Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Price starting from: US$ 5,022
Day 1 - Kolkata
We will pick up you from airport or railway station or your hotel in Kolkata and transfer to embark and sail to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Here 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.
Day 2 - Kala
Today 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 followed by a visit to Mayapur to see 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.
Day 3 - Matiari
Morning 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.
Day 4 - Murshidabad
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.
Day 5 - Farakka
Cross 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 neighbouring Bangaladesh. We enter a section of river rich in bird life. Overnight at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal.
Day 6 - Bateshwarsthan
This day you will be passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to visit the 8th century Buddhist site of Vikramshila.
Day 7 - Sultangan
On 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. Continue 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.
Day 8 - Munger and Modama
Now a days a large and industrialised city, Munger 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 at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers.
Day 9 - Nalanda and Bodhgaya
Disembark at Barh and drive 60 Km 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. 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.
Day 10 - Doriganj
Today you will be visiting the famous Patna museums (if open) 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.
Day 11 - Buxar
We 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.
Day 12 - Ghazipur
Stop 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.
Day 13 - Varanasi
The 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.
Day 14 - Varanasi
Take 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.
Day 15 - Disembarkation
Morning coach transfer to Taj Hotel "The Gateway on the Ganges".
14 Night Cruise, cruising from Kolkata to Varanasi on board Katha Pandaw. Going into the incredible stream the incomparable Farraka torrent will be noticeable simply downstream.