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Ninjas for Turtles: A unique workshop on turtle conservation

Help release the Batagur dhongoka (Three-Striped Roof Turtle). Learn more about identification and census. See how India’s rivers support our wildlife. All in one amazing workshop.


Join us on a unique workshop in the National Chambal Sanctuary Project. Tweet: In this workshop, we will learn more about the critically endangered Red Crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga) and the Three Striped Roof Turtle (Batagur dhongoka).Tweet: We will help release some very cute hatchlings into the river, learn more about the threats they face, work on a plan to help protect them and also learn a bit about turtle census.


Itinerary | Cost, Inclusions & Exclusions | About River TerrapinsSafety Precautions taken | Testimonials | The Team behind | From the blog


Day 1

Early on Friday morning, we will be leaving in a large air-conditioned bus for Bah – a village near the National Chambal Sanctuary Project.


We will check into the air-conditioned Chambal Safari Lodge. After a sumptuous lunch, we would be briefed on biodiversity in the Chambal region before embarking on an exciting Nature Treasure Hunt around the lodge.


After the treasure hunt and tea, an interesting documentary on crocodiles would be shown.


This would be followed by dinner. An exciting day lies ahead.


Day 2

A day filled with activities! Early in the morning, we would all ride to the river banks. We would then take a boat across to a sandbank where World Turtle Day would be inaugurated. You would have a chance of helping release endangered turtle babies into the wild.


After that, you’ll be introduced to the world of turtles, participate in skits, learn about various ways in which wildlife research is done, go on a river safari to learn about the birds and to see the Gharials and the crocodiles of the area.


In the evening, we would have a special chat with you on what can we do to help conserve turtles.


Day 3

Early today, we’ll hike near the Chambal Safari Lodge exploring some of the resident animals, birds and trees there. We will learn about the uses of these trees as well.


After a couple of exciting days in Chambal, all explorers would be heading back to Delhi after brunch. They would know much more about turtles and we would not be surprised if they bring their parents back to this place again.

Cost, Inclusions & Exclusions

₹9,900/- per student




Accommodation for 2 nights in air-conditioned rooms at the Chambal Safari Lodge

All meals: Lunch on day 1 till Brunch on day 3


All activities as mentioned in the programme

All permits and entrance fee

Services of Indebo Staff throughout

Transportation by air-conditioned deluxe coach from Delhi to Delhi

All applicable taxes




Any item not mentioned in the above inclusion eg. Beverages, tips, telephone calls etc.

Water isn’t included as you are expected to carry your own bottle and refill with water from the lodge.

About the Red-Crowned Roof Turtle & the Three-Striped Roof Turtle

Red-Crowned Roof Turtle


Weighing up to 25kg., Batagur kachuga or Red-crowned Roof Turtle is one of the most beautiful species of turtles endemic to South Asia. At the end of the rainy season, the heads and necks of male turtles develop a brilliant courtship coloration of red, yellow, white, and blue, with 6 distinctive bright red stripes on top of the head. The males are about half the size of the females and rainy season is mating season for the turtles.


High levels of hunting and habitat degradation, including pollution and large-scale water extraction projects for agriculture and human consumption, have decimated populations of Red-crowned Roof Turtles in India. The Ganges River is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world and the sandbars along the river, used by the turtles for nesting, have been heavily impacted by sand mining and for growing seasonal crops. Drowning in illegal fishing nets and irregular flow from upstream dams are also a threat to this species.


Turtle Survival Alliance or TSA has made a massive effort in conservation of this species and the species population has gone beyond 400 in recent years. The conservation efforts include tracking, saving of eggs before floods or dam-water-releases, safeguarding hatcheries, keeping a sample for future breeding and with a concerted effort in partnership with Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh forest departments.


Three-Striped Roof Turtle


River Terrapins (genus Batagur) are among the most endangered turtles in the world with five of the six species classified as Critically Endangered. Once abundant in the major river systems of South and Southeast Asia, these species are now faced with extinction due to a variety of human activities including harvesting for domestic consumption and exportation to Chinese food markets. The nesting beaches along the Chambal River are critical to sustain populations and ensure survival of two species. TSA manages intensive conservation programs and with the help of partners such as SOS – Save Our Species is working towards preventing extinction. The Three-Striped Roof Turtle, or Batagur baska is classified as Endangered.

Safety precautions taken during the trip

Your child will be treated with the utmost care on this journey. This is a unique workshop and one that helps you experience the wild side of India directly. As a result, safety is top priority on this journey.


The three organisations involved in this workshop are reputed in their own fields as experts and are well equipped to organise this experience for your child. The Turtle Survival Alliance is a pioneer in rehabilitation and conservation of turtles. It is under their instruction and supervision that all interactions with wildlife will take place. IndeBo, with over 35 years of experience in organising travel for individuals and groups is a known and referred Travel Company. It is accredited by the Ministry of Tourism and a member of the Indian Association of Tour Operators. Chambal Safari Lodge has been pioneering conservation in the National Chambal Sanctuary Project for over 15 years now and their naturalists are some of the best co-ordinators. It is with members of these organisations that your child will be travelling.


