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CHAMBAL SAFARI LODGE

The Chambal Safari is an attempt to acquaint visitors with a land that has retained its unique landscapes, rugged charm and rare wildlife. A magical land far removed from the chaotic madness of modern cities, the Chambal Valley is a mere 70 kms SE of Agra - 1 hours' drive from the Taj Mahal. 

Chambal Safari Lodge is a haven of old- fashioned charm and hospitality nestling in the midst of a sprawling 35 acre heritage plantation, surrounded by family owned farmland. Traditionally used as the family's base for their annual Cattle Fair (established in 1910), this property has been meticulously restored after decades of neglect and is a warm friendly place. 
 
The Lodge is an ideal base for exploring the Chambal Valley and surrounding areas, with excursions designed to appeal to everyone from the serious birder to the culture enthusiast.
 
The valley is fast emerging as an exciting new destination, given its unique and unpolluted habitat, abundant wildlife and amazing landscapes, medieval temples and magnificent ancient ruins, animal fairs and naga sadhus. The Chambal Safari Lodge team takes pride in providing personal attention to all their guests. While staying here you can do as much or as little as you like. 
 
The river safari is a unique experience, unlike anything on the Indian wildlife circuit. The boat ride on the calm waters of the Chambal, combined with the dramatic landscape and close-up views of the amazing abundance of wildlife are the highlights of the river safari. The National Chambal Sanctuary is home to the Gharial, the rare and highly endangered Gangetic Dolphin, Marsh Crocodiles (Muggers), eight species of Turtles, Smooth Coated Otters, Indian Striped Hyenas, Jungle Cats, Golden Jackals, Indian Wolves and foxes amongst others. A birdwatcher's paradise, the sanctuary currently boasts of over 316 species of resident and migratory birds including large nesting colonies of the Indian Skimmer, the Greater Thick-knee, the Small Pratincole and Lapwings. 
 
The Lodge also organises Nature & Village Walks, Camel & Jeep safaris and Temple Visits to Bateshwar (the site of an ancient cattle fair larger in size than the Pushkar fair). The Chambal Valley is open from October to April. 

Rooms And Rates

The Chambal Safari Lodge combines the natural warmth of local homes with the comfort of modern amenities. The Chambal Safari lodge offers twelve rooms. There are eight independent cottages with private verandahs in the woodland around the restored Mela Kothi. The twin bedded en-suite rooms are comfortable, colourful, airy and spacious. Large windows allow fresh air and natural light into the rooms whilst the sloping roofs with canopies add warmth and charm.  

 
The restored Mela kothi has two large well-appointed bedrooms with front and rear verandahs and access to the library across the pebbled courtyard. The period furniture and furnishings bring alive the stately grace of this heritage building and provide a tantalising glimpse into an earlier era.
 
There are two small and cosy bedrooms - a twin and a single - in the restored Stables nestling under the bougainvillea creepers.
 
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Amenities

Electricity - The Lodge is located on a rural feeder line and the electricity supply can be very erratic. Generators deliver complete back-up in the mornings and evenings. We provide torches, candles and hurricane lanterns in all the rooms. 

Water- We have running hot and cold water. There are hot water geysers installed in all the bathrooms. 
Our water source at present is deep bore wells at 220 ft and 440ft. Although showers are available in all the bathrooms, we recommend bucket baths, as an average shower utilizes over 100 liters of water, whereas bucket baths consume just 20 liters. 
 
Our Meals- The Lodge kitchens serve authentic 'home cooked' meals with fresh organically grown ingredients. Most of the produce is from our own farms or procured directly from the local farmers. Our recipes include local specialties that have been fine-tuned over generations.
 
Our Resident Wildlife - The sprawling grounds of the Chambal Safari Lodge are home to numerous birds and small mammals. Evening Nature Walks around the Lodge, with our resident Naturalist, are the best time to go looking for Palm Civet Cats, Jungle Cats, Foxes, Jungle Hares, Fruit Bats, Hedgehogs and the Indian Striped Hyenas. With a checklist of over 180 birds, birding in the Lodge grounds starts with the 'wake-up call' of the Barbets & Babblers, and continues through the day with the birdsong of the hornbills, koels and treepies and well into the evening with the foraging fruits bats and hooting owls.

Things To Do

The River Safari

The calm and gentle waters of the Chambal River are best explored on boats and the River Safari provides spectacular opportunities to view the wildlife. The Chambal Safari boatmen are exceptionally skilled at cutting the boat engines, and manoeuvring as close to the birds and animals as possible without disturbing them. Trained naturalists accompany visitors and provide expert information on the Chambal wildlife. The River Safari is a most relaxing, enjoyable and special experience. 
 
