Also known as Mela Kothi and the Chambal River Lodge, the Chambal Safari Lodge is housed in an old colonial-era building which has been lovingly restored. Surrounded by a 35 acre plantation, a great deal of animal and birdlife can be seen in the gardens around the lodge, with nature walks led by resident naturalist guides. The trees around the lodge are home to colonies of flying foxes as well as civets, and shrikes, babblers and hornbills can be seen in the surrounding farmland.
The lodge has thirteen rooms made up of eight cottages in the grounds, one room in the main house, three suites and one room in separate buildings. All have decorated and furnisjhed with great care and attention to detail and are equipped with air conditioning, fans and hot and cold water. Electric supply in this rural part of India can be erratic, but generator power is provided in the mornings and evenings, and solar-powred lamps, candles and torches are available.
The lodge serves meals mostly prepared from their own and locally sourced organic farms, and many of the recipes are family favourites that have been handed down from generation to generation. The main house has sitting room, library and verandas which you're welcome to use, and there are several spots in the garden where you can enjoy tea and coffee. After dark the firepit is the main gathering place outdoors.
A wide variety of activities are available from the lodge. The Chambal River is best explored by boat, with the lodge providing their own boats and expert boatmen to see the birds and animals in and around the river. Walking safaris can also be arranged on the banks of the river as well as the surrounding farmland. For a more cultural trip, you can also visit the rural villages around the lodge and nearby sites such as the ancient Bateshwar Temples, scene of the annual Bateshwar Fair each November, and Fort Atar.
Open: The lodge is open from 1st October to 30th Apri.
Location: Chambal Safari Lodge is located near the village of Jarar, near Agra, It is situated in 35 acres of private plantations and farmland.
Rooms: There are 2 bedrooms in the original building with front and rear verandas. There are 2 suites in the new guest wing, Inli Serai, and 1 suite and 1 room in the Bougan Serai. There are 8 private cottages in the gardens with verandas overlooking the farms or woodland. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning and fans. Mosquito coils, plug-in insect repellents and creams are supplied in every room. Not water bottles, heaters and extra blankets are provided on request.
Activities: The lodge arranges guided morning and evening nature walks led by the resident naturalist. This is a great area for small mammals and birds. Excursions to the local village of Jarar allow guests a glimpse into local life. Guests have the chance to take a safari on the Chambal River and to explore the area around the lodge by bike. Jeep safaris can be arranged to view wildlife and see local villages. Excursions to the Bateshwar Temples are popular, and Chambal is a good base from which to visit the Bateshwar Fair held each November.
Facilities: Tea and coffee are available throughout the day, as is mineral water. The lodge has a library, bar, sitting room, several seating areas and verandas. There are books, magazines and board games in the library and a cricket set for guests to use.
Dining: Meals are taken at shared tables in the dining room in the restored stable block and oustside in the garden. Family favourites, modern Indian and international dishes are all available.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: We recommend malarial prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access at reception but this an be slow and unreliable.
A great opportunity to view tigers in the wild as well as see the iconic Taj Mahal - a majestic combination!
The conversion of this lodge & grounds into an eco-lodge has resulted in the rehabilitation & conservation of indigenous species of flora & fauna over 35 acres of degraded woodland. They are the only lodge in the National Chambal Sanctuary which includes the Chambal River and this is one of the last surviving habitats of the Gangetic river dolphin. They also provide protection for 1200 gharials & 300 marsh crocodiles.
"Again not very busy when we were there. The naturalist was excellent and happy to fit around our requirements. Sally wanted to see river dolphins - so our guide made sure we saw them. We thought that the Bateshwar fair didn't really live up to its billing and certainly didn't warrant a full day visit as originally planned. One small point is that the food is a buffet that could have been hotter (temperature wise rather than spicy)."