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Travel an incredible 1,000 miles on the sacred Ganges covering everything from bustling cities and holy towns to rural villages and vast stretches of untouched wilderness.
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From January - April.
Arrive and transfer to the Oberoi Grand for an overnight stay. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the facilities at the hotel or explore the city independently. (N)
Embark onto the RV Katha Pandaw to begin your 14-night cruise. Sail towards Chandernagore, which was occupied by the French until 1950. Visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix's House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghli, with verses from the Koran written on its walls. (B, L, D)
Land at the country town of Kalna and take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal's most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 lesser shrines. Continue through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple that dominates the skyline. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to the charming riverside brass-working village of Matiari. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the full process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal. (B, L, D)
This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah - the last independent Nawab of Bengal - and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Continue to visit the great Katra mosque and Nashipara and Katgola palaces. (B, L, D)
Cross from the Ganges to the Lower Ganges, or Hooghly river, passing through the lock and canal at Farakka, constructed 1963-75. Before passing into the lock, the great Farakka barrage will be visible just downstream. The barge effectively dams the Ganges and strategically controls the flow of water into neighbouring Bangladesh. This section of the river is rich in birdlife. Overnight at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal. (B, L, D)
Passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to visit the eighth-century Buddhist site of Vikramshila. (B, L, D)
Morning moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one with a mosque and the other a temple dating from the 16th century. On this stretch you may spot Gangetic dolphins as you travel to land at Bhagalpur, a centre of silk production. Here you will visit the 18th-century mansion of the collector, Augustus Cleveland. Continue to Jehangira Island, a place of pilgrimage with rock carvings. (B, L, D)
Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett, the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers. Munger is now a large and industrialised city, but has an interesting history. It houses a Mughal fort and an East India Company cemetery. Visit the famous Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati. (B, L, D)
Travel to Bodh Gaya and visit the Mahabodhi Temple complex dedicated to Lord Buddha, originally believed to be a small shrine erected by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC. The temple was later restored in the 11th and 18th centuries. Today, the temple complex is recognized as a Unesco world heritage site. You will visit the Sacred Bodhi Tree, Vajrasana (the seat of the Buddha's enlightenment), and all the places within the complex where Buddha spent a number of weeks meditating. Return by coach to meet the ship, which has moved downstream to Barh. (B, L, D)
Visit the nearby archaeological site of Chirand before sailing towards the busy river port of Doriganj and on to see the small yet splendid Moghul tomb at Maner. If open, in the afternoon you can also visit the famous Patna museums with their collections of early Buddhist artifacts. (B, L, D)
Cruise downstream to the country town of Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764 between the British and Moghul armies. The Battle of Buxar, together with that of Plassey, laid the foundations of the British Raj. Continue to Madhubani, which displays excellent examples of colourful folk art known as Mithila. (B, L, D)
Cruise on to Ghazipur, still a centre for (official) opium production. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the general defeated by George Washington in 1781, and arguably responsible for the loss of the American colonies. (B, L, D)
This morning arrive in Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in the world. This afternoon visit Sarnath, where it is said Buddha preached his first sermon. (B, L, D)
Take an early morning boat ride along the river Ganges and see the famous bathing 'ghats', the stone steps which lead down to the river where the gathered faithful ritually cleanse themselves. Later, explore the old city by cycle rickshaw before strolling along the ghats to witness the Aarti rituals. (B, L, D)
Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Overnight near the airport at the Holiday Inn Aerocity. (B)
Transfer to the airport and fly home. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is led in each destination en route by a local tour guide. All excursions from the cruise are on a group basis and led by the cruise tour guide.
This cruise can also be done in reverse from Varanasi to Kolkata. In addition to this cruise, Pandaw Cruises also operates a number of cruise itineraries in India.
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
From £1575 pp.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
PKV2020: 16 Nights
Kolkata (Calcutta) was the capital of British India until 1911 and the character of this...