Some of the safety precautions that we will employ include:


Air-Conditioned Transport to and from Chambal with seat belts

Transport in the Chambal Region in Mahindra Boleros with seat belts

Adequate supply of safe bottled water for consumption

Life jackets for every child when on the river

Instruction and supervision by experienced researchers when in the sanctuary

Accessibility to First Aid at all times

Doctor-on-call at the lodge

A high staff-to-student ratio of 1:5

Security at the lodge

Food and accommodation quality maintained at the highest standards

Testimonials from 2015

“Hi Tanuja, this is Shikha, Pakhi’s mom. Thank you for the wonderful trip that Pakhi says she had. I hope you will also send us a feedback about how Pakhi participated? I’d really appreciate that. Thank you once again for all the trouble you took. 🙂 Shikha”


“Good Morning, Anindya.


Thanks a lot for organizing a fabulous trip. Shaivi really enjoyed the whole trip and will be very glad to share the photographs and write about her experience too.


I am copying Shaivi and Sharmila in this mail.






“dear anindya da,


it was a great pleasure to read your mail that you sent to my mother, (was i suppose to read it? NO)


this trip was one of the best experiences i have had, as i learnt and saw so much. I met a lot of great people and made a few new friends. Honestly, i could write a book 🙂


the whole Indebo team was wonderful and i apologize if us kids caused any inconvenience 😀


i would really heartily want to thank Rana ji and Gajender ji for their great support and all the amazing cooks of your beautiful lodge.


If you do make an online digest, i would be more than happy to write on it 🙂


from the beginning till the end, it was a wonderful experience and i would give anything to go through it again. only, as i said. it should have been longer.


again, thanking you and your wonderful team for this great trip and learning opportunity,


and in hope for another upcoming trip with you guys


the mischievous kid,




PS here is the picture of the gharial, i really hope you guys can help him out.”

The team behind this project

The team at Turtle Survival Alliance


Dr. Shailendra (Shai) Singh earned his Masters and PhD on Gharial and Red-crowned Roof Turtle. Shai has been spearheading the TSA India Turtle Conservation Program since 2008 as its director, and has been instrumental in the implementation over 131 conservation, research and education projects across the country. He was the first Indian biologist to receive the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2008. Shai is Steering Committee Member of IUCN Steering Committee on Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and Crocodile Specialist Group.


Sneha Dharwarkar spearheads Turtle Survival Alliance-India’s Chambal Turtle Conservation project and is literally working in frying pan to help conserve TSA’s flagship species Red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga). She can stay in field for any number of days without asking for any facilities. Sneha has a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology and apart from her passion and interest in field biology, she brings with her, experience of working in Conservation education.


The team at Indian Outskirts


Having lived in the mountains since birth, Tanuja Sah has a natural fascination for them. Hikes and drives have always fueled this passion. Before shifting to Indian Outskirts, she worked with the mother company, IndeBo. Her experience at the company made her one of the experts of our sailing journeys on the Ganges.


The team at Chambal Safari Lodge


In 1999 Rai Saheb Suraj Pal Singh’s great grandson, birding enthusiast and conservationist Ram Pratap Singh, gave the Mela Kothi a new lease of life when he and his wife Anu decided to turn their inheritance into an eco-lodge. After decades of neglect, the Mela Kothi was meticulously restored and rechristened the Chambal Safari Lodge. Set within 35 sprawling acres of the original heritage plantation surrounded by the family’s farmland, the Lodge is an oasis of peace, tranquillity and gracious hospitality. Ram Pratap and Anu provide a warm welcoming environment with their young son Sumer officiating as ‘chief naturalist-in-charge’! Ram Pratap is a former engineer from IIT Roorkee and Anu is an environmental scientist from London University.

What Soham thought

Ancient Indian mythology narrates the creation of the Chambal River, in a strange and unorthodox manner. The Chambal river, as we know it today, originates in the desert state of Rajasthan, and flows through Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to join the Yamuna and take its name. Mythology however, tells a different story. The word Chambal, or Charmanyavati, means the blood of cows. Legend has it that the mighty river was formed when blood flowed from the heads of a thousand cows sacrificed by a Hindu king. Read more.

What Brishti thought

It was 5:45 am and I was running late. As I somehow got ready and did a last check on my luggage, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, with some toothpaste on my nose. Washing it off, I realised I had forgotten to pack my toiletries. At 6:15, my disorganised, sleepy self was dragged out by my mom. Fast forward a few hours and I find myself in a car looking out at the city opening its eyes and stretching out with the first rays of sunlight. In a few hours, the scenery changed from polluted, dirty and mall-infested, to clean, fresh and lush green. “Chambal Safari Lodge” the board welcomed us and 17 tired, yet enthusiastic children stepped out of their cars and eagerly breathed in the fresh, clean air of this beautiful place we were to stay in. Read more.

From Disha - our past workshop conductor

Recently I reconnected with a school friend after 16 years and I was mildly amused when she said she wasn’t surprised that I am a veterinarian and now pursuing a career in wildlife medicine and conservation. “How so?” I asked. She remembered I’d announced on the microphone that I wanted to be veterinarian during our class 10 Farewell Party. Turns out not many people are surprised by my career choice! If anything, old friends and acquaintances are proud of me for following through with a childhood dream. Click here to read more.

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