Located at the cross line where the Jurassic territory of Indian reptilians begins stands proudly the Chambal Garden. It is adjacent to the Godavari Dham temple on the banks of the mighty Chambal River. In this stretch, the deep blue waters of the river look majestic and enticing. The river looks charming as well as alluring. The flow of water is not fast due to the presence of a Kota Barrage downstream, just about a kilometer ahead. Due to this, the water bed is very expansive around the area. This section of the river also houses a crocodile sanctuary that is spread across multiple acres of land. The sanctuary is part of the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary. The riverine sanctuary begins from the Kota Barrage.
Around mid-nineties, when my brother-in-law was placed in Kota working for Samcor Glass factory, which manufactured colour picture tubes for televisions in collaboration with an American company, he and many other employees of the company had their residence on the Chambal Garden road. At the time, Kota also boasted of big factories of a few other private sector groups too, including the DCM Group and JK Group apart from the public sector undertaking, Instrumentation Limited. Most of the employees of all these companies would prefer to have their residence on this road.
It was due to the fact that the road was amongst one of the toniest and the busiest parts of the town at that time and had acquired a cult status. In that era, when there were no malls or multiplexes for family outings, the Chambal Garden was one of the favorite places to hang out for the city people in the evenings and on the holidays. The Garden used to be one of the happening places in the town and one could find families spending time and picnicking in the park. The park is big enough to accommodate a lot of many people.
National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary or just the National Chambal Sanctuary or what I like to call the Indian Jurassic Park is one of the most important riverine sanctuaries of the country. It was created in 1978 specifically for the protection of the endangered gharial. It extends over 650 km across the three Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The Kota-Bundi stretch is a 26 km stretch of river between Jawahar Sagar Dam and Kota Barrage. The river flows through a 100-150m gorge in this section. The vegetation of the sanctuary mainly comprises of the riverine species along the coast of the river. On the opposite side of the river is the Kota Thermal Power Plant which happens to be one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in Rajasthan.
Being part of the sanctuary area, as well as due to the presence of a huge reservoir of water, the entire surroundings have been replete with a wide variety of flora and aquatic life. This has made the place an incredible spot to enjoy the cool but welcoming breeze in the garden. In fact, just to match the surrounding natural beauty, the Chambal Garden has also been curated beautifully with a small replica of Taj Mahal, a toy train for young kids as well as for those adults like me who have a little child still alive inside the heart which craves for a ride in the toy trains, river-side watch gallery, Crocodile Pond (though there was neither water nor crocodile in it on the day of our visit), along with the famous Laxman Jhula (replica of the same-named bridge located in the north Indian city of Rishikesh) and many more attractions.
All these things in the garden and the surroundings make the entire place very engaging and fascinating. Last but not the least, one gets to have one of the best views of the mighty Chambal River from this garden as compared to anywhere else. The park also had its own Bollywood moment when it got featured in one of the blockbuster flicks a couple of years back. We spent about an hour in the park and I was inclined to spend an entire evening there but for now, we had to move as we had to explore some other parts of the city. We were on a shoestring time budget. Maybe on our next visit, we will come with more time in our kitty and spend it here along with a boat ride in the Chambal which, as we were told, had been suspended for the time being. Maybe, we might even get to see some of our reptilian friends at that time.
After absorbing the beautiful Chambal Garden and the smooth flowing but majestic Chambal River, we returned on the same iconic road of the yesteryears towards the main city.