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INDIA RIVER CRUISES

Discover the rich culture of India's rivers

India is a world of colour and culture. The country is diverse and offers so many experiences for those wishing to find out more. Embarking on a river cruise in India allows you to see this extraordinary country in a way like you'd never imagined.

Our India cruises take place on not only the lower and upper River Ganges but soon also the Brahmaputra River Cruise.

Both of these rivers are of major importance to India, offering a place of worship as well as historically important towns and cities forming life on the banks.

The Ganges River winds 2,525km through India and across the border into Bangladesh. It begins its journey in the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and flows through the Gangetic Plain of India and into Bangladesh before it is released into the Bay of Bengal.

The Brahmaputra is also a trans-boundary river, flowing through China, India and Bangladesh. The River enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang. It continues across the plains where its name changes once again to Dihang. It enters the state of Assam and becomes as wide as 20 km in some parts.

Being the second most populated country in the world, India is awash with bustling towns and villages and our river cruises mean you can immerse yourself in the local's way of life. Ride on rickshaws, witness terracotta temples, visit villages and dine alongside Gangetic dolphins. Through the cuisine and the excursions, a Pandaw India river cruise really does encompass the Indian lifestyle completely.

 

Indus River CruisesPlease Note due to local regulations, Pandaw has hired a local management company to run the day-to-day operations of our ships in India. Indus Expeditions operate under the management of Pandaw to deliver our expeditions and maintain our Pandaw owned vessels. Whilst Indus Expeditions make every effort to offer the highest levels of guest care and have been provided with full training and support from Pandaw and our local management, it should be noted that given the chaotic but often charming way in which India works there may remain some local quirks and differences in service from what you will find in South-East Asia!
River Cruise itinerary for The Upper Ganges River River Cruise map for The Upper Ganges River

The Upper Ganges River

14 NIGHTS

Starting at either Kolkata or Varanasi we set sail on an extraordinary 14 night journey on the Upper Ganges River. The much-loved Katha or Kindat Pandaw will become your home whilst you visit over 20 towns and villages. Places of sacred importance, battlefields, working villages, the world's largest opium factory and the famous Bihar School of Yoga are just some of the places you will experience before ending at Varanasi or Kolkata.

Rivers: Ganges River

Ships: RV Katha Pandaw, RV Kindat Pandaw

from US$5,524.20

members from US$4,910.40

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for The Lower Ganges River River Cruise map for The Lower Ganges River

The Lower Ganges River

7 NIGHTS

This 7 night voyage meaders through some of the prettiest parts of India that the average traveller wouldn't ordinarily get to see. Your journey begins and ends in Kolkata travelling through the lush countryside of West Bengal. Visit cultural towns and witness the impressive temples and palaces this majestic country has to offer. Walk to sleepy villages through mustard fields and mango orchards. This short river cruise in India really does tick all boxes.

Rivers: Ganges River

Ships: RV Kalaw Pandaw

from US$1,871.10

members from US$1,829.52

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for The Brahmaputra River Cruise map for The Brahmaputra

The Brahmaputra

7 NIGHTS

A cruise with Pandaw on the Brahmaputra River presents you with stunning scenery, dramatic wildlife and colourful working villages. You begin your journey in Guwahati where you will sail past Peacock Island, witness the endangered Golden Langur monkey and as you head towards Silghat you will hopefully be lucky enough to observe river dolphins and birds of prey. Continue on to Kaziranga where you will enjoy a safari searching for Indian Rhinoceros and the Indian tiger. Travel by small boat to meet local village women making crafts and if all of that isn't enough how do kingfishers, eagles, vultures, water buffalos, monitor lizards and otters and an alfresco dinner on a deserted island sound?

Rivers: Brahmaputra River

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Rivers in India

Ganges River

Ganges River

The Ganges River is the 34th longest river in the world at 2, 620km, flowing down through the Himalayas to form the Gangetic Plain of North India eventually to discharge into the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh. The Hooghly river connects the Ganges river to Kolkata with a ship lock as part of the Farakka Barrage that diverts water away from Bangladesh. The Ganges river is the cradle of Indian civilisation and is sacred to Hindus. To bathe in the waters of the "Holy Ganga" is a form of purification, and to be cremated at the Ghats [stepped riverside terraces] of Varanasi the ambition of every living Hindu. The river was used for navigation in British colonial times with steamer services between Calcutta, Patna and even further upriver. Massive irrigation schemes later diverted waters and the construction of railways, and later roads with low bridges effectively killed river transportation and the navigation channels silted up. In recent years, much has been done to improve navigation and Patna can be reached year-round and at certain times Varanasi too. Experiencing a Ganges river cruise is the only sensible way to see India, avoiding its now-congested roads and all the other inconveniences of travel today in India. There is much to see along the way – historically, culturally and for bird and wildlife. This is a river that offers rich experiences.

