River Cruise Itinerary for The Upper Ganges River Downstream | Pandaw.com
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THE INCREDIBLE GANGES

THE UPPER GANGES RIVER

14 NIGHTS FROM US$5,022.00 - MEMBERS FROM US$4,464.00
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In late 2019 we will inaugurate an 'all Ganges' voyage of one thousand miles from Kolkata to Varanasi. Though in the days of the British Raj paddle steamers plied this route on a regular basis, with the advent of the railways in India river navigation was abandoned and the rivers were allowed to silt up. Now thanks to a multi-million dollar investment from the Indian Government channels have been dredged and buoyed and hi tech GPS based aids installed enabling seasonal navigation.

Varanasi, said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet is the most sacred city of Hinduism and a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats. Varanasi is surely the goal of any ‘passage to India’ and at the other end of the holy river stands Kolkata, in all its Raj-like magnificence. Between lies several of the most important Buddhist sites including Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya and cities great and small and between urban centres and great pilgrim sites are expanses of empty river teeming with bird life, not to mention the Gangeatic dolphin.

No vessel could be more appropriate for a voyage on ‘All the Ganges’ than the much-loved Katha Pandaw, constructed originally in Vietnam in 2008 that has seen service there, in Cambodia and in recent years in Burma. Refitted for expedition sailings in India, we have reduced the number of staterooms from sixteen to fourteen to create an enlarged indoor saloon / dining area as winter cruising in India can be chilly first thing.

Important Notice:
The cruise schedule includes the latest information regarding your program, but last minute adjustments may occur. The schedule may shift due to the weather or to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. The exact time for each activity will be announced or posted by the onboard tour staff.

Please Note:
This itinerary passes through the state of Bihar. In this state it is illegal to serve any drinks containing alcohol. For this reason we will not be able to serve alcohol onboard the ship while in the state of Bihar. This will affect the Upstream itinerary from day 6 until the afternoon of day 12 and for the Downstream itinerary from day 3 until the afternoon of day 9.

Indus River CruisesPlease Note these river expeditions are operated by Indus Expeditions, not Pandaw, and it is understood that the style and standards may be very different from those offered on Pandaw managed cruises. Indus Expeditions make every effort to offer the highest levels of guest care but it should be noted that given the chaotic but often charming way in which India works these are very different from what you will find in South-East Asia!

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14 NIGHTS FROM US$5,022.00 - MEMBERS FROM US$4,464.00
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Tour The Sacred & Soulful City - Varanasi 2 Night Pre Tour

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Exploring Kolkata 2 Nights Post Tour

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India's Golden Triangle 6 Nights Post Tour

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Delhi & Taj Mahal 3 Nights Post Tour

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Ancient Kingdom Of Bhutan Post Tour 5 Nights

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package (India - Upper Ganges)

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Free Flow Drinks & Wine Package (India - Upper Ganges)

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Free Flow Drinks (India - Upper Ganges)

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 VARANASI

The oldest and holiest city of India established in the 11th century BC and today with over 2,000 living temples. We visit Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Lord Buddha gave his first sermon with its archaeological museum.

DAY 2 VARANASI

Take rowing boats for sunrise over the bathing ghats and after breakfast explore the old city by cycle rickshaw. Evening walk along the ghats and witness the ‘Aarati’ rituals.

DAY 3 GAHZIPUR

Stop at Ghjazipur, home to the world’s largest opium factory, and visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis (who lost Yorktown) and latterly governor of India, where he was to pass away in 1805.

DAY 4 BUXAR

We visit the battlefield, remembered for the 1764 battle between the British and the Moghuls. Then on, time permitting, to Madhubani which is a great centre of Mithila painting, the wonderfully vivid and colourful folk art of this part of Bihar.

DAY 5 PATNA

Visit the nearby archaeological site of Chirand and on to the confluence with the Gaghra. Sail to the confluence with the Manek past the busy river port of Doriganj and on to see the small yet splendid Moghul tomb at Maner. If open, in afternoon visit the famous Patna museums with their collections of early Buddhist artifacts.

