Established in 1979, the National Chambal Sanctuary, also known as the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is an eco-reserve located near the tripoint of Uttar Pradesh Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Chambal River cuts through the ravines of the sanctuary and weaves its way through hills and sandy beaches. The stretch of the Chambal River is home to the gharial (crocodile), the rare Gangetic dolphins and alligators.
The Chambal Ravines are the result of centuries of soil erosion caused by rain and flood waters. The sanctuary is spread across 400 kilometres, 400 km stretch of the river Chambal and covering an area of 1235 sq. km around the river.
The sanctuary is also home to more than 330 species of local and migratory birds including Indian vulture and the greater spotted eagle. Migratory birds from Siberia also add to its rich fauna. In fact, the sanctuary is listed as an important bird area, IN122. Winter ushers in other species of birds such as flamingos, darters and brown hawk owl.
According to ancient Indian texts, Chambal was known as the Charmanyavati, or originating from the blood of thousands of cows sacrificed by King Rantideva. It's ‘unholy’ origins have worked in its favour in that it has kept people out of the way, and infact, Chambal River is one of the most unpolluted rivers in India.
The months of October and November are considered the best time to visit the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is about a five hour drive from New Delhi. The route winds its way through Agra and so you can also make a brief stop to visit the Taj Mahal. By rail, it is about 80 kms from Agra. The nearest airport is Agra airport.