National Chambal Sanctuary

The long and narrow tri-point of the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh harbours the National Chambal Sanctuary. Maintained by the governments of these three states, the sanctuary is also known by the name of its flagship species- the small crocodile or gharial, an endangered member of the crocodile family. The sanctuary is ideally located, with the deep forest providing shelter for the myriad varieties of animals and birds, while the meandering Chambal River, which houses the Gharials twists and turns through the length of the sanctuary like a contortionist.

The National Chambal Sanctuary encompasses about 400km of the Chambal river area, which begins from Rajasthan Kota barrage. Rajasthan falls on the north and south of the river as it courses through Sawai Madhopur. The sanctuary area includes Dholpur in Rajasthan and Morena in Madhya Pradesh.

When the river enters Uttar Pradesh, Agra District falls to its north and Bhind District in Madhya Pradesh to its South. Further downstream in Uttar Pradesh Etawah District, the sanctuary boundary ends 5km beyond the confluence of the Chambal and the Yamuna at Bhareh. In width, the sanctuary extends from 1km to more than 6km on either side of the river, a different places. The total sanctuary area is about 635sq km in Uttar Pradesh, 320sq km in Rajasthan.

Though the river is easily accessible, there is very little infrastructure for wildlife tourism along its side. In Rajasthan, the only limitedly useful point of access is at Kota.

Travel Tips

The best time to visit National Chambal Sanctuary is during the winter season. However, if you plan to visit in winter, carry a light luggage as it gets quite crowded in the tourist season. In case you plan to travel in summer, which is also the time for the migratory birds to arrive, be prepared to face high temperature.

The locals can understand English, so communication will not prove to be much of a problem.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Cold
  • 17.5° Max
  • 8.2° Min
  • 0.0 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen.
Things to do

National Chambal Sanctuary, often termed as the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is teeming with a wide variety of animals. While the main attraction of the place is the gharial, you will not be disappointed if you wish for a bit of diversity. The sanctuary is also the habitat of two other endangered species of nature - the Gangetic dolphin, and the Red-crowned roof turtle.

The sanctuary is one of the few remaining places where you can catch a glimpse of these animals which are near extinction. However the best way of spotting some of these rare species is to opt for a river boat safari. Make sure that you take an experienced tourist guide with you to help you spot these species. This facility is easily available at several points along the river.  Also, you may consider contacting the Chambal Safari Lodge situated within the Chambal valley itself, who arrange for Nature & Village Walks and Camel & Jeep safaris; a great way to indulge in nature’s offering.

Striped Hyena, Muggar Crocodile, and Indian Wolf are amongst the other rare species who have found their home here. Chambal National Wildlife Sanctuary is also famous for the various types of turtles that can be found here. In fact, the sanctuary hosts 8 of the 26 rare species of turtles that can be found in India, amongst them the three-striped roofed turtle, and the Indian narrow-headed soft-shell turtle are worthy of special mention. And if you want to look at a few mammals, you can take your pick from the Golden Jackal, Hanuman Langur, Blackbuck, Indian Grey Mongoose, wild boar, Indian Flying Fox, Bengal Fox, porcupine, Rhesus Macaque just to name a few. Bird lovers are not to be left out either, as the sanctuary plays host to a range of birds.

Apart from the abundance of food that the river's clean waters generate for the birds, its banks are, for the most part, sparsely populated, and therefore very conducive for attracting avifauna. The sanctuary has a whopping 320 species of birds. Indian Skimmer, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, and Sarus Crane are amongst the endangered birds inhabiting here. The Siberian migratory birds form a major part of the migratory bird population of the sanctuary. Other migratory birds that you can see are the Red-crested Pochard, and the Bar-headed Goose. Greater Flamingos, Brown Hawk Owl and Great Thick Knee can also be seen in abundance. Both Indian and migrated birds are seen here, the latter between November and March. From ruddy shelduks to bar headed geese and Indian skimmers, you will see them all. The sanctuary is the breeding site of the Indian skimmer.

Getting Around

Going from one place to another is not a problem in Chambal. You can rent a car from one of the local tourist agencies. There are modes of public transportation as well, however their frequency can be a bit erratic. Private mode of transportation is the best way to commute.

The Chambal Safari Lodge organises excurisons into the country around the river by camel or jeep. Camels are a common means of transport in this semi arid region. 

Places to Stay

Finding accommodation in Chambal is not problem as a large number of hotels can be found both in and around the location.

How to Reach

  • The nearest airport is at Agra. As the airport is also connected to Delhi, it is quite easy to reach the sanctuary this way.
  • If you prefer a train journey, the nearest rail station is at Agra. The station of Agra is also connected to Delhi. Train tickets can be booked from sites like, and From the station, you can take either a bus or a cab.
  • In case you choose to go to the sanctuary by bus, you can board one from the cities of Agra, and Hastinapur. This is the cheapest mode of travelling, the fare being between Rs.75 and Rs.100.

Surrounding Attractions

After you have had your fill of wildlife, Chambal has a lot of other places to explore. You can go and have a look at the Ater Fort, which is just 35 km away from the sanctuary. Although quite dilapidated, it is a beautiful place and an important historical landmark. You can also visit the local temples, which are quite a few in number. The Aav Ganga Temple, Hanumanji Temple, Balaji Temple- all are within short reach of the sanctuary. You can also visit the Moor Memorial Church, which is 40 kilometers off Chambal Sanctuary. However, the greatest joy for any travel who wants see around is Agra, the erstwhile capital of Mughal India. The main attractions being Agra Fort, the serene Fatehpur Sikri, and of course the worldwide symbol of love The Taj Mahal.

The Chambal safari Lodge organises excursions into the country around the river by camel or jeep. Camels are a common means of transport in this semi-arid region. Take a camel ride around the confusing ravine terrain, amble along the riverbank, or drop in at a village to see and shop for local handicrafts (the rates for excursions are available on request).

The palaces and pavilions of this 800 year old structure display a bewildering combination of Rajpur Islamic architecture. Its bastions provide a sweeping view of the ravines, stretching as far as the eye can see, with the Chamabl river in the distance.

A standard foray is to Ater Fort, 2km from Nandgawan. Erected in the 17th century by Bhadoria rulers, Ater was annexed by the Mughals and later the Marathas. Although it is presently in a dilapidated condition, nthe fort still stands as majestically as it was originally intended.

Emergency No.

Wildlife or tourist Offices

  • District Forest Officer Morena #07532-234742
  • DFO, Chambal, Agra #0562-5230082, 07376439902
  • Madhya Pradesh Tourim Centre, Hotel Tansen, 6A Gandhi Road, Gwalior #0751-2234557, 4056726

 STD code - Morena (07532), Agra (0562), Gwalior (0751)