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Ganga River

Mother Ganga or “Ganga Mata” is the term generally used for Ganges River, the holiest river of India. A major population of India lives along the banks of this holy river. The reverence of this river is unexplainable to the general mass of the world, but it is the lifeline to millions of Indian who leave along its bank. The journey with us will take you through the richness and the contrast of the four states of India, viz. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Our journey begins at the holiest city for the Hindus – Varanasi. Varanasi is were either out package starts or ends – meaning the guests either starts or ends their journey with us here. The charm, the enchantment and the vibration of this city are whatthat all the guests love. The evening boat ride and witnessing the evening ritual from the boat leaveour guests speechless. Thevisit to the nearby sights of Sarnath,where Buddha gave his first summon,adds an insight of the local Buddhist flavor.

Next,our journey by surface takes us to the holiest city for the Buddhist – Bodhgaya – where Buddha attained his enlightenment. The town and the Temple complex is a charming place with a great atmosphere,and onegets to see the melting pot reuniting all the different streams of Buddhism. The travel to our embarkation point takes us through the beautiful countryside of Bihar, with an en-tour stop at Nalanda, the ruins of one of the oldest university in the Indian subcontinent.

Our journey on board RV Bengal Ganga on the lap of Mother Ganges begins with a style and the grandeur of the past. Our first port of call on our downstream journey is Munger. Though the bustling town of Munger was one of the many historical and pre-historical cities along the river Ganges, today is it well known for the Bihar School of Yoga –the one and only place, where one can get an academic training in Yoga.

Continuing our journey along the holy river we sail pass the picturesque town of Sultangunge, famous for its beautiful rock carvings of the Gupta period [5th century AD]. Cruising on the mighty Ganges,the vastness of the water and the beauty of the meandering journey along the sand banks will carry you to the surreal mystical self. The thriving wild life along the river proves its richness and the beauty of giving its true name by Indians as “Maa Ganga” – the Mother Ganges. We cruise through the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, the one and only protected area for the endangered Gangetic dolphins in Asia. The chances of spotting and sighting Gangetic dolphins during the cruise are very high, and adds an excitement to the guests travelling with us.

Our next port of call takes us to through a wonderful inside peek into the true rural live of Bihar. We get to see the life along the river and walk and talk with the locals to know the life, the hardship and the beauty of the simple life of the village, which is long lost for most of our modern day city dwellers. Our visit to the ruins of the Vikramshila University ,prime in the 8thand 9th century AD during the rules of the Pala Dynasty, talks of the rich culture of the past and is always a surprise to the guests.

Our last leg of our journey on the Holy Ganges takes us to one of the important outpost under the Mughal Empire in the 16th century – Rajmahal. As we start approaching the end of our historic journey on the Holy Ganges we travel through the waters of West Bengal and enter into the narrow channel that brings us to the Navigational Lock Gate of Farakka. This stretch of our journey is quite dramatic as the riverbank comes closer and the one can have a nice close look at the life along the river. The spectacle gets more dramatic with the larger groups of children running along our boat and waving to us and shouting at the top of their voice “tata – tata”, wishing us goodbye or saying see you again.

Hooghly River

After crossing the Navigational Lock Gate and travelling through the feeder canal, we cruise through the first distributary of Ganges, the Bhagirathi River, which flows on to form the Hooghly River. The dramatic change in the landscape is noticeable with wonderful lush green fertile flood plans of the golden Bengal that welcomes us. The riverbanks are much closer, which makes the viewing of the life along it, easier and enjoyable at the same time. Our first port of call on this stretch of the river is a wonderful sleepy village of Bengal, Boronagor. This is one of the most interesting village visits in our trip as this village not only gives an insight of the Bengal village life but also have one of the well preserved miniature terracotta temples of Bengal.

We continue our journey to arrive at the 18th century capital of Bengal, Murshidabad. As we approach our mooring place one gets a wonderful river front view of the palace grounds of Murshidabad,which is truly breathtaking. Adding to the charms of the visit to this place, we use the local horse drawn carriage locally called as “Tonga”, but don’t expect a Victorian carriage for the ride.

Our cruise sail past the Battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Robert Clive of British East India Company defeated the then rulers of Bengal Mogul Nawabs, and their French Allies,establishing the company rule in India which expanded over much of South Asia for the next 190 years.During our voyage we come across an interesting village, Matiari, famous for recycling brass and copper utensils to new items. Our downstream journey sail across the holy town of Mayapur, which is the headquarter of ISKCON commonly known as the Krishna Consciousness movement all over the world. As we approach this townthe thing that catches our eye is the skyline that is predominated with an enormous Temple dome and another one under construction.

We continue our journey through the beautiful countryside of Bengal andmoor at Kalna. The visit toKalna is one of the highlights in your journey with us. Here we visit the beautiful terracotta temples of Bengal and 108 Shiva temples, one of its kinds in this region. Time permitting one will also get a chance to walk through the local market and to get an inside view of the life of this part of Bengal.

We continue our last leg of the voyage on the Hooghly River travelling through the different Colonial settlements of the 19th century. The different European East India Companies settled down here and left back their marks dotted along the bank of the Hooghly River; out of which the French township of Chandernagore is quite remarkable. The final point in our journey takes us to the mega city and the second largest cities of India – Kolkata, formally know as Calcutta. Entering Kolkata on board RV Bengal Ganga is a unique experience as we cruise underneath the famous “Howrah Bridge” the landmark of the city, and is the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The magnificent skyline of Kolkata,which welcomes us, is totally breathtaking as we cruise past the beautiful historic downtown center of Kolkata to moor at our final disembarkation point near Botanical Garden.

The Bengal Ganga family is waiting to welcome you, so come and join us to experience your lifetime journey on board RV Bengal Ganga.

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