”The integrity of aquatic life and fauna is the best biological indicator of a river’s health”.
By that measure the Chambal may be one of the healthiest of Indian rivers, protected by its harsh ravine infested environs and the desperadoes who abounded there.
There are many nature watching opportunities available for the visitors to Dholpur and Chambal River in Rajasthan. The best opportunities for sighting and photography of Gharial can be had by hiring a boat with experienced driver and guide, available at several points along the river. A boat excursion will also offer many good viewpoints for photography of water , shore birds and unique landscapes.
The only specialized small fish-eating crocodilian – the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) – is the most sought after specie in the Chambal River. One could see quite a few of these beautiful (and Critically Endangered) creatures basking on the banks of the river. Some of them would be tagged with a red band tied to their tail which indicates that apparently they are released recently from the Gharial breeding center.
There is one interesting story about the origin of the name Gharial. Gharial males have a bulbous growth on the tip of their snout. This resembles a pot or ghara (in Hindi). Hence, the name Gharial is introduced. Such an explicit sexual dimorphism is not found in any other crocodilian species.
The much fortunate ones could also see a number of turtles basking on the tiny rocks jutting out of the river. Perhaps, they enjoy the sunny days after many hours of deep floating. Walking trails in the ravines and along the river also offer opportunities for close observation of the wide variety of plants and animals.
Next time on your visit to Dholpur, Rajasthan don’t miss to treat your eyes with the statuesque sight of Chambal, its habitats and the rare specie gharials.