India's Most Stunning River Canyons

You dont need to fly to States to marvel at the distinct landscapes of the Grand Canyon. Instead, check out these river-made formations spread across India
Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh. Photo Credit Shutterstock
Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh. Photo Credit Shutterstock

India has many natural wonders, including river canyons. From the gorges carved by the Chambal River to the Gangani Canyon in West Bengal, these geological formations offer a fascinating blend of beauty and adventure.

Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh
One can visit Gandikota in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh to marvel at this stunning gorge. In the past, owing to its strategic position, this location has served as the seat of power for ancient dynasties ever since its discovery in 1123 by Kakatiya Raja, a subordinate of the then Chalukya ruler. The name Gandikota can be broken into two parts &lsquogandi,&rsquo meaning canyon, and &lsquokota,&rsquo meaning fort. In fact, the entire village in the vicinity is known by this appellation. While Gandikota remains open throughout the year, the optimal time to visit is after the scorching summer months have subsided. During summer, soaring temperatures can render the experience somewhat uncomfortable, and the visual appeal of the canyon may be diminished due to significantly lower water levels. Plan your visit in the early monsoon weeks to have the best experience.

Chambal River Canyon, Rajasthan
This canyon is home to the famous Garadia Mahadev temple, which is situated towards 500-foot high cliffs. A calm Chambal flows through the gorge, and it reflects a beautiful teal colour due to the surrounding greenery and blue skies. If you visit during the rainy season, you may see a few small waterfalls flowing from the rocks. It&rsquos a lovely place to spend some time, so it&rsquos a good idea to bring a light lunch and have a picnic there.

Gangani Canyon, West Bengal
Located at the southwestern corner of West Bengal lies Gangani (or Gongoni), a natural canyon formed by the River Shilabati, reaching depths of nearly 70 feet. According to local legends, this formation is said to be the result of a fierce battle between the demon Bakasura and the Pandava warrior Bheem, leaving behind an indelible mark on the rocks. This is why locals often refer to it as Gangani Danga. Weathered by the water channels and the wind, the lateritic surface has eroded over centuries, now exhibiting myriad formations, from sheer cliffs to earth pillars to caves. While you&rsquore visiting this canyon, you also have the option to walk up to the river bank. Interestingly, the opposite bank has none of this dramatic landscape. Instead, it is a picture of a typical flat plain countryside of south Bengal.

Ravines of Chambal, Madhya Pradesh
The Chambal River offers another breathtaking landscape in Madhya Pradesh. The Beehad (Bihad) areas of the Chambal-Gwalior belt are a unique geographical feature, with gullies around 15-20 feet deep. These sharp and steep mud hillocks stretch across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Although the government plans to develop this area into a safe tourist spot, it has a history associated with bandits. Therefore, it is advisable to go with trusted guides and local authorities since it is yet to be fully developed. The Chambal Beehads or ravines can be reached from nearby towns such as Dholpur (Rajasthan), Morena and Bhind (Madhya Pradesh), and Bah (Uttar Pradesh). If you're planning to visit, you can also enjoy boat rides along the Chambal River. 

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