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Textiles, Art & Culture of the Ganges
River Cruise

28 February - 10 March 2023
 

Ganges River Cruise

Price

from USD2780 pp sharing

Duration

10 nights / 11 days

Travel Type

Group Tour (Hosted)

Service Level

Cruise Ship on the Ganges

Travel Style

Textile, Art & Culture

Physical Rating

Walking fit

Take a river cruise on the Ganges River on board a handcrafted boutique ship where you'll traverse untouched Indian landscapes - with unmatched hospitality on board - for an unforgettable journey of a lifetime.

As you immerse yourself in the textile, art, culture, heritage & natural habitats of the indigenous folk you'll experience a low-impact responsible river cruise. 

This itinerary features:

Kolkata | Bandel | Kalna | Mayapur | Guptipara | Fulia | Chandernagore | Kolkata

WE CELEBRATE THE FESTIVAL OF HOLI by playing with colours, music and dancing on the Sun Deck of the Ship

5 BEST REASONS TO TAKE A GANGES RIVER CRUISE

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Tour Highlights

Kolkata
Kolkata

Once the capital of British India, Kolkata is the bustling capital of West Bengal and often referred to as the cultural heart of India. Colonial landmarks battle for space with colourful temples and lively markets present a sensory overload.

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Bandel
Bandel

Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centres in West Bengal, built in 1841 by Haji Mohammad Mahasin

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Chandernagore
Chandernagore

This is where we celebrate the festival of Holi. Fondly known as the "Europe on the Ganges" this ensemble is a unique cultural landscape, an exceptional centre of maritime trade in the 17th Century.

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Kolkata
Kolkata

Once the capital of British India, Kolkata is the bustling capital of West Bengal and often referred to as the cultural heart of India. Colonial landmarks battle for space with colourful temples and lively markets present a sensory overload.

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DAILY SCHEDULE:

28 Feb '23  -  Arrive Kolkata

1 March '23 - Kolkata

2 March '23 - Kolkata Embarkation (L/D)

3 March '23 - Kolkata | Bally Bridge (B/L/D)

4 March '23 - Bally Bridge |  Bandel (B/L/D)

5 March '23 - Bandel | Kalna (B/L/D)

6 March '23 - Kalna | Nabadwip | Mayapur (B/L/D)

7 March '23 - Mayapur | Guptipara | Fulia  (B/L/D)

8 March '23 - Chandernagore | Kolkata (B/L/D)

9 March '23 - Kolkata Disembarkation (B)

10 March '23 - Kolkata 

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Our River Cruise Ship - Rv Antara Bengal Ganga

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1  - 28 February '23
Arrive Kolkata (Flight TBA)

Arrive Kolkata; You will be met and transferred to the hotel.

 

Once the proud capital of the British Raj, Kolkata is deeply evocative of an era and sensibility lost in time. Established as the trading post for the East India Company on the banks of the Hooghly River by Job Charnock in 1690, it grew to be the biggest colonial trade center in Asia, earning it the name "Jewel of the East.

 

Today, much of the city's architectural heritage stands crumbling and in ruins, its monumental colonial structures not nearly as well maintained as those of Mumbai. Moss and grime cover tattered buildings that should be celebrated as the city's finest -- the collapsing masonry, peeling paint, and sun-scorched woodwork testaments to the indifference of time.

 

Overnight: The Peerless Inn

https://peerlesshotels.com/the-peerless-inn-kolkata/ 

Day 2  - 01 March '23
Kolkata 

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Breakfast at the hotel. 

09.00 hrs: Venture out to explore Kolkata.

 

Visit Indian Museum: Built by Granville to house the collection from the Asiatic society. This is India’s most important collection of sculpture.

 

South Park Street Cemetery is famous as one of the earliest non-church cemeteries in the world.

 

Visit Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Rabindranath Tagore. It houses a magnificent collection of artefacts related to the life of Tagore. A must visit for lovers of history and culture. 

If time permits, visit the Marble Palace, a unique and whimsical collection of sculptures, painting and other artefacts in a stunning, Neoclassical style Bengali house.

