Slowly on the Ganges

UPRIVER: KOLKATTA (Calcutta) – VARANASI (Benares)
15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS


CALCUTTA – BARRACKPORE – CHANDERNAGORE – KALNA – PLASSEY – KUSHBAGH – FARRAKA BARRAGE – MUNGER – BODH GAYA- PATNA – SARNATH – VARANASI (BENARES)


DAY 1: KOLKOTTA (CALCUTTA)
Arrive Calcutta (now called Kolkotta) and transfer from airport to embark on the RV Bengal Pandaw moored in the Hugli River close to the city centre. City orientation tour in afternoon; moor overnight at the Outram Ghat.

DAY 2: BARRACKPORE
Further explorations of colonial Calcutta, arguably the greatest of the British Raj cities with a stupendous architectural heritage. Still largely intact, highlights include the Queen Victoria monument and neo-gothic law courts. Cast off at midday and cruise the Hugli River to Serampore a former Danish colony and Barrackpore cantonment where the gardens of flagstaff house contain a collection of former British statues removed from the streets of Calcutta.

DAY 3: CHANDERNAGORE
Chandernagore – a French colony until 1950, we visit the house of Dupleix, a small museum, an 18th century church and then on by bus to visit the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura and a Portugese church at Bandel where we rejoin the ship.

DAY 4: KALNA
Kalna – cycle rickshaw tour of Bengali terracotta temples. The river here narrows and the Bengal countryside lush and green.

DAY 5: PLASSEY
Visit the battlefield of Plassey where Clive of India defeated the French in 1757 and the fascinating brassworks at country village of Metiari.

DAY 6: KUSHBAGH
Kushbagh – with its Moghul gardens and tombs. Visit the vast Hazarduari Palace built in 1837 by an English architect. Further visits to the Katra mosque, and the late 18th century Nashipara and Katgola palaces. Overnight at Baranagar famous for its lovely miniature temples.

DAY 7: FARRAKA BARRAGE
Cruise the Farraka Feeder Canal and enter the Ganges by lock at the Farraka Barrage

DAY 8: MUNGER
Cruise up the Ganges. Here the river is 2km across and vast panoramas unfold. The river is rich in activity with fishermen and country boats. At Munger we stop to visit the Bihar School of Yoga which lies within the 15th century Munger Fort. Near the fort is an 18th century British cemetery.

DAY 9: BIHAR STATE
Cruising through the heart of Bihar state seeing a rural India remote from the tourist track and rarely visited by foreigners. Stop for a walk ashore.

DAY 10: BODH GAYA
Day trip to the ruins of the vast Buddhist university at Nalanda and then on after lunch in a local hotel to Bodh Gaya place of the Buddha’s enlightenment and a major centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all sects from all countries.

DAY 11: PATNA
Patna – explore the town with its huge hemispherical Golghar grain silo built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin, the State Museum with its Mauryan and Pala period Buddhist sculptures, and if traffic permits, the eclectic Jalan Museum where Napoleon’s bed is on display. Cast off at mid day..

DAY 12: CRUISING
Cruise all day with a village stop for a walk.

DAY 13: SARNATH
Cruise all morning and afternoon coach trip to visit the important Buddhist site at Sarnath.

DAY 14: VARANASI (BENARES)
Early morning moor off the Varanasi (Benares) Ghats. Explore on foot the Ghats, palaces, temples and museums of this one of the oldest cities in the world,. Varanasi contemporary with 7th century BC Babylon and Nineveh is the cultural heart of Hindu India at its richest and most beautiful. Evening boat trip to observe the spectacular ritual fire dances to Lord Shiva held on the Ghats.

DAY 15: DISEMBARK
Disembark from the ship at Varanasi (Benares) and transfer to your city location.


DOWNRIVER: VARANASI (Benares) KOLKATTA (Calcutta)
15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS

VARANASI (BENARES) - SARNATH – PATNA- BODH GAYA – MUNGER - FARRAKA BARRAGE - KUSHBAGH – PLASSEY – KALNA – CHANDERNAGORE - BARRACKPORE – CALCUTTA


DAY 1: VARANASI (BENARES)
Embark at the Varanasi (Benares) ghats. Explore by foot the ghats, palaces, temples and museums of this one of the oldest cities in the world. Varanasi was contemporary with 7th century BC Babylon, is the cultural heart of Hindu India at its richest and most beautiful. Evening boat trip to observe the spectacular ritual fire dances to Lord Shiva held on the ghats.

DAY 2: SARNATH
Morning coach trip to visit the important Buddhist site at Sarnath. Afternoon set sail slowly down the Ganges.

DAY 3: CRUISING
Cruise all day with a village stop for a walk ashore through the countryside and a rural village.

DAY 4: PATNA
Patna – explore the town with its huge hemispherical Golghar grain silo built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin, the State Museum with its Mauryan and Pala period Buddhist sculptures and the eclectic Jalan Museum where Napoleon’s bed is on display. Cast off at mid day.

DAY 5: BODH GAYA
Day trip to the ruins of the vast 10th century Buddhist university at Nalanda and then on after lunch in a local hotel to Bodh Gaya place of the Buddha’s enlightenment and a major centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all sects from all countries.

DAY 6: BIHAR STATE
Cruising through the heart of Bihar State seeing a rural India remote from the tourist track and rarely visited by foreigners. Stop for a walk ashore to explore rural life.

