The Chambal, on India’s northern Plains, ranks among the country’s cleanest rivers – a fact attributable to its age-old reputation as a haven for dacoits (bandits), which until quite recently made this a no-go zone for outsiders. These days, however, dacoitry is a thing of the past and the Chambal region is an up-and-coming eco-tourism destination thanks to its abundant wildlife, which includes the critically endangered Gharial crocodile, red-crowned roof turtle and Gangetic dolphin.

All three can usually be sighted on safaris through the Chambal Sanctuary, which covers a 250-mile stretch of the river and its tributaries, and the maze of adjacent dry ravines and mud cliffs.

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