DAY 6 NALANDA AND BODHGAYA

Early this morning board the Jan Shatabdi Express train to Bodh Gaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site arranged around the Maha Bodhi temple where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in the 5th century BC. Spend time exploring this global centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all denominations and admire the many monasteries built in various national styles – Tibetan, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, etc. Later journey to the archaeological site of Nalanda, the great 5th century Buddhist university. Discover the monumental red brick walls and stupas standing on the site of what was the longest running university in Indian history. Immerse yourself in the tranquil surrounds of this UNESCO World Heritage Site which is thought to have accommodated over 10,000 students and hosted Buddha Siddhartha himself. Drive to Barh, approximately 60kms and board the ship that has moved through the day.

Note lunch and dinner will be taken at local restaurants and will be vegetarian only given the nature of these pilgrim destinations. Guest who wish to remain on board may do so as the ship repositions to Barh to meet the guests following their excursion.

DAY 7 MUNGER AND MOKAMA

Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers. Munger is now a large and industrialised city but has an interesting history with a Mughal fort and an East India Company cemetery. Visit the famous Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati.

DAY 8 SULTANGANJ

Morning moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one with a mosque and the other a temple dating from the 16th century. On this stretch we hope to see Gangeatic dolphins and land at Bhaglapur, a centre of silk production, and visit the 18th century mansion of the Collector, Augustus Cleveland. Continue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with rock carvings.

DAY 9 BATESHWARSTHAN

Passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to visit the 8th century Buddhist site of Vikramshila.

DAY 10 FARAKKA

Cross from the Ganges to the Lower Ganges or Hoogly River through the lock and canal at Farraka, constructed 1963-75. Before passing into the lock the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and sgtrategically controls the flow of water into neighbouring Bangaladesh. We enter a section of river rich in bird life. Overnight at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal.

DAY 11 MURSHIDABAD

This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Continue to visit the great Katra Mosque and Nashipara and Katgola palaces.

DAY 12 MATIARI

Morning visit to the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal.

DAY 13 KALNA

Land at the country town of Kalna and take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 lesser shrines. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline.

DAY 14 KOLKATA

Visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. Downstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix's House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Moor overnight near Kolkata.

DAY 15 DISEMBARKATION

Transfer from the port in Kolkata to the Oberoi Grand by coach.

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WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Transfer to/from Ship, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes.

Price Excludes: International flights, laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes, tipping for guide and drivers.

Please Note: We suggest to change money at a bank at the international airport before exiting (currently there is shortage of new money bills in India).

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 VARANASI

Morning coach transfer from Taj Ganges hotel to the ship.

Registration Details
Registration is at 10.00.
Taj Ganges
Nadesar Palace Ground
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221002
India
Tel: 0542 666 0001

HOTEL WEBSITE

Please arrive at meeting point no later than 10.00. Transfer will depart 10.30.

DAY 15 DISEMBARKATION

Transfer from the port in Kolkata to the Oberoi Grand by coach. Drop off at the hotel at about 10:00.

Hotel Details
Oberoi Grand Kolkata
15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Kolkata - 700 013
India
Tel: +91 33 2249 2323

HOTEL WEBSITE

PLEASE NOTE from 1st February 2020 our disembarkation point will be The LaLIT Great Eastern Kolkata.

Hotel Details
The LaLIT Great Eastern
Registration is at 10.00
1,2,3 Old Court House Street
Dalhousie Square
Kolkata - 700069
India
Tel: +91 33 4444 7777

HOTEL WEBSITE

Guests who plan to fly out of Kolkata on disembarkation day should schedule domestic flights no earlier than 13:00, and international flights should be scheduled no earlier than 14:00.

Please note that due to water levels, religious festivals, and other situations beyond our control, it is occasionally necessary to change our embarkation / disembarkation jetty. This may result in a longer transfer times and may also require access to / from the ship via a smaller 'country boat'.

TESTIMONIALS

TRAVEL BLOGS

Issues in India

No one said going back into India would be easy. Having pioneered Ganges cruising ten years ago we had some experience of the challenges o.... read more

 

MEDIA MENTIONS

Pandaw Milestone - Pandaw successfully reached Varanasi

02 Dec 2019 - article by Cruise Weekly

 

Cruising Ganges with Pandaw: A New Way To See India

29 Aug 2018 - article by Paul from ontravel.com

 

Pandaw Expands Cruise Offerings in India

17 Jul 2018 - article by Newsdesk on Travel Agent Central

 

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