Secrets of the Sacred Ganges - Ganges Voyager
Take the guesswork out of exploring iconic India on this fantastic 7-day Ganges River cruise plus 3 days exploring mysterious Varanasi.
India: Drink It In
A land of many cultures and rich traditions, India is a visual delight for visitors. Each of its diverse regions is the product of its deep-rooted past. The 7-day long ship portion of this voyage entails a round trip to Kolkata via Kalna, Chandernagore and other prominent cities. Our luxurious river abode will add more stars to your experience, leaving you with fond memories. In Varanasi, witness the rituals performed during sunrise and the incredible scenes along the Holy River among many other captivating sights. This expedition is a voyage for the senses drawing you into the vivid colors, tastes and sounds of this complex and fascinating culture.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- • Take in tiny villages, fishing ports, mangrove forests that are also the home of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger as they can only be seen from the river.
• Explore the ancient city of Varanasi with all its spiritual and cultural treasures.
• Remove the complexity of exploring India and travel safely and easily on a stunning river cruiser with this expert operator.
Trip Sustainability Awards
Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.
On the East African Energy Renewal Board
Runs local educational facilities for children.
Day 1: Arrive Kolkata, Embarkation
Afternoon embark the ship in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta founded by the British Raj in 1773, the gateway to your journey along the sacred Ganges. You're welcomed onboard with a refreshing beverage followed by a safety briefing. This evening delight in the welcome reception & dinner.
Day 2: Kolkata, Namkhana
Late night or early morning depending on the tide you set sail to reach the fishing port of Namkhana, the gateway to the Sundarbans, sailing past famed Diamond Harbor & Kedgeree towards the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest & vibrant habitat. Visit the fishing port of Namkhana (time permitting) & sail onward towards the Sundarbans to visit protected areas.
Day 3: Namkhana, Bony Camp, Bali Island
Anchoring in the Western Sundarbans today is your first foray into this rich and unique mangrove ecosystem, scaling the Bony Camp Watchtower on an excursion to sight endangered crocodiles, terrapins and many species of Migratory Birds.
Sailing along the Matla river to the Hero Bhangra Islands, you’ll keep a keen eye out for Irrawaddy Dolphins and other marine life. Disembark in a country boat after lunch to visit the serene Nethidopani Watchtower and experience the spectacular nature of the surroundings. Sail onward to Bali Island, a typical village whose inhabitants are engaged in farming, paddy husking, honey packing and fishing
Day 4: Bali Island, Sudhanyakhali, Do Banki & Namkhana
With a gorgeous sunrise you’ll scale the Sudhanyakhali Watchtower, the most popular locale to spot the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger; this vast habitat endows invigorating possibilities of crocodiles, wild boars, axis deer and a wide range of migratory and local birds.
Thereafter you’ll take a small country boat through the narrow creeks to climb the Dobanki watchtower and enjoy a canopy walk at an elevation of 20 feet from the ground and about half a kilometer in length, to reveal the riveting flora and fauna. Return to the ship for a late lunch and sail to Namkhana.
Day 5: Namkhana, Kolkata & Chandernagore
Today we sail upstream past the city of Kolkata and its iconic bridges. Enjoy the Grand Dinner onboard this evening.
Day 6: Chandernagore to Bansberia
You’ll be amazed this morning to breakfast overlooking striking Chanderganore, a French colony established in 1673 & still retaining a Francophone flavour. After breakfast you'll walk along the Promenade to see the French heritage monuments and enjoy the local ambience.
Back onboard, as we sail you’ll witness ever increasing meanders and rolling fields of crops and local industries as you sail to Bansberia, a quaint village said to have derived its name from the legend that a fort was built by the Landlord’s son after clearing a Bamboo (locally called Bans) grove.
Late afternoon enjoy a short walk to visit the Haneswari Temple, known for its unique Ratna architectural style of 12 minars or Ratnas, each shaped like a lotus bud, and the inner layout following human anatomy. You’ll also see in the complex the Ananta Basudeb temple, a terracotta
(burnt brick) temple constructed in the traditional Ekaratna style with curved cornices and richly carved terracotta panels depicting gods and goddesses. In the late afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to witness a traditional Hindu Deepdan ceremony celebration.
Day 7: Bansberia, Bandel, Serampore & Bally Bridge
Sailing from a French enclave to a Portuguese settlement you’ll enjoy breakfast as we traverse the landscape to Bandel, meaning wharf in Bengali, where you’ll visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centers in West Bengal built in 1841. The two-story building and surrounding rooms provide housing for pilgrims as well as classrooms. The structure contains a Victorian-era clock with a winding key weighing 20kg, along with large Persian chandeliers and lamps light the Imambara's stunning hallways and passages.
