Ganges River Cruise: Experiencing the Heart of India

Tripoto

Urban News Digest

Photo of Ganges River Cruise: Experiencing the Heart of India by Shashank

Have you imagined experiencing India from the waters of the famous river Ganges? Assam-Bengal Navigation (ABN) is an Indo-British joint venture, which came up with this idea in 2002. They have been operating their ships on both waterways (rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra) for more than ten years now. As the ship sways in the river Ganges, passengers slowly drift back in time. The background remains an unchanged image of our countryside; the villages, temples and forts still hold the past of India intact, before the rise of British Raj.

Major attractions along the route


Shubhankar Sengupta

Photo of Calcutta, West Bengal, India by Shashank

Called the 'City of Palaces', Calcutta remained the capital of British Raj for more than 150 years. Developed by the infamous East India Company as a colonial city, it turned out to be the intellectual capital of modern India. In the northern suburbs, the air around the old French, Dutch and Danish colonial enclaves is redolent of the times the city has grown through.


Credit: Sudipto Rana

Photo of Kalna, West Bengal, India by Shashank

Kalna is a pleasant agricultural centre, boasting some of Bengal’s finest terracotta temples. It is also the site of the famous 108 Shiva temples built in 1809. Due to its ingenious architecture, all the Shivlingas can be seen from the centre of the temple complex.


Credit: Pinaki

Photo of Plassey, West Bengal, India by Shashank

The site of the famous Battle of Plassey, where the foundations of the British Raj were laid, Plassey or Palashi lies close to the river, with a commemorative obelisk. The battle was fought between the forces of Siraj Ud Daulah, the last Nawab of Bengal (and his French support troops) and the troops of the British East India Company, led by Robert Clive on 23 June, 1757.


Credit: Polayon

Photo of Murshidabad, West Bengal, India by Shashank

Murshidabad was the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal (who were humbled at Plassey). It is a serene backwater town full of abandoned mosques, tombs and crumbling palaces.


Credit: Debmalyap

Photo of Farakka Barrage, Gobindarampur, West Bengal, India by Shashank

Located between Murshidabad and Malda, Farakka barrage is where the Hooghly flows out from Ganges. The dam was opened in 1975. It has since protected Bengal from flooding, while its water has generated electricity at the Farakka Super Thermal Power Station.


Credit: Ujjwal

Photo of Gour, Kanakpur, West Bengal, India by Shashank

Gaur was the first Islamic capital of Bengal. Today, it is a collection of early mosques surrounded by paddy fields and mango orchards.


Wikirapra

Photo of Patna, Bihar, India by Shashank

One of the major centres of the East India Company, Patna was used by the British for its opium and indigo plantations. There is a superb museum that tells this story to anyone willing to listen.


Source

Photo of Bodhgaya, Bihar, India by Shashank

2600 years ago, Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment under a bodhi (peepal) tree and became Buddha. Bodhgaya is the crucible of Buddhism, and one can see the same bodhi tree that flourishes inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex.


Lyle Vincent

Photo of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shashank

The 'City of Life' is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities, where life has blossomed for more than 300 years. Varanasi is a revered site for Hindus who come here to attain moksha. Mark Twain wrote, “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”


Debdatta

Photo of Sundarbans, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Shashank

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sunderbans is a network of channels and semi-submerged mangrove forests that forms the world’s largest river delta. It is home to one of the largest concentrations of Royal Bengal tigers on the planet. The average cost of a 2-hour boat-ride in the Sundarban waterways is just INR 6.

Itineraries

ABN offers 8 different cruising routes. Ganges cruises can be taken separately or together to offer a choice of durations from 4 to 15 nights. Cruises on the lower Ganges operate all year round, while the Ganges cruises operate in the winter months only. ABN ships go all the way to Varanasi only in the months of August and September. Click here to see the detailed itineraries.

When to go

ABN operates its cruises from July to the end of April (next year). Every month has both advantages and disadvantages.

July-August-September

During this period, water levels are high, so grounding is rare. Temperatures are high and the weather humid. Rural India looks wonderfully lush and green in such clarity of light.

October-November-December

Water levels remain quite high. Rain is rare during these months while the temperature remains moderate, although sunshine is not always guaranteed.

January-February

Water levels are low on the Ganges, so groundings can occur. Morning mists can sometimes delay the planned departures. Anyone who dislikes heat should go during January and February.

March-April

Low water levels on the Ganges can cause problems in manoeuvring, although the lower Ganges is not affected. Without a change in humidity, temperatures start to rise. Sudden brief storms can occur once April starts.

Costs

The packages start from INR 12,700 per person per night. Here is a detailed list of pricing.

*The price includes all transport to/from included activities and destinations as well as all meals on board. The price does not include drinks bought from the bar.

Have you cruised on the Ganges? Share your experience with Tripoto's community.

Be the first one to comment
Related to this article
Weekend Getaways from Kolkata,Places to Visit in Kolkata,Places to Stay in Kolkata,Things to Do in Kolkata,Kolkata Travel Guide,Places to Visit in West bengal,Places to Stay in West bengal,Things to Do in West bengal,West bengal Travel Guide,Things to Do in India,Places to Stay in India,Places to Visit in India,India Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kalna,Places to Stay in Kalna,Places to Visit in Kalna,Things to Do in Kalna,Kalna Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Bardhaman,Places to Stay in Bardhaman,Places to Visit in Bardhaman,Things to Do in Bardhaman,Bardhaman Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Plassey,Weekend Getaways from Plassey,Places to Visit in Plassey,Things to Do in Plassey,Plassey Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Nadia,Places to Stay in Nadia,Places to Visit in Nadia,Things to Do in Nadia,Nadia Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Murshidabad,Places to Stay in Murshidabad,Places to Visit in Murshidabad,Things to Do in Murshidabad,Murshidabad Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Malda,Places to Stay in Malda,Places to Visit in Malda,Things to Do in Malda,Malda Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Patna,Places to Visit in Patna,Places to Stay in Patna,Things to Do in Patna,Patna Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Bihar,Places to Visit in Bihar,Places to Stay in Bihar,Things to Do in Bihar,Bihar Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Bodhgaya,Places to Visit in Bodhgaya,Places to Stay in Bodhgaya,Things to Do in Bodhgaya,Bodhgaya Travel Guide,Things to Do in Gaya,Gaya Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Gaya,Places to Visit in Gaya,Places to Stay in Gaya,Weekend Getaways from Varanasi,Places to Visit in Varanasi,Places to Stay in Varanasi,Things to Do in Varanasi,Varanasi Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Uttar pradesh,Places to Stay in Uttar pradesh,Things to Do in Uttar pradesh,Uttar pradesh Travel Guide,