India Ships

RV Kalaw Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kalaw Pandaw

Sister to the Kindat and identical in design the Kalaw was launched with her in 2014 Kalaw is named after the PS Kalaw launched in 1917 and sunk....
RV Katha Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Katha Pandaw

This was a radical new design, based on the old K class used in Burma from the 1880s on. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy. T....
RV Kindat Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kindat Pandaw

The original Kindat was built in 1886 by Yarrows in London and sank in 1920. She was named after a small Upper Chindwin town. Following experime....

River Cruise Stops

Chandernagore

Chandernagore

Chandannagar was established as a French colony in 1673, when the French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, to establish a trading post on the right bank of the Hughli River.
Guwahati

Guwahati

Guwahati; Pragjyotishpura in ancient Assam, Gauhati in the modern era — is an ancient urban area, largest city of state, region, major metropolis of eastern India and one of the fastest developing cities of India.
Jorhat

Jorhat

Jorhat is one of the major cities of Assam. Jorhat was the first town of the Greater Assam installing electricity supply in 1923. The first aeroplane on northeastern soil was landed in Jorhat in 1928.
Kalna

Kalna

The town is more popularly known as Ambika Kalna, named after a very popular deity, Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika. It has numerous historical monuments such as the Rajbari (the palace) and the 108 Shiva temples.
Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park

A UNESCO accredited site, the Kaziranga National Park is located in the Nagaon and Golaghat districts of Assam in India and a stop on our Brahmaputra river cruises . This World Heritage Site is known as the home of 3/4 of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. During the river stop at the Kaziranga National Park, you will enjoy an incredible safari, spotting the abundance of rhino’s and Indian tigers (amongst other animals) along the way. A stop off when on the Brahmaputra at the awe-inspiring park makes for an incredible visit. A vast expanse which showcases the natural beauty of Assam, the best time of year to visit is between November to April (the park is closed between May and October). Rhinos at Kaziranga National Park Key Facts About Kaziranga National Park It is home to over 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros It was founded in 1908 by Mary Curzon It is located on the edge of two Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots Made a World Heritage Site in 1985 It is abundant with elephants, swamp deer, wild water buffalo, wild boar and other fascinating animals One of the two parks that have rhino habitats in Assam Top Attractions to Visit in Kaziranga Throughout the safari, you will see numerous animals and learn incredible facts along the way from a knowledgeable tour guide. An attraction in itself, it is a must-see when you are on your Pandaw river cruise. Whether it’s your first safari or you have been on one before, you will have your breath taken away by the beauty of this national park. What The Destination is Famous For Kaziranga is known for its extraordinary population of wildlife, lush greenery and prominent conservation projects. In 2006, the national park was declared a tiger reserve, due to the increase in population - it is one of the only places in the world that the population of tigers has increased, rather than declined. Alongside tigers and rhinos, the park has been recognised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International due to the population of black-necked storks, Asian Openbill, white-fronted geese, Baer’s pochard duck, ferruginous ducks and other birds which migrate to the park every summer. Its incredible wildlife conservation projects mean that the popularity of the park has steadily grown throughout the years – making it one of the most-visited and beloved tourist attractions in Assam. In terms of the flora in the park, Indian gooseberry, elephant apple, the cotton tree and kumbhi are amongst some of the most flourishing trees that you can spot in the park when on your safari. Filled with alluvial savannas, marshland and tropical forests, you will feel at one with nature during the trip. A far cry from the nearby bustling city of Nagaon, it makes the perfect rest bite when you are on your cruise either down the Hooghly, Lower Ganges or Brahmaputra river. No matter which river cruise you choose, you will be in awe from the moment that you arrive at the Kaziranga National Park and will want to visit again and again.
Kolkata

Kolkata

Kolkata also known historically in English as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river.
Majuli, Neamati Ghat and Sibsagar