Next, you’ll sail to an erstwhile Danish colony, Serampore, where you’ll enjoy a late afternoon walk in the old quarters to see the Danish Tavern, St. Olav's Church and other Danish heritage monuments. With Serampore being a popular pit-stop for Danish and English traders in 1786 a British innkeeper called James Parr opened the Denmark Tavern & Hotel, popularly called the Danish Tavern, which became a favorite among Europeans. You’ll also visit St. Olav’s Church, locally known as the Danish Church, one of the 100 buildings that were constructed by the Danish Management between 1755 and 1845. Enjoy dinner onboard as we sail towards Bally Bridge.
Day 8: Bally Bridge, Belur Math, Disembark and Fly to Varanasi
After an early breakfast you'll disembark & continue to visit Belur Math, a significant institution in Kolkata; founded by Swami Vivekananda, a monk who was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. The monument is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.
You’ll disembark with a packed lunch for Kolkata airport for an early afternoon flight to Varanasi. Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Hindus, a center for learning and famous for its silk-weaving and brocades.
On arrival in Varanasi transfer to your hotel for check-in. Late afternoon visit the Ghats (riverbanks) by cycle rickshaw ride and witness the evening “Aarti” ritual on the Ganges from an exclusive boat.
Day 9: Varanasi
You’ll enjoy an incredible Sunrise Boat Tour on the Ganges to witness the rituals performed during sunrise and the incredible scenes along the Holy River.
Post breakfast you’ll visit the Banaras Hindu University, a public central university established in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on land donated by the Kashi Naresh (King of Banaras). Spread over 1,300 acres the campus layout approximates a semicircle, with intersecting roads laid out along the radii or in arcs. Buildings built in the first half of the 20th century are fine examples of Indo-Gothic architecture.
Located within the campus is the Bharat Kala Bhawan, a museum of international importance and is a treasure trove of rare art and artifacts. Its several galleries display a collection of antique and rare sculptures; miniature paintings; Rajasthani, Mughal, and Pahari paintings; coins; jewelry; precious stones of immense historic value. A special literary gallery holds manuscripts of famous authors and a library with rare books.
After lunch you’ll visit the excavation site of Sarnath, the seat where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya. The Archeological Museum (closed on Fridays) here contains a large collection of sculptures that stand testimony to the fervent artistic and religious activity for more than a thousand years.
Accommodation: The Taj Ganges Hotel or similar.
Tag Ganges: True to the city’s timeless spirit, this 5 star hotel in Varanasi shifts gears from urbane luxury to spiritual epiphanies without missing a beat. Whether you’re shopping for exquisite brocade fresh off weavers’ looms or entranced by the light and sound extravaganza of the sandhya aarti (offer of prayers) at Dashashwamedh Ghat, your experience of ethereal Varanasi will be defined by the warmth and opulence at Taj Ganges.
Day 10: Varanasi, Fly to New Delhi
After breakfast you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Arrive Delhi and check-in to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Plaza Airport Hotel or similar
Radisson Blu Plaza: With an ideal location just five minutes from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and 10 minutes from Cyber City, the Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport provides upscale accommodations and convenient city access.
Day 11: New Delhi, Leave for US
Transfer to Delhi international airport for your onward flight. This day includes breakfast.
Please Note: The itinerary may be readjusted due to local conditions and days of the week. Last minute sailing adjustments may also occur. The schedule may shift due to the weather or to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. The exact time for each activity will be announced or posted by the onboard tour staff.
(261 sq. feet/24 sq. meters) Hand-painted walls and prints, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, comfortable seating, French balcony, spacious bathroom with shower. Solo Traveler: $7,095pp
From in USD:
(360 sq. feet/33.4 sq. meters) Colonial décor, Persian rugs, hand-stenciled walls, finely crafted day bed, panoramic French balcony, king bed and a spacious bath. Solo Traveler: $8,595pp
From in USD:
(400 sq. feet/37 sq. meters) Persian rugs, Burma teak floors, rich tapestry, and a writing desk, king bed, panoramic French balcony, tub and shower panels. Solo Traveler: $9,325pp
From in USD:
(280 sq. feet/26 sq. meters) Exquisite four-poster king bed, Persian rugs and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, hand-painted walls, Juliet-style balcony and spacious bath. Solo Traveler: $7,795pp
From in USD:
I wish I had taken a small ship cruise on the Ganges like this when I was in India, even as a rest from other parts of my trip. This operator offers outstanding guiding and accommodations. Highly recommended!
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: