BHAREH, INDIA: For many centuries, it was a curse that saved the river.
It was a series of curses, actually, a centuries-long string of unrelenting bad news in this rugged, hidden corner of northern India's industrial belt. There was an actual curse at first, a longheld belief that the Chambal river was unholy. There was the
land itself, and the more earthly curse of its poor-quality soil. And above all there were the bandits, hiding in the badlands and causing countless eruptions of violence and fear
Today, tucked in a hidden corner of what is now a deeply polluted region, where the stench of industrial fumes fills the air in dozens of towns and tons of raw sewage is dumped every day into many rivers, the Chambal has remained essentially wild.