Majuli, Neamati Ghat and Sibsagar

Majuli, a jewel in the crown of India's Assam region, is the world’s largest river island. A small landmass nestled among the banks of the Brahmaputra River, Majuli is a popular tourist destination, which boasts picturesque scenery and a vibrant culture. With its stunning beauty and enviable location surrounded by tranquil river waters, it's no wonder that Majuli is a much-anticipated stop-off on our Brahmaputra river cruises . For those gearing up for a Pandaw cruise along the Brahmaputra, here's a useful guide to magical Majuli. Majuli Island Why is Majuli famous and what can I expect from my visit? Majuli is a unique island idyll, which has been attracting crowds for decades. Located in the region of Assam, this iconic mass represents India’s first island district. Majuli Island is officially the world’s largest river island, and its diverse, unique geography makes it an enthralling prospect for nature lovers, photographers, and those keen to engage in cultural activities and experiences. Easily accessible by boat, this UNESCO World Heritage site comprises verdant paddy fields, rustic stilt-house villages, and channels of rumbling river streams. A watery wonderland that offers something for everyone, this is a port of call that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Top things to see and do in Majuli The sheer beauty of Majuli is sufficient to warrant a visit, but there’s also plenty of activities and attractions on offer. Highlights include: Visiting a local village Majuli boasts an eclectic mixture of communities, with people hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds. Perhaps the most well-known inhabitants are the Mishing people, who are famed for their warmth and hospitality. Visiting villages, which tend to be made up of cottages on stilts overlooking the water, affords the chance to get to know the locals, to learn about the way of life in Majuli, and to listen to tales of folklore. Learning about the masks of Majuli Majuli is famous for its tradition for creating and wearing artisan masks, which feature bold colours and ornate decorative touches. Masks are traditionally made using bamboo frames, which are adorned with clay and accessories to create human-like, animal, and mythological creatures and beings. Spend an afternoon touring Majuli's Satras Majuli's Satras are famed for their ethereal, tranquil presence, and many regard Shri Shri Dakhinpat Satra as one of the most serene places in India. Built in 1584, this particular Satra is characterised by colourful engravings of animals and flowers that cover the facade. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the Satras are wonderful spots to reflect, embrace the peace and quiet, and take in the views. Satra in Majuli Catching the sunset Majuli is mesmerising at any time of day, but there’s nothing quite like the spellbinding sight of the sunset. As darkness descends, look out for shades of red, pink, and purple filling the skies, casting a shadow over the rippling surface of the water and the gently rocking wooden boats. The largest river island on the planet, Majuli is a mystical wonderland, which offers everything from cultural experiences and attractions to jaw-dropping sunsets, welcoming locals and incredible scenery. The best way to experience Majuli is on The Brahmaputra cruise, where you’ll explore the Satras and the Shiva Dol, a temple.
Mayapur

Mayapur

One of the best things about taking a river cruise is the fact that you get to experience many amazing places during one trip. This is something you can expect with one of our Ganges river cruises. One of the most popular stops on our cruises is Mayapur. Read on to discover more about this destination and what it has to offer. ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Key facts about Mayapur Mayapur is a city located in Rarh, India. It is situated in between the Jalangi and Hoogly rivers. It is one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dham Nabadwip’s nine islands. It is situated around 130 km from Kolkata, and it is well connected with the rail networks and roads from there. It is a holy city, and has a number of different sites that are of Cultural and Religious importance. What is Mayapur famous for? Mayapur is deemed the holiest of all places in India, and this is one of the main reasons why it attracts people from all over the world. This is a place that has devotion running through it. From the temples to the memorial sites; it is simply a majestic destination. Mayapur jetty and waterfront Top things to do in Mayapur There is no denying that the main attraction in Mayapur is the ISKCON Temple. This is the head temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In fact, this temple alone is the reason why so many devotees from all over the globe come to Mayapur. Inside, visitors can see the magnificent deities of Radha-Madhav, Srila Prabhupada, Lord Nrisingha Dev, and Pancatattva. You also have Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, which is Srila Prabhupada’s outstanding memorial shrine, which is the biggest of its kind in India. It is a majestic and tall marble dom, which takes over the skyline here, shining beautifully during the sunset and sunrise. Other sites include Ballal Dhigi, which is a 30-foot high mound, which dates back to ancient times, as well as Srila Prabhupada’s personal quarters and Goshala. Nabadwip City is an old city in the area, which is linked with the birth of Lord Sri. Chaitanya. Lord Sri. Chaitanya was a key social former in the 16th century, as well as being a religious leader who preached Vasihnab ideas. It’s also worth noting that there is another temple in construction, which should be completed by 2022. This is the Vedic Planetarium Temple, which is going to be the biggest Vedic Temple across the world. It is also going to have the Sudarshana Chakras and the base of the Chakra, which is going to be made from a few tonnes of gold. ISKCON temple in Mayapur If you are interested in visiting Mayapur on a Pandaw River Cruise , the best way to experience it is on the Upper Ganges river cruise where we stop off at Kala before making our way to Mayapur to visit the ISKCON temple as well as the wealth of other cultural sights in the area.
Murshidabad

