The Upper Ganges River(Upstream)
In late 2019 we will inaugurate an ‘all Ganges’ voyage of one thousand miles from Kolkata to Varanasi. Though in the days of the British Raj paddle steamers plied this route on a regular basis, with the advent of the railways in India river navigation was abandoned and the rivers were allowed to silt up. Now thanks to a multi-million dollar investment from the Indian Government channels have been dredged and buoyed and hi tech GPS based aids installed enabling seasonal navigation.
Varanasi, said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet is the most sacred city of Hinduism and a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats. Varanasi is surely the goal of any ‘passage to India’ and at the other end of the holy river stands Kolkata, in all its Raj-like magnificence. Between lies several of the most important Buddhist sites including Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya and cities great and small and between urban centres and great pilgrim sites are expanses of empty river teeming with bird life, not to mention the Gangeatic dolphin.
No vessel could be more appropriate for a voyage on ‘All the Ganges’ than the much-loved Katha Pandaw, constructed originally in Vietnam in 2008 that hasseen service there, in Cambodia and in recent years in Burma. Refitted for expedition sailings in India, we have reduced the number of staterooms from sixteen to fourteen to create an enlarged indoor saloon / dining area as winter cruising in India can be chilly first thing.
Important Notice: The cruise schedule includes the latest information regarding your program, but last minute adjustments may 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.
Please Note:This itinerary passes through the state of Bihar. In this state it is illegal to serve any drinks containing alcohol. For this reason we will not be able to serve alcohol onboard the ship while in the state of Bihar. This will affect the Upstream itinerary from day 6 until the afternoon of day 12 and for the Downstream itinerary from day 3 until the afternoon of day 9.
Cruise Price Includes: Transfer to/from Ship, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes.Cruise Price Includes: Transfer to/from Ship, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes.
Price Excludes: International flights, laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes, tipping for guide and drivers.
Please Note: We suggest to change money at a bank at the international airport before exiting (currently there is shortage of new money bills in India).Please Note: We suggest to change money at a bank at the international airport before exiting (currently there is shortage of new money bills in India).
KOLKATAEmbark and sail to Chandernagore, a French possession 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 wallsEmbark and sail to Chandernagore, a French possession 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 vv
KALNALand 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 on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON(International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.
MATIARIMorning visit to the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive 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.
MURSHIDABADThis morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden thatencloses 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.
FARAKKACross from the Lower Ganges or Hoogly River to the Ganges itself through the Farraka canal and lock, that was constructed 1963-75. Passing into the great river the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and strategically controls the flow of water into neighboring Bangladesh. We enter a section of river rich in bird life. Overnight at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal.
BATESHWARSTHANPassing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor atthe pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to visit the 8th century Buddhist site of Vikramshila.
SULTANGANJOn this stretch we hope to see Gangeatic dolphins and land at Bhaglapur, a centre of silk production, and visit the 18th century mansion of the Collector, Augustus Cleveland. Contunue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with rock carvings. In the evening we moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one with a mosque and the other a temple dating from the 16th century.
MUNGER AND MOKAMAMunger is now a large and industrialised city but has an interesting history with a Mughal fort and an East India Company cemetery. Visit the famous Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati. Stop atMokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers.
NALANDA AND BODHGAYADisembark at Barh and drive 60km to the archaeological site of Nalanda, the great 5th century Buddhist university. Continue to Bodh Gaya for lunch and a rest in a hotel. Afternoon exploring this UNESCO world heritage site arranged around the Maha Bodhi temple where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in the 5th century BC. This is a global centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all denominations and it is fascinating to tour the many monasteries around all built in various national styles – Tibetan, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, etc. Return to the hotel for dinner and then take the Janshatbabdi Express train to Patna to meet the ship around 11pm that has moved up through the day.
DORIGANJIf open, visit the famous Patna museums with their collections of early Buddhist artifacts and cast off to stop to see the small yet splendid Moghul tomb at Maner. Sail to the confluence with the Manek to moor at the busy river port of Doriganj. Visit the nearby archaeological site of Chirand and on to the confluence with the Gaghra
BUXARWe visit the battlefield, remembered for the 1764 battle between the British and the Moghuls. Then on, time permitting, to Madhubani which is a great centre of Mithila painting, the wonderfully vivid and colourful folk art of this part of Bihar.
GHAZIPURStop at Ghjazipur, home to the world’s largest opium factory, and visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis (who lost Yorktown) and latterly governor of India, where he was to pass away in 1805.
VARANASIThe oldest and holiest city of India established in the 11th century BC and today with over 2,000 living temples. We visit Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Lord Buddha gave his first sermon with its archaeological museum.
VARANASITake rowing boats for sunrise over the bathing ghats and after breakfast explore the old city by cycle rickshaw. Evening walk along the ghats and witness the ‘Aarati’ rituals.
DISEMBARKATIONMorning coach transfer to Taj Hotel "The Gateway on the Ganges".
|Start Date||End Date||Cruise Name|
|12th October 2019||26th October 2019||RV Katha Pandaw|
|9th November 2019||23rd November 2019||RV Katha Pandaw|
|24th November 2019||8th December 2019||RV Kindat Pandaw|
|7th December 2019||21st December 2019||RV Katha Pandaw|
|22nd December 2019||5th January 2020||RV Kindat Pandaw|
|4th January 2020||18th January 2020||RV Katha Pandaw|
|19th January 2020||2nd February 2020||RV Kindat Pandaw|
|1st February 2020||15th February 2020||RV Katha Pandaw|
|16th February 2020||1st March 2020||RV Kindat Pandaw|
|29th February 2020||14th March 2020||RV Katha Pandaw|
|28th March 2020||11th April 2020||RV Katha Pandaw|
|12th April 2020||26th April 2020||RV Kindat Pandaw|