Chambal River Safari

Gharial Crocodile, Chambal River
Gharial Crocodiles, Chambal River

Most travelers visiting Agra go to the Taj Mahal and head back not knowing that there is so much more to do in and around this city than just that. On your next trip to Agra, consider going on a river safari on the Chambal River which is just an hour drive from the City of Taj.
 See the video below to get an idea of the wildlife you see on the river. Visit and follow our Instagram page to see photos from the Chambal River Safari we organize.

The National Chambal Sanctuary (400+ KM of protected waters) falls on the Chambal River which flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh before it merges in to the Yamuna. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1978.

The Chambal River Safari near Agra is no ordinary safari, it's the most 'alive' river eco-system in this part of the country. You get to see critically endangered gharials (long snout fish eating crocodiles), Indian marsh crocodile, eight species of turtles, home to several resident and migratory birds, striped hyenas, jackals, jungle cats, foxes, various reptiles and the prized one - Gangetic River Dolphin (if you're really really lucky). 

chambal river safari dholpur
With guests during the river safari

There are several legends as to why the Chambal has remained a hot spot for wildlife and remains to this day as one of the cleanest rivers in the country. One legend has it that Draupadi from the epic Mahabharat was disrobed on the banks of the Chambal when she was lost over a game of dice to the Kauravas. She then cursed the river and all it's inhabitants that lived around the Chambal that they would never be able to proposer despite having freshwater and abundant food. Another legend says, that a king greedy for power massacred thousands of cows and the blood of these cows is what formed the Chambal. 

chambal indian skimmers
Indian Skimmers

In the 20th century, the river and it's surrounding ravines became the wild wild west and were notorious for gangs and bandits - some robbed the rich and gave the poor while others fought the system as they did not get justice when rightly deserved. Thanks to these legends, curses and bandits, the river has remained un-polluted and no major cities, industries other than those in Kota have developed on it's banks.

Red Crested Pochard
Red Crested Pochards

If you want to do the Chambal River Safari on your next visit to Agra, let me know. I can arrange your safari and personally take you there. The river safari is ideally done in the winter months (October/November to early March). After this it gets too hot on the river plus all the migratory birds such as pochards, geese, ducks etc. fly back to Europe and Central Asia. 

Male Gharial Chambal river
Male Gharial

From June the river is closed for safaris due to the monsoons. The river safari is conducted on two different sides both within an hour driving distance from Agra. As such, Agra should be your base where you can stay in one of several hotels / homestays fitting your budget.

crocodiles and gharials in chambal river
Marsh Crocodiles and Gharials co-existing in the Chambal

The two locations where we can do the river safari are Dholpur and Bah. The Chambal that flows ahead of Dholpur demarcates the boundaries of two states - Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The other point where we go on the river safari is Bah where again the river demarcates the boundaries between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Chambal merges in to the Yamuna river at Bhareh after flowing downstream for another 100 KM.

chambal wildlife
Desert Fox seen on the river bank from the boat

Please email or call +91 9717148483 if you are interested in doing a river safari with me as your naturalist. Most of my guests who do the river safari with me stay in Agra, this way they can not just do the safari but also go see a monument or two in my city.

Please Note:
  • There is no guarantee that you will see the above wildlife. The river is their habitat and sightings depend on water level in the river, human interference, climatic conditions, weather and other factors, most of which are beyond your and my control. I will do my best to show you all there is to see. 
  • How to get there: car is the fastest and most efficient.
  • Price of river safari: depends on number of people, number of hours, which side of the river. 
  • Safety: All motor boats are monitored and checked to be in working condition. All safaris include a boatman and a naturalist. Guests have to wear life jackets at all times when on the boat.
  • What to carry: photo identification, camera, binoculars, warm jacket, small backpack, sun glasses, cap, vizer, sun block, some cash, food/snacks and drinking water.
  • This experience is in the wild and rural India, please do not expect 'luxury' tourist facilities here. Sometimes, road conditions become bad or there are traffic jams, therefore I would appreciate if you can remain patient when such un-planned circumstances do pop up. 
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol is strictly not permitted on the river banks and during the safari. 
  • Please do not throw trash on the floor or in to the river. I will help to dispose off trash properly.
  • To prevent any disturbance to wildlife, I do not permit the use of any call playback to attract birds, feeding or baiting of wildlife. Despite this, if you do and are caught by the authorities or called out by locals or fellow wildlife enthusiasts, then you are entirely on your own - embarrassment, fines and other penalties as per the local laws governing national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are to be borne by you.
turtles of chambal river
Indian Softshell Turtle