Returning to our hotel after visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal we packed up and set off for a small village called Jarar. Our accommodation was the Chambal Safari Lodge.
We passed by several village vegetable markets. The vegetables are painstakingly ordered and stacked to make an eye-catching display.
The rooms at Chambal Safari Lodge are spacious, clean and elegantly decorated. Our room had exquisite peacock blue furnishings and some resident geckos.
We settled in and had a delicious lunch. Then as the heat of the day waned we headed out for a tour of the lodge grounds, surrounding orchards and farmland and finally the village of Jarar.
Nilgai also known as blue bulls were in the shade of the trees. Indian flying fox hung in the trees waiting for the sun to set before heading off to forage for fruit. An Indian Scops owl popped out from its hole for a peek at us.
We also visited the village of Jarar. The children were friendly and curious. They took great delight in shaking our hands.
There was a profusion of flowering Calotropis growing in the dry soil which attracted a fair number of insects. This one has a couple of flies and a bug (not quite in focus).
Cow dung is shaped into cakes and dried to provide fuel for cooking.
We paused and chatted with the friendly villagers who were all emerging from their shady refuges or coming in from the fields as the sun set. This group of happy young men all waved and yelled hello, asking for us to take a photo.
We set off early the next morning for a boat cruise along the Chambal River. The canyons and hillocks beside the road had a lot of busy wildlife foraging in the soft, cool dawn light.
Our destination was the National Chambal Sanctuary, established in 1979, to protect the endangered Gharial, a species of crocodile. There are fewer than 235 breeding adults in the wild. The river sanctuary is also home to the Mugger crocodile, Eurasian spoonbill, painted stork, great thick-knee, Indian softshell turtle and many other species of birds and reptiles. We were also lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Ganges River dolphin.
The food at Chambal River Lodge was delicious. I particularly liked the spinach fritters.
We bid farewell to Chambal in the late afternoon and headed back to Agra. In the evening we boarded the overnight train to Katni. This is me after clambering up onto the top bunk and arranging the sheet.