DAY 7: MUNGER
At Munger we stop to visit the Bihar School of Yoga which lies within the 15th century Munger Fort. Near the fort is an 18th century British cemetery

DAY 8: CRUISING
Here the Ganges expands to 2km across and vast panoramas unfold. The river is rich in activity with fishermen and country boats. Excursions ashore to explore this little known area.

DAY 9: FARRAKA BARRAGE
Enter the Farraka Feeder Canal by lock at the Farraka Barrage and cruise to join the Hugli River. Now in lush semi tropical West Bengal we see a very different landscape.

DAY 10: KUSHBAGH
Kushbagh – with its Moghul gardens and tombs. Visit the vast Hazarduari Palace built in 1837 by an English architect. Further visits to the Katra mosque, and the late 18th century Nashipara and Katgola palaces. Overnight at Baranagar famous for its lovely miniature temples.

DAY 11: PLASSEY
Visit the battlefield of Plassey where Clive of India defeated the French in 1757 and the fascinating brassworks at country village of Metiari.

DAY 12: KALNA
Kalna – cycle rickshaw tour of the delightful Bengali terracotta temples. The river here narrows and the Bengal countryside lush and green.

DAY 13: CHANDERNAGORE
We visit the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura and a Portugese church at Bandel and then by bus to rejoin the ship at Chandernagore – a French colony until 1950. Here we visit the house of Dupleix, a small museum, and an 18th century church. Afternoon stop at to Serampore a former Danish colony and Barrackpore cantonment where the garden’s of flagstaff house where the garden’s of flagstaff house contain a collection of former British statues removed from the streets of Calcutta.

DAY 14: KOLKOTTA (CALCUTTA)
Discover the architectural magnificence of Colonial Calcutta, arguably the greatest of the British Raj cities, This stupendous architectural heritage is still largely intact, highlights include the Queen Victoria monument and noe-gothic law courts. Moor overnight at the Outram Ghat.

DAY 15: DISEMBARK
Disembarkation and transfers to your local destination in Calcutta.

About the RV Bengal Pandaw

Bar: is open every day from 9:00 am until late.

Cabin / Stateroom: with their own air conditioning, mini-safe, luggage storage, wardrobe, writing desk and amenities include hair drier, kimono, slippers. All upper and main deck cabins have own deck space with own rattan chairs and table outside the room.

Daily Schedule: A printed daily program for the following day will be put in your cabin every evening.

Dress Code: The atmosphere on board is informal and relaxed. During the day, comfortable & casual attire is appropriate. The evenings are smart-casual.

Electricity: 230 volts three round pin type as found in UK- we carry adapters for other types of plug

Excursions: When moored you are welcome to come and go from the ship as much as you like. Group shore excursions are organized by the Purser and you will be accompanied by a member of the ship's company. Details of these are posted on the daily schedule.

Food Safety and Hygiene: Bottled water is used for cooking and food preparation onboard. Off the vessel never accept ice in drinks and avoid ice creams, crushed sugar cane, salads and the skinned fruits.

Internet: A free wireless internet connection is available in the ship’s bar on upper or sun deck only while mooring in some port and later in other locations along the route.

Laundry: A laundry bag is provided for your laundry needs, and a laundry list is to be found in the rattan folder by your bed. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned by the following day. Please leave items in the bag provided and mark up the list. The charges will go on your bill. If there is an item that you do not wish ironed please advise us.

Library: There is a library on board.

Meals: Breakfasts and lunchs are cold buffets and à la carte menu. Dinners are served at the tables with a table d'hôte selection of dishes, offering a mixture of Asian and Western cuisine and there are always vegetarian dishes offered.

Medical: First aid equipment and some medications are carried on board. All senior staff have attended first aid courses. On the river one is never far from a local medical station. Please check with your doctor that you are fit for travel and your doctor should check with the relevant organization in your country as to whether any prophylactic drugs or inoculations are required. There are no facilities for disabled people or wheel chair access. There are no stair lifts.

Mobile Phones: GSM phones work for all parts of the cruise and have an excellent coverage.

Money Matters: The currency on board the ship is the INR (Indian Rupees), and all transactions will be in INR. The ship accepts INR in cash or credit card (Master or Visa card). Traveler cheques are not accepted on board the ship.

River Conditions: There is much seasonal change in water level. Though the river can be wide, channels may be narrow and hard to follow. There is thus some risk of running aground on submerged sand banks but the captain is experienced in these waters.

Schedule Changes: Schedule changes may be possible due to technical complications or unpredictable incidents and variable river conditions. The ship purser will immediately inform you for changes regarding the excursions or make an announcement by loud speakers. Please also keep an eye on the notice board for any subsequent notice of any changes to planned timings.

Security: When in port a 24 hour watch is kept on the gangplank controlling access to the ship but please then keep your deck door locked when not in use and at night. All cabins have a combination type safe.

Shop: There is a small boutique on board with a collection of locally made handicrafts. Post cards, stamps, books, hygiene & cosmetic articles are available as well.

Smoking: Smoking is permitted only outside on the sun deck and promenade decks.

Water: The ship's water supply comes from the river after passing through a sterilization plant. This water is suitable for washing and brushing teeth but should not be drunk. Bottled mineral water is provided for drinking, free of charge.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: E-mail: Deepak Singh, Spiritual Journeys, Inc., 262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA. Ph: 508-358-4267.