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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

from US$6,138 per person

members from US$4,910.40 per person

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$3,410 per person

members from US$2,728 per person

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

Ships: RV Kindat Pandaw

from US$3,179 per person

members from US$2,543.20 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for Ganges & Brahmaputra River Cruise map for Ganges & Brahmaputra

Ganges & Brahmaputra

14 NIGHTS

There can be no river in the world as sacred as the Ganges and an expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly is one of the prettiest river journeys imaginable. The river wends its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal with its culturally significant towns crammed with temples and palaces. A rich and vibrant rural life abounds and there is never a dull moment as we sedately ply this pleasant waterway. Combine this with the mighty Brahmaputra river in Northern India which originates high in the Himalayas before flowing through the scenic Assam Valley where UNESCO protected national parks and remote rural communities provide the traveller with the most wonderful and authentic expedition.

Rivers: Ganges River, Brahmaputra River

Ships: RV Kalaw Pandaw, RV Kindat Pandaw

from US$6,639 per person

members from US$5,311.20 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

Rivers in India

Brahmaputra River

Brahmaputra River

India's Brahmaputra River is the 29th longest river in the world at 2, 948 km long, and has a discharge of 19, 200 cubic litres per second which puts northern India's great waterway in the top 10 when it comes to volume. This is a massive waterway, being the only river on Earth clearly visible from the moon during the Apollo missions. Flowing down from central Tibet through the legendary Tsangpo gorges, the Brahmaputra river opens out as it enters Assam to flow across that state and then through Bangladesh to flow out through the vast Sundarbans Delta, merging with the Ganges River , as they discharge into the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra river may be little-navigated today, but in colonial times steamer services operated as far as Dibrugarh. The river in places can be up to 20 miles wide and in the monsoon it floods the entire Assam plain. Indeed, East Bengal is not called “the wettest place on the planet" for nothing – it literally does have the world’s highest rainfall. The river is so vast that any river cruise expedition undertaken here can be movingly wondrous, as you pass through this great emptiness of water, sand and shoal. Passengers of our Brahmaputra river cruises enjoy their trips in peace and tranquility with very little human activity on the riverbank. That means the wild life and bird life are profuse.
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

If you are taking one of our Brahmaputra River Cruises , one place you should definitely consider stopping at is Guwahati. This is a large city in India, in the state of Assam. It is a place that has so much to offer in terms of beauty and history, making it one of the most fascinating stops on any river cruise. There’s loads of things you can do in Guwahati, some of which we’ve mentioned below. The many different reasons why Guwahati has become a popular spot for people on river cruises There are a number of different reasons why Guwahati is a place that comes highly recommended when taking a river cruise. There are lots of great attractions for you to enjoy. The Brahmaputra is one of the main attractions here. Taking one of our river cruises is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful Brahmaputra river, with loads of photo opportunities along the coast of Guwahati; a great way to start your adventure. One place you will probably want to explore in Guwahati is Kamakhya Temple. This is situated 8km west of Guwahati, on Neelachal Hill. It is the most revered site in Guwahati, as well as being one of the country’s most foremost Shaktipeeths. There are also a number of lush, sprawling green tea plantations as well. You will struggle to find another place around the world with such a love for tea as Guwahati. Make sure you pick up some packets of Assam tea to take home with you while exploring this part of India. The Kamakhya temple in Guwahati You will also find that you are not going to be too far away from some of India’s most famous national parks as well, including Orang and Kaziranga. Orang is gaining popularity amongst wildlife enthusiasts, as it is home to the likes of tigers, wild buffaloes, elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and pygmy hogs. Karizanga is recognised around the world as the last undisturbed habitat of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. So, if you are someone who has a love for wildlife, you are definitely going to love everything that Guwahati has to offer. Shopping in Guwahati is a treat If you are someone who likes to pick up some souvenirs and treats while on vacation, you will not be disappointed with Guwahati. Assam is famous for its intricate handicrafts and exquisite handlooms. If you shop here, you are bound to have a delightful day. There are a number of major shopping hubs in the city, including GN Bordoloi Road, Pragjyotika Emporium, Shilpagram, and Pan Bazaar. Taking a river cruise and stopping at Guwahati As you can see, there is a lot to like about Guwahati. If you are planning on taking a river cruise, this is definitely the sort of place that you should consider stopping at in order to make the most of your experience. There is so much to see and do here, with lots of amazing attractions to explore and plenty of history to delve into.
Kalna

