accommodation: There is no accommodation here, though there are a few lodges in the near by town of Dholpur (Rajasthan). Better option would be to stay in Gwalior/Agra and cover it as a day trip.
Where to eat: There are no places to eat in the vicinity of this national park, Dholpur is the closest town with many options. Kindly plan accordingly.
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