Set within 35-acres of private plantation, and surrounded by farmland, Chambal Safari Lodge is a homely retreat in rural Uttar Pradesh. A mere hour’s drive from the Taj Mahal, the lodge provides sanctuary from the city's bustling day-to-day vibe. Cottages are dotted amidst peaceful woodland, combining period furniture and a cosy home-like feel with the luxury of modern amenities. Settle in and soak up all the history, wildlife and relaxation you can handle.
Each room features a sit-out area, either as a private veranda or enclosed garden, for soaking up the winter sun. Dining is a central part of the lodge experience and usually a very social event. Expect home-cooked food prepared from age-old family recipes with ingredients sourced from local farmers. After a busy day spotting wildlife with an expert naturalist, head back to the lodge, indulge in delicious food, and sit under the stars to enjoy evening drinks around the campfire. The perfect end to the day.
Deep in rural Uttar Pradesh, this tranquil oasis is just over one hour's drive from Agra, surrounded by the region’s extraordinarily unspoilt wilderness and the National Chambal Sanctuary.
Bird-watching and nature walks
Guided river and jeep safaris
Cosy sitting room and library
A safari lodge that is truly comfortable and steeped in history - you can sense the love that has been put into its restoration.
Discover what to expect from staying at Mela Kothi Chambal Safari Lodge
This family-run property began life as a mansion in the late 1800s and was mainly used by traders attending the region’s biannual cattle fair. However, by the 1980s the numbers visiting the fair had dwindled and the mansion was neglected. In the late 1990s, Ram Pratap Singh – great grandson of the original owner - and his wife Anu returned to the property, renovated it, and converted it into a homely, eco-friendly lodge. Its family ethos and their love for the project resonates throughout the property making each and every guest feel warm and welcome.
Spend your days exploring the extensive lodge grounds on a nature walk with one of the in-house naturalists, who will help you identify some of the 180+ species of resident birds. Venture into the village of Jahar for an insight into life in rural Uttar Pradesh. Nearby, the little-known National Chambal Sanctuary is home to the endangered gharial crocodile and the rare gangetic river dolphin, as well as eight species of turtle, smooth-coated otters and an impressive list of over 300 species of birds. The best way to explore the sanctuary is by boat, but Jeep safaris are also possible. Keep your eyes peeled for jungle cats and Indian striped hyenas.
Chambal Safari Lodge is committed to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Chambal Valley. The owners work closely with the WWF and Forest Department to encourage reforestation and wildlife conservation. They are also heavily involved in the local community, providing employment, using local craftsmen and indigenous materials, and sourcing food directly from local farmers. As a guest of the lodge you can be confident that you’re giving something back to the local environment and community.
Take your best shot at spotting wildlife with an itinerary that includes not one but three different parks, all located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This allows you to explore some surprisingly diverse scenery, see myriad bird and animal species, and hugely increase your chances of spotting one of these elusive big cats.