 

19.00 hrs: Transfer to the farewell dinner venue - 6 Ballygunge Place 

(https://6ballygungeplace.in/

Return to the hotel after dinner. 

Overnight: The Peerless Inn

https://peerlesshotels.com/the-peerless-inn-kolkata/ 

Day 3  - 2 March '23
Kolkata Embarkation (L/D)

Very early morning (06:30) transfer to the flower market. Here we walk through the market to see the trading of magnificent flowers. Followed by a visit to Kali Temple - Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in Kalighat, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava.

 

 

 

Return to the hotel for breakfast. 

10:00 : Transfer to the jetty to embark the Bengal Ganga. Lunch onboard.

 

Visit the Weaver’s Studio, a Textile Study and Resource Centre for an introduction to some of the fabulous fabrics and weaves we will encounter on our travels. Weavers Studio’s creations are inspired by historical textiles, Indian trade cloths, seasons, ethnic tribes, across the border cultures and contemporary techniques. Their collection comprises of specialized fabrics, stoles, scarves, shawls, patch scrolls, art textiles, sarees and garments.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga

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Day 4  - 3 March '23
Kolkata | Bally Bridge (B/L/D)

Morning after breakfast, embark on a Panoramic Tour of Kolkata

 

The tour features a view of the well preserved British colonial buildings in Kolkata: Writer's Building, General Post Office, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), Town Hall, Council House, Treasury Building, Reserve Bank of India and Dalhousie Square. We proceed to visit St. John's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Kolkata, built in 1756. The tour features the oldest functioning pipe organ in India, a painting of the Last Supper by German artist, Johann Zoffany, and several tombs of British Generals who died during the Siege of Kolkata by Nawab Shriaj Ud Daula in 1756. Then we visit the grand Victoria Memorial Museum, which houses the largest collection of British colonial historical artefacts.

Return to the ship for lunch and start to sail upstream passing below the cantilevered Howrah Bridge and seeing various colonial buildings along the Ganges River.

 

We moor for the night on the outskirts of Kolkata city near the Bally Bridge.

 

Overnight on onboard Bengal Ganga.

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Day 5  - 4 March '23
Bally Bridge | Bandel (B/L/D)

This morning we set sail upstream to Bandel, meaning port in Bengali was founded by Portuguese settlers who built the Church and a Monastery around 1660. 

We visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centres in West Bengal, built in 1841 by Haji Mohammad Mahasin. The two-story building and surrounding rooms provide housing for pilgrims as well as classrooms, or Madrasa that teach the Koran. The structure contains a Victorian-era clock with a winding key weighing 20kg. Large Persian chandeliers and lamps light the Imambara's stunning hallways and passages.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

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Day 6  - 5 March '23
Bandel | Kalna (B/L/D)

Today we sail further upstream to the temple town of Kalna.

 

Ride rickshaws to the enchanting Rajbari Temple Complex, which has the highest concentration of temples in the region. Visit the Nabakailas Temple, built in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja, which contains 108 eight slope-roofed shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other temples in the complex feature diverse architecture and terra cotta plaques depict themes of Hindu epics, mythical life of Sree Chaitanya, images of Durga, and various aspects of day-to-day life in the region.

 

We also visit a local Weaver’s home to see the traditional Weaving of Muslin Cloth. Muslin or “malmal” is a cotton fabric of plain weave made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. Early muslin was handwoven of uncommonly delicate handspun yarn. Return to the ship walking through the local market.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 7  - 6 March '23
Kalna | Nabadwip | Mayapur (B/L/D)

Early morning, we sail towards Nabadwip, arriving by the afternoon. Literally meaning New (Nab) Island (Dwip), it is the birthplace and abode of Saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Hindu Vaishnav religion and a great social reformer. Once the capital of the Sena Dynasty under King Lakshman Sena who ruled during the 12th century, the town was an important center of education, religion and culture.

 

Post lunch we will explore the riverbank village by walk to see the local people engaged in Handloom Weaving of Cotton fabric, mainly saris and stole/scarves and other activities.