Murshidabad

Murshidabad is a city in Murshidabad district of West Bengal state in India. The city of Murshidabad is located on the southern bank of the Bhagirathi, a tributary of the Ganges River.
Nalanda

Nalanda

Nalanda was a large Buddhist monastery in ancient Magadha, India.
Patna

Patna

Patna is the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India.
Sailing towards Silghat

Sailing towards Silghat

Silghat is a town located on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra, in Nagaon district, Assam. It is 48 km northeast of Nagaon. Major points of attraction include the Hatimura Temple and huge Samantagiri hillock.
Silghat

Silghat

Pass Tezpur and a gigantic 3 Km long arched bridge arriving at Silghat, where we take an excursion through stunning countryside to a tea estate and factory producing the famous Assam tea.
Towards Majuli

Towards Majuli

Visit a local village on what is the world’s largest river island and home to the ethnic ‘Mishing’ people. Here, women weave on hand-looms to create characterful costumes and we enjoy a demonstration of a Dhoti & Chaddor - traditional dresses for the men and women of the Mishing communities. It is a pleasant place to explore.
Varanasi

Varanasi

India, one of the oldest civilisations on the planet. Within its 29 states and 7 union territories, you’ll find an extraordinary variety of cultures, cuisines, arts politics and history. And at Pandaw we take great pleasure in making it a way for adventurous travellers from all over the world to parse this extraordinary land and enjoy its many natural, cultural and architectural gifts. Explore our wonderful Ganges river cruises page for information on how to book. There are many, many Indian cities worthy of a spot on any bucket list. But for a truly unique and spiritual experience, all pale in comparison to Varanasi- long referred to as "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of Shiva", and "the city of learning". But it’s not just the religious and spiritual who will benefit from visiting the spiritual capital of India and home of Buddhism. This historic and culturally rich history has something to offer everyone! Varanasi at twilight on the banks of the Ganges The History of Varanasi Varanasi has a rich history, not just for its religious significance but its long industrial heritage. The city was known for its fabrics, perfumes sculpture and ivory even before the coming of Buddha and centuries before the birth of Christ. It was here that Buddha gave his first sermon and Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva. While the city was under Muslim rule throughout the middle ages there was still religious diversity with Hindus still making pilgrimages to Varanasi. Guru Nanak also visited Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri in 1507, a journey which is believed to have played a significant part in the founding of Sikhism. With temples to Shiva and Vishnu also built throughout the 18th century, there’s no denying the magical polytheism of Varanasi. There must be something in the water! Of course, when it comes to sites of religious significance, the Ganges themselves remain then most frequently visited and beloved landmark, with people from all over the world lining up to bathe in the (mythically) healing waters. Things to See and Do in Varanasi Cruise along the river Ganges and you’ll get a breathtaking view of the city from the water. When you disembark, hail a rickshaw and immerse yourself in the extraordinary culture. Whether you’re religious or not you’ll want to visit the many fully functioning temples and awe at their ornate majesty. You may want to take a short trip to the weavers village and watch these world renowned craftsmen at work. It’s likely that you’ll also want to take a dip in the Ganges yourself, or at the very least watch legions of travellers from around the world do the same. And don’t forget to treat yourself to some delicious street food to keep your energy up as you wander! Flowers at the Varanasi market Let Pandaw unlock Asia’s gems for you Explore the historic wonders of Varanasi with Pandaw . We are truly passionate about bringing you a travel experience you’ll never forget, combining the many wonders of the Asian continent with a simple luxury to provide true relaxation. Our cruise ships are small enough to allow you to explore Asia’s treasures yet offer the highest passenger-to-deck-space ratio of any cruise ships afloat. We can’t wait to share the treasures of the sacred city of Varanasi with you.

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