Once a hideout for dacoit bandits the maze of intertwining mud cliffs and tropical dry scrub vegetation along the Chambal River shelter numerous mammals, reptiles and birds. Not much more than an hour’s drive from Agra and the Taj Mahal the area has a rugged charm and offers the opportunity to view some rare wildlife species.
The riverine sanctuary was established in 1979 to protect a 425km length of the Chambal River and the ravines to either side so that it now it supports the country’s largest population of gharial crocodiles. The sanctuary is one of just a few places it’s also possible to spot Gangetic dolphins (though you need a keen eye to see them) as well as fresh water turtles and river otters. Blackbuck, Indian striped hyena, jungle cat, golden jackal, Indian wolf and fox can sometimes be spotted while on a foot or jeep safari.
Chambal is also a bird watcher’s paradise with 320 resident and migratory bird species recorded including brahmini duck, bar-headed geese, cormorant, lapwing and flamingo and large number of nesting Indian Skimmers. Sarus crane can also be found in wetlands about 30km away.