 

Ride the country boat across the river to visit Mayapur, the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Guests can experience the fascinating culture of these followers and their ornate, colourful decorated statues of Krishna. The new temple built to commemorate the Jubilee year of ISKCON in 2016 and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great grandson of car-maker Henry Ford, can be compared to the Vatican. It also contains a 75- foot domed planetarium. Meet Krishna followers and walk through the pilgrim’s bazaar.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Nabadwip Weaving Village.jpg

Day 8  - 7 March '23
Mayapur | Guptipara | Fulia (B/L/D)

Festival of Dol-Jatra, Bengali Holi:

 

This morning a short sail brings us to Guptipara, a rural town, renowned for its paddy fields and the Himsagar mango. Explore the town visiting the Vaishnav temples that contain some fantastic terracotta works. All the structures bear characteristics of the Bengal school of architecture, with carvings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics. The Ratha-Yatra (Chariot Festival) is Guptipara’s greatest festival and the temple chariot is one of the tallest and oldest in West Bengal. Visit a Potter’s home (potter may not be working due to Holi festival) to see and interact with the artisans creating various clay items.

In the afternoon, we sail across to the opposite riverbank and visit the weaving village of Fulia (weavers may not be working due to Holi festival). After the partition of India and the division of Bengal into West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), many skilled weavers from Bangladesh, came and settled here and the region become a renowned centre for hand-woven fabrics. With government encouragement and support, the talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished. Fulia specializes in a combination of Jacquard and Jamdani Saree Weaving. Jamdani is typically handloom woven fabric using a mixture of cotton and gold thread. It is one of the most time and labor-intensive forms of handloom weaving, and the most artistic textile rich in motifs.

 

Dol-Jatra is based on the legend of Krishna and Radha in which Lord Krishna expressed his love to his beloved Radha on this full moon day (Purnima). Like Holi, colored powder is a key part of festivities, and is known as phag in Bengali. The application of phag starts with a degree of reverence as the powder is applied to pictures of deceased family members, then on the feet of elders as a mark of respect. From then on, it is open season, with everyone up for being given a 'mark of respect' - basically to get covered in color. The festival is also known as the 'Swing Festival' as idols of both Krishna and Radha are paraded on highly decorated palanquins (a type of open sedan chair), which are swung around. Women will sing songs while the men spray colored powder at the idols. Dol-Jatra also has an added significance for Bengalis, as it marks the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a great 16th century Vaishnava saint and poet, regarded by some as an incarnation of Krishna.

 

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

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Day 9  - 8 March '23
Fulia | Chandernagore | Kolkata(B/L/D)

Festival of Holi 

 

This morning we sail further downstream to Chandernagore, which was established as a French colony in 1673. The French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal to establish a trading post on the riverbanks of this city, which became a permanent French settlement.

 

We will celebrate Holi festival when we reach Chandernagore. You will be invited on the Sun Deck and celebrate this festival by playing with colors and with music and dancing. So, do not miss a chance to make it an unforgettable memory of your life.  

Explore the French colonial buildings walking along the promenade, including the former French governor's residence, now converted to a museum (No inside visit as will be closed due to Holi festival) that features an exhibition of items that depict life during this period. Also visit the Sacred Heart Church, designed by French Architect Jacques Duchatz. The church was inaugurated in 1884 and stands for over two centuries to mark the beauty of the architecture during the French period.

Return to the ship and continue our journey back to Kolkata en route we halt to visit the Serampore College (visit from outside as will be closed due to Holi), the oldest university in India to be in continuous operation. It was founded in 1818 by the English missionaries known as the Serampore Trio whose aim was to give an education in arts and sciences to students of every "caste, colour or country" and to train people for ministry in the growing church in India. Also visit the St. Olav’s Church, locally known as the Danish Church, it was one of the 100 buildings that were constructed by the Danish Management between 1755 and 1845. The church is not particularly Scandinavian, but reflects the designs of contemporary churches in British India, in particular those in Calcutta, which were inspired by contemporaneous designs popular in Britain, such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

Continue sail to Kolkata and moor for the night.

