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River Cruising in India

The Indian subcontinent is huge and there are so many ways to explore it. Whilst many visitors to India choose to travel by road, rail or plane, travelling by river can be a much more civilised and relaxed way to see many of the country's highlights, as well as a lot of the less touristy and off-the-beaten track sites that cannot be accessed by any other means.

The Ganges and Hooghly rivers

The Ganges is the world's 34th longest river at 3,620km long. It rises in central Tibet, down from the Himalayas through the fertile and densely populated Northern India River Plain, eventually meeting the Bay of Bengal.

Known to the local Hindus as Ma Ganga (or Mother Ganga), the Ganges is regarded by Hindus to be the holiest river of the world, serving as a sacred shrine and a place of worship, as well as providing sustenance for many millions of people. One highlight of any river cruise on the Ganges is a visit to Varanasi, regarded as one of the holiest places in India. Hindu pilgrims come here from far and wide to bathe in the sacred river and wash away their sins.

Cruising the Ganges by boat allows you to witness the river in action and to see many sites that can difficult to access by road. There is so much to take in - local rural communities going about their daily life, people worshipping the holy Ganges, ancient architectural sites that dot the banks of the river, and local wildlife including Gangetic dolphins.

Less known by many, the charming Hooghly river (also spelled Hugli) is a 260km tributary of the Ganges river, situated in West Bengal. It provides access to Kolkata from the Ganges river. Along the river are many fascinating former colonial settlements, buildings and gardens as well as Georgian era palaces.

River Cruising in India

Ganges river cruise itineraries

We offer a selection of Ganges river cruise itineraries that depart in October 2016, an ideal time of year to travel to this part of India. We offer a longer 18 day itinerary which combines both the Ganges and Hooghly rivers. Alternatively, you may be shorter on time and may wish to opt for one of the shorter itineraries.

The Holy Ganges & the Hooghly

An exciting 18 night trip on the Hooghly and Ganges rivers between Kolkata and Varanasi. 18 nights, departing 20 October 2016.

  • Start your tour in Kolkata
  • Visit the brass working village of Matiari
  • Relax at the peaceful mogul-style garden of Khushbagh
  • Visit one of the most sacred Buddhist sites, Bodh Goya
  • Spend 2 nights exploring the sacred city of Varanasi, including a memorable journey by boat to observe the famous Ghats at sunrise
  • Possibility of spotting Gangetic dolphins
  • Spend time in Patna, and visit the State Museum, the Sikh temple and the Gola Ghar Granary

Find out more

The Ganges – from Kolkata to Varanasi

11 night up-river cruise between Farakka and Varanasi on board the RV Rajmahal, departing 27 October 2016.

  • Starting from Kolkata, travel by train to Farakka, where you will begin your Ganges river cruise
  • Visit one of the most sacred Buddhist sites, Bodh Goya
  • Spend 2 nights exploring the sacred city of Varanasi, including a memorable journey by boat to observe the famous Ghats at sunrise
  • Possibility of spotting Gangetic dolphins
  • Spend time in Patna, and visit the State Museum, the Sikh temple and the Gola Ghar Granary

Find out more

Slowly on the Hooghly

7 night up-stream river cruise between Kolkata and Varanasi on board the RV Rajmahal, departing 20 October 2016

  • Start and end your tour in Kolkata, returning to Kolkata at the end of the cruise by train
  • Visit the brass working village of Matiari
  • Relax at the peaceful mogul-style garden of Khushbagh

Find out more

The Brahmaputra river

The Brahmaputra river is one of Asia's biggest - the 10th largest river in the world by discharge and the 29th longest. Flowing down from central Tibet through the legendry Tsangpo gorges, the river opens out as it enters the state of Assam. It then travels through Bangladesh to outflow through the vast Sunderbunds Delta, merging with the Ganges, as they discharge into the Bay of Bengal.

Cruising the Brahmaputra can be quite different to the Ganges. In contrast, there is not a lot of human activity however the wild and bird life are profuse – ideal for lovers of nature and wildlife.

River Cruising in India

Brahmaputra river cruise itineraries

We offer several different itinerary options to experience the Brahmaputra river – with cruise-only or the opportunity to combine the river cruise with a tour of India's Golden Triangle or 6 night visit to the ancient kingdom of Bhutan.

The Mighty Brahmaputra River

7 night cruise between Guwahati and Jorhat with departures from November 2016 – April 2017

  • 7 night cruise on the MV Mahabaahu on a full board basis
  • Sail in the shadow of the Himalayas along the mighty Brahmaputra river
  • Travel through the beautiful Assam Valley, with its UNESCO-protected national parks and remote rural communities
  • Fascinating visit to the ‘Mishing' people on the world's largest river island
  • Spot river dolphins and birds of prey as you sail up river

Find out more

India's Golden Triangle and the Brahmaputra

Combine the 7 night Brahmaputra cruise with a 6 night tour of the Golden Triangle
13 nights with departures from November 2016 to April 2017

  • 7 night cruise on the MV Mahabaahu on a full board basis (details as outlined above)
  • 6 night tour of India's Golden Triangle
  • Visits to Delhi, Agra, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur
  • Discover the villages of the Aravalli Hills, home to the Meena Tribal people

Find out more

Bhutan & the Brahmaputra

Combine the 7 night Brahmaputra cruise with a tour of Burma, with departures between November 2016 and March 2017

  • 7 night cruise on the MV Mahabaahu on a full board basis (details as outlined above)
  • 6-night visit to the ancient kingdom of Bhutan
  • Stay for 2 nights in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu
  • Visit a number of ancient monasteries in mountainous Bhutan
  • 2 overnight stays in Kolkata

Find out more

PLEASE NOTE: All of our river cruises in India are operated by partners. Drinks and tips are not included in the price of the itinerary.

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