Raj Niwas Palace, Dholpur offers you the best facilities for sightseeing and excursions. The Palace is the right choice to stay as it is close to most of the tourist places in and around the Palace. The Machkund temple, Chambal Boat Safari, National Chambal Sanctuary, Ramsagar Sanctuary and Lake are the few amongst them.
The ancient name of the Chambal was Charmanvati, meaning the river on whose banks leather is dried. The epic narrative the Mahabharata, refers to the Chambal river as the one which originate from the blood of sacrificed animals by the Aryan King 'Rantideva'
The River made the southern boundary of Panchal Kingdom ruled by King Drupad
The legends of its curse by Draupadi and its bloody 'unholy' origins due to King Drupada have helped the Chambal to survive unpolluted by man, and its many animal inhabitants to thrive relatively untouched. The Chambal remains one of India's most pristine rivers.
Part of the river was declared National Chambal Sanctuary which was founded in 1978 and is part of a large area of 5,400 kms. co-administered by three states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh collectively. Approximately 400 km of the river is within the reserve's area. This area lies between 24055' to 26050' N and 75034' to 79018'E in District Dholpur and has a large arc described by the Chambal between Jawahar Sagar Dam in Rajasthan and the Chambal-Yamuna confluence in Uttar Pradesh Over this arc, two stretches of the Chambal are protected as the National Chambal Sanctuary. The sanctuary was gazette 'in order to facilitate the restoration to "ecological health" of a major north Indian river system and provide full protection for the gravely endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus).
The Chambal river remains one of north India's most unpolluted rivers, home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It contains the rare Ganges River Dolphins the other inhabitants of the sanctuary include Mugger Crocodiles and Migratory Birds from Siberia form its rich avian fauna.
The best way to experience the Chambal Sanctuary is to take a boat safari in Chambal river, experiencing the magnificent Ravines on one side of the bank and happening wildlife on the expanse of the river, the other side. The safari is for one hour (extendable on prorata basis) and your boat escort takes you quite far in to the river bed to experience the natural habitat of Ghariyals, Crocodile, turtles and close to 300 species of resident and migratory birds.
The steep Chambal river itself offers a pretty natural panorama and making you feel as if history is flowing past you. Your imagination runs wild. You can feel the presence of fierce warriors, daring dacoits and hardened people. However, in spite of all its ruggedness, the Chambal valley has ever been inviting to mankind since time immemorial. While at one end the labyrinths of the valley have been providing shelter to the rebels, on the other hand the pure icy cold water of Chambal river has instilled zeal and vivacity in the natives of this regions. Bordering with the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the Chambal belt of Northern Madhya Pradesh is full of zigzagged ravines. A journey through this valley reveals great secrets of this old civilization. The whole Chambal valley abounds in archeological legacies and only in Morena district there are no less than 60 archeologically significant sites. All these archeological sites lie in the range of 40 Kms. from Gwalior.
Technically, ravines are formed when the upper layer of vegetal cover is not strong enough and the roots of trees are unable to hold and bind the soil together. Constant rainfall erodes the soil and washes away the crust of the earth. Consequentially, the water flow turns into drains, creating cracks. In due course of time, these cracks are further eroded, and become large ravines. In Bhind and Moraina districts are high grounds where rainfall, the Chambal River and its tributaries have eroded the land, resulting in huge cracks and valleys. These deep valleys are the Chambal Ravines.
The area we cover in JEEP SAFARI through the ravines Starts with visiting the Shergarh fort. Through the small muddy tracks among the ravines and along the banks of the river, we explore village life through small villages hidden deep into the ravines along the Chambal river. Life is full of hardships as the land available for agriculture is scares. 05 hours safari programme which covers Shergarh fort, Talab e shahi, Nadi Ka tal, Van Vihar and a glimpse into Chambal ravines and village life (visiting Gama village and banks of Chambal)
Gharials are bred in captivity here and they are generally grown for two to three years and average about one metro in length, when released. In December 2010, the then Indian Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, announced the formation of a National Tri-State Chambal Sanctuary Management and Coordination Committee for gharial conservation on 1,600 km2 (620 sq mi) of the National Chambal Sanctuary along the Chambal. The committee plans strategies for protection of gharials and their habitat, involving further research on gharial ecology .
Muchchhkund is about 4 km from the town of Dholpur. It is an ancient sacred place. It commands a picturesque view. The place is named after Raja Muchchhkund, the 24th of the Suryavanshi Dynasty (the solar race) who is said to have reigned nineteen generations before Lord Ram. According to legend, Raja Muchchhkund was sleeping here when demon Kaal Yaman (while pursuing lord Krishna) accidentally woke him up. The demon Kaal Yaman was burnt to ashes because of a divine blessing to Raja Muchchhkund. It is now a sacred place for pilgrims.
27 kilometres from Dholpur (and 5 kilometers from Bari) is a picturesque lake called Talab Shahi. The lake and the palace were built in 1617 A.D. as a shooting lodge for Prince Shah Jahan. The palace and the lake were later maintained by the ruler of Dholpur. The lake attracts a large number of winter migratory fowl such as pintail, shoveller, red crested pochard, common pochard, tufted duck, garganey teal, wigeon and fadwall.
This temple was built in the 18th century. It is the oldest Shiv Temple in Dholpur. In the month of march on the occasion of Maha shiv Ratri this temple is full of pilgrims and devotees of lord Shiv. On Mondays much crowd come here to pay their offerings and prayers because Monday is considered as a day of lord Shiv according to the Hindu mythology. It is just 1/2 km from Dholpur new Bus stand so is at just a stone's throw distance from bus stand and you can also hire a rickshaw to reach the temple. This ancient temple boasts of great architectural beauty.
It is an old fort of historic importance, located toward the south of Dholpur tower. This monument was built by Sher Shah Suri on the site of an earlier Hindu fortress.
Van Vihar, an old wildlife reserve of the rulers of Dholpur is spread over an area of 59.86 km2 over Vindhyan Plateau.
The cluster of temples is spread over an area of 10 hectares in the ravines of Chambal. 40 Kms from Dholpur, 25 km from Morena town, is an archaeological site comprising about 200 ancient shrines This site is located on the north-western slope of a range of hills near Padavali, a village about 40 km from Gwalior. The shrines in Bateshwar complex are dedicated mostly to Shiva and a few to Vishnu. The temples are made of sandstone and belong to the 8 - 10th century They were built during the reign of GURJAR Pratihar Dynasty, 300 years before the famous Khajuraho Temples were built.