Evening farewell dinner.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

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Day 10  - 9 March '23
Kolkata Disembarkation (B)

Breakfast on board Rv Antara Bengal Ganga. Disembark the ship and transfer to your hotel by coach.

Overnight: The Peerless Inn

https://peerlesshotels.com/the-peerless-inn-kolkata/ 

Day 11  - 10 March '23
Kolkata Outbound (Flight TBA)

Breakfast at the hotel

One-time transfer to the Kolkata International Airport to board your flight to your next destination

End of Service

Terms & Conditions of the Tour

Base Cost of Tour : USD2780 pp sharing

Single Supplement Fee  : USD665

Tour is costed on Superior Twin (Main Deck) rooms on the ship, there are other categories of rooms UPON REQUEST

Amenities | Inclusions | Exclusions

ACCOMMODATION : River Cruise

RV ANTARA BENGAL GANGA

  • Superior Cabin on Main Deck with fixed Twin beds

  • Luxury Honeycomb Spa Robes with Slippers

  • All-Natural Spa-quality Bath Amenities

  • In-room Electronic Safe & Individual Climate Control

  • High Quality Linens with Duvet and Premium Mattresses

  • Bottled Water Replenished Daily

  • Welcome Flower Arrangement & Fresh Fruit Upon Arrival

  • Complimentary Wireless Internet in Public Areas

  • Hair Dryer

  • Multi-Configuration Plugs

  • Generous Closet Space and Under-Bed Storage

  • Tea/Coffee Maker in premier suites.

ACCOMMODATION & SERVICES : KOLKATA

THE PEERLESS INN

https://peerlesshotels.com/the-peerless-inn-kolkata/ 

  • 3 nights accommodation

  • Daily breakfast at the hotel

  • Welcome dinner at 6 Ballygunge Place

  • Separate arrival and departure transfers (Twin Share 02 persons in one car & Singles in one car)

  • Other all transportation, transfers and sightseeing by an exclusive chauffeur driven air-conditioned local coach (23 seater coach) as per the itinerary

  • All entrances to monuments during sightseeing as per itinerary

  • Services of an English speaking local guide during the tour 

  • All current applicable taxes, including GST @ 5% 

COMPLIMENTARY EXCURSIONS AMENITIES : BENGAL GANGA

  • Transfers to/from Jetty for embarkation/disembarkation.

  • Shore Excursion Program Series including All Admissions

  • Shoe Cleaning after Excursions

  • Welcome Drink and Cold Towel Service following Excursions

  • Maximum 20-24 Guests Per Guide on All Excursions

  • Private Motor Coach on All Excursions where applicable

INCLUDED DINING & ENTERTAINMENT : BENGAL GANGA

  • An Expertly Trained Culinary Team providing Buffet Breakfast, Buffet Lunch & Seated

  • Multiple Course Dinner.

  • Special meal requests like vegan, gluten/lactose free etc. can be arranged with advance

  • information.

  • Complimentary Indian brand Mineral Water, Tea & Coffee.

  • Series of Cultural Performances, Educational Talks, Cooking Classes, Movie Shows and

  • Ship Tour.

  • Welcome & Farewell Receptions

  • Air-conditioned Lounge

  • Indoor board games and books to read in the lounge

OTHER FACILITIES on chargeable basis : BENGAL GANGA

  • Specialty Coffees

  • Full service Bar with Indian and imported liquor (wine, beer, spirits)

  • Spa Facilities

  • Boutique

  • Laundry

NOT INCLUDED:  

BENGAL GANGA

  • Taxes GST, subject to revision.

  • Waterways/Jetty Passenger Service Fees

  • Airfare to/from Destination

  • Specialty Coffees, Wines, Beer & Spirits

  • Shipboard Gratuities

  • All Incidentals

 

KOLKATA

  • Meals other than specified above 

  • Video or Still camera charges. 

  • Any expense of a personal nature, like liquor, laundry, telephone calls etc 

  • Any other expense not mentioned in the prices include column

Rv ANTARA BENGAL GANGA