Itinerary

Thu 31 Oct

Independent arrival in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and transfer to the spacious and elegant RV Bengal Ganga, a classic river boat and your home for the next seven days. After dinner, you will be treated to a Bengali classical dance performance.

Fri 1 Nov

Early morning coach tour of Kolkata. Start at Dalhousie Square, home to several colonial heritage monuments, before heading to St. John’s Church and the Victoria Memorial. Return to the boat for lunch and the start of your upstream journey. After dinner there will be a talk on Kalna’s Tantric temples.

Sat 2 Nov

The morning is in Kalna. Take a rickshaw to the Rajbari temple complex, which contains a unique mixture of Bengal’s temple architecture. Return to the riverboat for lunch and travel to Matiari. In the evening there will be a performance of Baol music by local artists.

Sun 3 Nov

Take an excursion to Matiari, known for the manufacture of handcrafted brass and copper items. Stroll through the village and witness a variety of brass-working processes, then return to the boat and cruise towards Khushbagh, a charming shore-side village.

Mon 4 Nov

Pre-breakfast visit to Khushbagh and the chance to visit the mosque complex. Later there is an excursion to Baranagar and the famous Char Bangla Temple, dedicated to Shiva by the Queen of Natore, with scenes from Hindu epics depicted in terracotta on the temple walls. Visit the Jain Temples at Azimgani, followed by lunch in a recently-restored mansion house. Return to the boat and travel to Murshidabad, rich in colonial architecture. Ride by tongas to and from the impressive Katra Mosque. The performance that night is Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music.

Tue 5 Nov

After breakfast walk to the Hazarduari Palace Museum which has more than 1000 real and false doors and a wide collection of antiquities including paintings, statues, manuscripts and palanquins. Return to the boat for the rest of the day at leisure before the evening lecture on the history, religious significance and wildlife of the 'Mother Ganges'.

Wed 6 Nov

Enjoy a cooking demonstration by the onboard Chef, followed by lunch. Afternoon excursion to Bandel, a region that played an important role in the Indian Independence Movement and visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous pilgrimage centres in West Bengal. Ride on electric rickshaws to Chandernagore and explore the colonial buildings of this former French colony. Return to the boat to commence the return to Kolkata. Evening performance of Rabindra Sangeet, a colonial art form, followed by a farewell dinner.

Thu 7 Nov

Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Varanasi, the holiest town for Hindus. Drive to Sarnath and stop at the Archeological Museum, home to a large collection of sculptures that stand testimony to the artistic and religious activity of more than 1000 years. Check-in at the Taj Gateway Hotel. After lunch ride a cycle rickshaw through the old part of the city. Continue on foot to the Ghats (riverbank) and later witness the evening ‘Aarti’ ritual on the Ganges by boat. This is followed by dinner in the hotel.

Fri 8 Nov

Arise at dawn for a boat tour on the Ganges and experience the rituals performed at sunrise. Lunch in the hotel is followed by a visit to the house of a music family, traditionally known as 'gharana' for a classical Raga performance. Transfer by boat to the Peshwa Haveli mansion for a farewell dinner, accompanied by a show introducing various forms of Indian classical dance along with a performance of Bharatnatyam, regarded as the mother of all Indian classical dance forms.

Sat 9 Nov

Independent departure with breakfast and lunch provided at the hotel.

Programme

Please see the itinerary for full details.

Independent Travel

Please note that international flights are not included in the price of the tour.

Prices per person

Tour price £3800
Single room supplement £130
Deposit required £500
Tour code GAN1

Tour price includes: Seven nights full-board accommodation on board RV Bengal Ganga, complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water, complimentary Indian soft drinks, one pint of loc al beer at lunch and two glasses of local wine at dinner, two nights full-board hotel accommodation in Varanasi, sharing a twin or double room, all shore excursions, entrances, lectures and performances as listed in the itinerary. One-way economy class airfare Kolkata/Varanasi.