Nature Walks
The Chambal Safari organises special Nature Walks along the river banks, around the ravines and in the fields surrounding the National Chambal Sanctuary. Morning and afternoon and late evening rambles are also organised in and around the Chambal Safari Lodge grounds and surrounding farmland. 
 
Village Walks
The Villages around the Chambal Safari Lodge provide an interesting insight into rural India. One can still find a potter at his wheel making earthen ware kullars (cups), a cobbler using the simplest implements to fashion and repair a most interesting variety of leather items, and shops selling all manner of goods from jaggery blocks to hand-woven quilts. The Chambal Safari organises short Village Walks allowing access to all this and more. 
 
Bicycle Rides
The countryside around the Lodge is ideal for cycling. Our local bicycles are straight out of a period film - the old fashioned variety with upright handle bars and somewhat uncomfortable seats! The ride and countryside are however nothing if not interesting and well worth the effort. 
 
The Camel Safari
Camels remain an important mode of transport for man and goods alike. They are also an ideal means for exploring the ravines of the NCS and searching for the wildlife that have made these ravines their home. Be transported back in time as you amble along long forgotten trails and pathways on these haughty beasts, with their snootily upturned noses and disdainfully curled lips. One may take a Camel Safari along the river banks, into the ravines, through villages and up to Fort Ater. 
 
Horse Safari
The Chambal Valley is famed for the number of horses that are bred and sold at the numerous animal fairs of the area, most notably the annual animal fair at Bateshwar. The local populace takes pride in its equestrian traditions and are ever eager to display their skill. The Chambal Safari arranges short 3-4 hour horse riding tours through the Chambal ravines and countryside. 
 
Jeep Safari
The Chambal Safari arranges jeep safaris through remote hamlets and habitations hidden within the folds of the Chambal and Yamuna ravines, presenting a fascinating journey through a world that is strangely as connected as it appears removed from modern India. 
 
The Bhareh Jeep Safari to the confluence of the Chambal and Yamuna Rivers is 90 kms (2 hours) drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge. 
 
The spectacular drive through a wild, forbidding and undulating landscape cuts across the ravines of both rivers going deep into one of the remotest most untouched corners of the Indian heartland. The confluence is dominated by the ruins of the majestic fortress of Bhareh, blasted by The temple platform rises 200 feet, providing breathtaking views of the confluence and the surrounding countryside. 
 
The Blackbuck Jeep Safari heads southwest from the Chambal Safari Lodge towards the Chambal Ravines for excellent sightings of Blackbuck deer and numerous dry land birds including the Indian Courser. 
 
Bateshwar Temples
The ancient temple complex at Bateshwar on the river Yamuna, 10 km from the Chambal Safari Lodge, consists of more than a hundred temples dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. Referred to as Surajpur in ancient texts, Bateshwar derives its current name from its reigning deity Lord Bateshwar Mahadev (another name for Shiva). The ravines surrounding the temples and river are home to a number of Naga sadhus (snake worshiping ascetics) who have carved out little caves and temples within the mud walls. 
 
In early November, the open areas around the temple complex play host to an annual animal fair, the origins of which stretch into antiquity. The fair coincides with the most auspicious period for praying at Bateshwar and is an important fixture for saints, sadhus, tradesmen and villagers. Witness a colourful pageant of rural India that is as unchanging as it is timeless. (Find out more about Bateshwar) 
 
Visit to Fort Ater
Fort Ater is located on the periphery of the National Chambal Sanctuary, 2 km from the Chambal Safari base camp. Once a valued stronghold and at the forefront of numerous battles between the Rajputs, the Mughals and the Marathas, the crumbling ruins bring alive the romantic glory of a bygone age. The ramparts of the fort afford some breathtaking views of the Chambal valley. One may visit this magnificent ruin riding a Camel or on foot. 
 
Visit to Sarus Crane Conservation Area
The Sarus Crane Conservation Reserve starts around 30 kms from the Chambal Safari Lodge, extending to about 100 kms. It is a widespread wetland area, interspersed by cultivated fields, where large numbers of the Sarusus Cranes breed. Although not a protected area, since 1999 the Supreme Court of India, recognising its importance as a habitat has designated the area a reserve with restrictions on development. 

 

Location

The Chambal Safari Lodge lies 70kms SE of Agra on the Fatehabad Road, 3 kms short of the township of Bah. The Lodge is a comfortable one hour drive from the Taj Mahal. 

 
By Air - The nearest airport is at Agra.
 
By Train -  The nearest railway station is at Agra. Agra and Mathura are major rail junctions with a number of trains from all over the country. Bharatpur, Ranthambhor (with change at Bharatpur), Bandhavgarh (Katni, Umaria) and Kanha (Jabalpur) National Parks are all well serviced by the rail network from Agra.
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