GANGA CRUISE – THE HERITAGE UNFOLDS
The vessel sails down the Howrah Bridge, the unique cantilever Bridge across the river Ganga, joining the two metropolises of Kolkata and Howrah. Sail past Howrah Railway Station, one of the busiest train stations in the world, and various heritage sites on the banks of the great river, including numerous temples and bathing ghats, the historical point of arrival of Job Charnock, the House of Dolls, the Nimtolla Ghat, the oldest Gun and Shell Factory in India at Cassipur the tourists arrive at Belur.
Here the visitors disembark to visit Belur Math, a shrine built by Swami Vivekananda, in honour of his great master Ramakrishna Paramhamsa Deb. The visit will give an insight into Sri Ramakrishna’s equality of religions.
By dusk the visitors embark the vessel to sail up-river to Chandannagar, a French colony till 1950. At the Chandannagar Strand, the ancient French colony comes alive with bands recreating French flavour. After a tour of the French Architecture of historical importance in the Strand like the Church, the Clock Tower and the old hotels, now housing the Civil Court and various educational institutions, you will embark the vessel to be treated to a French Dinner, befitting the ambience and the aroma of the French settlement of yore. The vessel sails as you dine and later anchors at Triveni for the night.
The vessel reaches Mayapur, the headquarters of ISKON. The visitors disembark at the divine abode of Lord Krishna. The rich vegetarian lunch at the divine temple at Mayapur tantalizes the taste buds with its purity and simplicity. The Hare Krishna movement of the Gaudiya Vaishnav philosophy believes that Mayapur is the place of birth of Sri Chaitanya and it is the spiritual capital of the world.
Nabadwip, the ancient capital of Lakshman Sen, the famous ruler of the Sen dynasty, situated now on the western bank due to the changing course of Ganga, was a great center of learning and intellectual prowess, referred to as the Oxford of Bengal and the place where Chaitanya Deb was born in 1486. This was captured by Bakhtiyar Khilji, to pave the way for Muslim Rule in Bengal.
Enjoy a stroll through these twin towns of Chaitanya faith and return to the vessel for a quiet evening to let the divine feeling sink in. At night the vessel cruises to anchor at Lal Bagh in front of Hazar Duari, the Palace with thousand doors.
You start the day with a pleasant walk through Khusbagh, an idyllic Mughal-style Garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daullah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and his family, and return to the vessel for breakfast. Later, back on land, visit places of historic interest like the Nizamat Kila (the Fortress of the Nawabs), also known as the Hazar Duari Palace (Palace of a Thousand Doors), built by Duncan McLeod of the Bengal Engineers in 1837 in the Italian style; the Moti Jheel (Pearl Lake) just to the south of the palace; the Muradbagh Palace and the Khushbagh Cemetery, where the remains of Ali Vardi Khan and Siraj-ud-Daulah are interred. After visiting the Hazar Duari Museum - collections of pictures, china, weapons and other objects, see the great Katara Mosque and the 18th Century marvels of the Nashipura Palace and the palace of Jagat Sett, both built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represents the other side of the coin of the “White Mughal” period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion.
After a sumptuous lunch, spend time at leisure to explore the city of silk on your own, looking at how the Indian cottage industry survives on silk weaving, and if you so wish, take the opportunity of being able to purchase the exquisite Murshidabad silk.
Bid good bye to Murshidabad and pass through the historic battleground of Palassey, where Robert Clive’s men defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah’s soldiers ushering in British Rule in India. Entertainment at nightfall is the highlight of the evening as the cruiser winds its way back and the visitors carry with them pleasant memories of historical past and an enjoyable and delightful cruise.
The cruise ends at about 3 PM at the Millennium Park, Kolkata.
On board Activities / Facilities:
The cruiser has several activities onboard to unwind, distress and relax.
Entertainment – Each Day a different form suiting the ambience, the
evening entertainment is almost like a theme party.
The second and third day is filled with activities but spaced out carefully. There are three excursions each day – Early morning, forenoon or afternoon and late afternoon.
All tours are guided tours with the historian, life guards, full service for drinks and munching snacks while on excursions.
may vary depending on tidal and weather conditions.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: E-mail: Deepak Singh, Spiritual Journeys, Inc., 262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA. Ph: 508-358-4267.