Kalna

Kalna, a city and a municipality in Purba Bardhaman district in the Indian state of West Bengal is located right by the river Hooghly (or ‘lower Ganges’) meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the area with a Ganges River Cruise . River cruises As humans, we once relied on rivers for transportation, food, and power, which is why many of the most significant built-up areas in the world were developed right around them. This means travelling by river will take you right to the heart of the action if you want a more vibrant trip. You also have the option for things to be more peaceful too, a Kalna cruise for example would enable you to visit bays, plains and beautiful rural areas. River cruises can be super luxurious, meaning it’s a far more relaxing way to get around than a crowded bus or car on a traffic-packed road. What can you expect to see? Kalna, more popularly known as ‘Ambika Kalna’ is named after a very popular deity, Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika. It has many historical monuments such as the Rajbari palace, along with the 108 Shiva temples. An expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly really is one of the most scenic river journeys you can imagine. The river winds its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal, with its culturally significant towns packed full of gorgeous temples and palaces. There’s a rich and vibrant rural life to take in, and never a dull moment as you sedately travel along this awe- inspiring waterway. If you want to enjoy another kind of boating, how about taking an excursion to Green Island, enjoy a semi-submarine boat excursion to view the coral reef, teeming with marine life, or snorkel from the beach. Spend the rest of your day seeing a fish feeding displays, strolling around the island or simply relaxing on the white sandy beach- what could be better? Lalji Temple in Kalna What else is there to do? If you want to get your feet onto solid ground for a while during your trip then there are lots of other things to do as well as enjoy the water. You could explore the city taking in the architecture and enjoying the food and sights. You could visit neighbouring cities too, many of which are very easy to access from Kalna enjoying mosques, market and so much more!
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 is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and you’ll definitely want to make the most of it you’re seeking to see every side of what India has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the country extensively or want to stop off here as part of your Ganges River Cruise , you’ll find Kokata has plenty to offer, and you can find out everything you need to know below. Impressive example of Kolkata’s archaeology An Introduction to Kolkata Kolkata is known as a cultural centre in India, and it brings an elegance and sophistication that other cities are lacking. It has some of the country’s finest and most impressive Raj-era architecture and you won’t want to miss out on that. There are stunning market places, beautiful temples and impressive civic statues and monuments. It’s associated with some of the finest artists to come out of India, and that link to cinema, literature and music is still very much alive to this day. It’s a city that’s had problems with poverty going back a long way, but the people are friendly and welcoming, making it a popular destination for visitors. Kolkata’s Top Attractions and Things to See If you want to see the best of Kolkata, these are the attractions and the key things to see that you should focus on while you’re there. Victoria Memorial This stunning white, colonial building was built to commemorate Queen Victoria of England. It’s a key part of the history of Kolkata and you should take the time to visit it. Mullik Ghat Flower Market The vibrant and chaotic colours on display at the Mullik Ghat Flower Market is something you won’t want to miss. Head there and see this 125-year-old market for yourself; you won’t regret it. The amazing Kolkata flower market Howrah Bridge Howrah Bridge crosses the Hooghly River and connects Kolkata with Howrah. It’s an impressive engineering feat and the pedestrian bridge is definitely worth a walk. Dakshineswar Kali Temple This Hindu temple is one of the most beautiful buildings you’ll find in Kolkata and maybe one of the most impressive in all of India. It’s the kind of place that you definitely need to visit when you’re nearby so you can experience it first-hand. Belur Math Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda. You won’t want to miss out on it, and it’s best experience when the sun is setting and the aarti ceremony is taking place. What Kolkata is Most Famous For One of the things that Kolkata is known for is being home to India’s greatest filmmaker and one of the country’s greatest artists Satyajit Ray. That cultural sector thrives in Kolkata like nowhere else in India and the theatre scene is also very vibrant to this day. It’s an intellectual and educational powerhouse, as well as being a key commercial centre in India. Kolkata is a wonderful part of India, and if you want to explore the country and get a real feel for it, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit as part of your experience. Be sure to make the most of the above information and tips for places to visit if you do eventually head to Kolkata.
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.
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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