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Bateshwar Temples

The ancient settlement of Bateshwar is situated on a crescent bend of the river Yamuna, 12 km – 20 minutes drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge. More than 40 temples dedicated to the glory of Shiva glisten pearly white along the ghats of the river. A multitude of architectural styles, time periods and historical events are reflected in these simple shrines.
The ghats are evocative of Varanasi and the temples of Pushkar. A timeless landscape, an un-hurried pace and the calm, positive vibe of heartfelt prayer.


Bateshwar Fair

In October-November, the open areas around the temple complex play host to an annual animal fair, the origins of which stretch into antiquity. Of immense significance in the Hindu religious calendar, the fair is also of great commercial importance and is renowned as the 2nd largest animal fair in the country (Sonepur in Bihar being the largest).

The religious fair commences after ten days of animal trading and a lull of 4-5 days. This period is considered the most auspicious for offering prayers at Bateshwar and is an important fixture for saints, sadhus, tradesmen and villagers. A colourful pageant of rural India that is as unchanging as it is timeless.

2018 Fair Dates:

Animal Fair - 03rd November - 10th November
Religious Fair - 19th November - 26th November
Diwali - 7th November; Poornima - 23rd November

2019 Fair Dates:

Animal Fair - 24th October - 30th October
Religious Fair - 8th November - 15th November
Diwali - 27th October; Poornima - 12th November

2020 Fair Dates:

Animal Fair - 11th November - 17th November
Religious Fair - 26th November - 3rd December
Diwali - 14th November; Poornima - 30th November


Holipura Heritage Walk

Holipura village, located at the edge of the Yamuna Ravines, near Bateshwar, is a stronghold of the Chaturvedi clan who claim descent from the Greek soldiers of Alexander’s army. Many of the clan rose to positions of great prominence and built substantial havelis (grand homes) to announce their arrival. Built over a period of time, with influences ranging from Mughal to Colonial and adapted to a rural scenario, the havelis have a unique architectural blend and are a beautiful synthesis of myriad traditions. Several are inhabited by the descendants of the original owners, retaining a certain character and charm. The village is a microcosm of rural Indian life with the symbiotic relationships of the inhabitants reflected in its layout. The interactive walk through Holipura is conducted by a member of the village community, culminating in refreshments at his home.
Holipura is 8 km - 15 minutes drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge.


Bicycle Highway

The 207 km long bicycle highway, inaugurated in November 2016, is an innovative tourism and social outreach project, connecting 92 remote villages whilst offering an alternate means for visitors to access and discover the countryside. Starting from behind the Taj Mahal, looping past little-known monuments and hamlets including Holipura, Bateshwar, Chambal Sanctuary, the highway culminates at the Lion Safari project in Etawah. The access road to the Lodge is in fact a part of the Bicycle Highway. We organize special 2 day events for professional and amateur riders covering all or part of the highway, as well as gentler half day excursions for cycling clubs of all ages. Bicycles are available at the Lodge for those wishing to explore around the Lodge and further afield.


Rapri

The village of Rapri was a prominent revenue centre during the Sultanate and Mughal period, beginning with its conquest by the Afghan invader Muhammad of Ghor in 1194 AD. The Idgah (Mosque) was built in 1312 AD by Malik Kafur (the eunuch slave who rose to become an eminent General of Sultan Ala-ud-Din Khilji). The stately Idgah, and the handsome tombs of the Sufi’s Fidu Miyan and Sheikh Nasiruddin stand out with their unexpected delicate flourishes and imposing presence in the middle of nondescript flat countryside. Rapri is symbolic of the ‘embarrassment of archaeological riches’ that dot the inner-recesses of the Indian countryside.
Rapri is 15 km - 20 minutes drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge.


Bhareh

Bhareh is located at the confluence of the Chambal and Yamuna Rivers, 90 km (2 hours) drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge.

The spectacular drive through a wild, forbidding and undulating landscape cuts across the ravines of both rivers, going deep into one of the remotest and most untouched corners of the Indian heartland. The road runs along, or has been built on, one of the great follies of the British Revenue Department – The Great Hedge (read Roy Moxham’s book of the same name). A 1500 mile long physical barrier of thorny bushes and trees, up to 12 feet high and 14 feet wide in sections, running across the country from Attock to Orissa, to control the smuggling of salt!

The confluence is dominated by the ruins of the majestic fortress of Bhareh, blasted by cannon in 1858 by British forces for supporting the rebellion and an imposing Shiva Temple that is currently undergoing restoration. The temple platform rises 200 feet, providing breathtaking views of the confluence and the surrounding countryside.


Quila Pratap

Quila Pratap bursts into view, rising, now fading, amongst the ravines of the Yamuna. Just 8 km from the colonial settlement of Etawah, Quila Pratap has ruins dating back from the 13th-19th century, and is typical of the small fortresses that levied taxes along the Yamuna. Strategically situated atop the ravines, the blue waters of the Yamuna offset by the rugged hue of the behad (ravines), Quila Pratap is a picturesque footnote in the story of the uprising of 1857. Quila Pratap is 46 km from the Lodge, 60+ minutes drive.


Etawah

The badlands of the Chambal-Yamuna ravines were witness to many of the final battles and skirmishes of the – depending-on-your-allegiance – Indian: First War of Independence or the British: Mutiny of 1857. Etawah was overrun in the early days, causing the District Collector, if local gossip is to be believed, A. O. Hume to beat a hasty retreat disguised in a burqa. He returned, at the head of a relieving army, subduing the rebellion with brutal retributory force.

Hume, however, went on to become an exemplary administrator, modernising the district, providing able & just governance, and establishing institutions of learning. He built a reputation as a keen naturalist and ornithologist (one of the most prominent contributors to the Natural History Museum in London, and has been referred to as both the Father, and/or Pope, of Indian Ornithology), advocated reform and eventually resigned from the service to set up the organization that went on to fight for Indian Independence – the Congress Party.

The tour of Etawah takes in the many buildings associated with Hume’s time in the district, including his residence (built by him and retaining several of the original features), the four public buildings each designed to form a single letter of his name H-U-M-E, the Victoria Memorial – a strange amalgamation of styles built through local subscriptions, the St. Mary’s Church, the British cemetery, the old bazaar and the Jama Masjid mosque.
Etawah is 50 km – 60 minutes drive from the Chambal Safari Lodge.

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