Bengal on a Cruise
Bengal on a Cruise is a 10 day cruise through waters of holy river Ganga (Ganges). The Cruise offers travellers a journey of a lifetime that takes through mangrove forests where villagers co-exist with man eating Tigers and historic areas by the River Ganga that are still largely inaccessible for tourists at large. You undertake boat safaris in Sunderban Mangroves for sighting birds and alligators, interact with villagers, visit local fish markets, craft centres and exotic temples and experience the heartland of what is truly the “Real India”.
Bengal on a Cruise Highlights
- Visit fishing hamlet of Namkhana
- Explore Colonial heritage of Kolkata
- Cruise through mangrove forests of Sunderbans to sight migratory birds and alligators
- Interact with villagers of Sunderbans that co-exist with man eating Tigers
- Visit traditional Kansari Artisans of Matiari and Weaving Village of Shantipur
- Explore colonial heritage sites of Murshidabad and Chandannagore
- Experience early 19th Century Terracotta Temples
- Accommodation in a double / twin room
- All transfers, sightseeing and visits as per programme
- AC Class Train ticket from Azimganj to Howrah
- All currently applicable taxes
- Entrance fees at monuments (if any)
- Expenses of personal nature such as gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
- India visa charges
- Travel insurance
Expert Travel Opinion
Bengal on a Cruise is where one spends a couple of days exploring villages where man-animal conflict is a never ending battle. You sail through areas rich in colonial history that till today do not feature in any of the tourist itineraries. You understand the significance of the holy river Ganga (Ganges), understand the rich craft heritage of Bengal and be amazed to visit areas where time has stood still. The soul of India that the Colonial Raj left behind still remains intact somewhere in these areas even as winds of modernisation are blowing hard elsewhere. Bengal on a Cruise is where you understand “Real India”, an India that is waiting to be discovered by travellers at large, more than 70 years after getting independence from the British.
Day 01 - Kolkata
Arrival at Kolkata
Arrive at Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, one of the 4 metros of India and a popular arrival point for International travellers visiting East India. Kolkata is a port city and used to be the largest and commercially most important city during the days of the British Raj. Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Most International arrivals are late evening leaving little time for exploration. So arrive at the hotel in Kolkata for an overnight stay.
Day 02 - Cruise
Embark on Bengal Cruise
Morning transfer to the Cruise jetty for the Sunderbans Cruise. Sunderbans is a mangrove forest area in West Bengal (Bangladesh on other side), renowned for its man-eating tigers that co-exist with villagers here. The area is a prime bird watching site and a one of a kind experience for all travellers. Embark the Cruiser at 11 AM for a safety and tour briefing. Thereafter the cruiser sails along the beautiful Ganges towards the South, passing various heritage sites along the way to reach Namkhana, a small fishing hamlet and gateway to Sunderbans. In the evening the you will be briefed about the mangrove in a wildlife film show before the Dinner.
Day 03 - Cruise
Cruise through Sunderban Mangroves. Visit Mangrove villages
This morning you cruise through the mangroves and visit the crocodile project on Bhagabatpur island, a hatchery and sanctuary to the biggest estuarine crocodiles in the world. This is also a good birding opportunity for wide range of migratory and local birds of this region. You return to Vessel for Lunch. After lunch you visit a typical Sunderban village "Bali" for an interaction with the villagers, to experience their life style. You will experience farming, paddy husking, honey packing, fishing and various occupations of the region. In the evening you will enjoy folk dances by the local artists.
Day 04 - Cruise
Explore Sunderbans followed by Evening Entertainment
After breakfast you enjoy extensive creek ride through the dense Mangrove forest. Later you have a Canopy walk and explore Dobanke, the Deer Rehabilitation Centre. In the afternoon visit the Wildlife Watch Tower at Sudhayanakhali, followed by a Boat ride where guests can enjoy best of Alligator and bird watching. In the evening you will be treated to a traditional dance form of Bengal, Gaorio dance before dinner.
Day 05 - Cruise
Kolkata Arrival. Explore Kolkata. Cruise to Belur Math for Evening Aarti
You arrive at Kolkata by Morning. Thereafter you undertake Kolkata city tour, that explores significant monuments build during its heydays as the capital of British East India Company. You visit Kumartuli (Potters Village), Howrah Bridge (Iconic bridge, dated 1943 built over river Hooghly connecting modern city with the Old City Howrah), Dalhousie Square (Historic Riverside area), College Street Book Market (renowned for its India Coffee House), St. Paul’s Cathedral (dated 1847), Victoria Memorial (Dated 1921). In the evening you will enjoy the Cruise to Ghat of Kolkata to visit Belur Math for the evening Aarti.
Day 06 - Cruise
Drop anchor to explore Chandannagore
Today the vessel will drop anchor at Chandannagore (erstwhile French colony from 1673 to 1952 and under British East India Company between 1757 and 1794 - also known as "Chandannagar"). Here you walk by the Chandannagaore Strand (Tree shaded promenade by the riverside) and explore monuments of historical importance such as The Chandannagar Museum (A memorial of the Anglo-French war having a lot of antiques), Sacred Heart Church (Dated 1884), French Cemetery, Chandannagar Gate (Dated 1937) and local eateries (There is a renowned Bengal sweet shop and a French bakery). After lunch you visit erstwhile Portuguese settlement of Bandel to visit Bandel Church and the Monastery (Dated 1660).
Day 07 - Cruise
Visit Terracota Temples and Craft Village of Shantpur
Today the vessel will drop anchor to visit Terracota Temples. Kalna - Maharajas of Bardhaman built several magnificent terracotta temples in a style that is unique to Bengal. After lunch visit Shantipur, a village with rich handloom weaving traditions. Here, you visit the weavers colony that weaves fine Bengal cotton. The weavers use traditional art into creating textiles, saris, stoles, fabrics etc. In the evening you are treated to a folk form of music known as “Boul Sangeet” before dinner.
Day 08 - Cruise
Visit Mayapur and Craft Village of Matiari
Today the vessel will drop anchor at Mayapur, which is the headquarters of the world renowned ISKCON temples (having 850 temples worldwide). You have an option to take a guided tour of the ISKCON Temple headquarters. Later after lunch you visit Matiari, renowned for renowned bell metal wares of Bengal. You are taken to the workshops to see craftsmen at work and interact with them.
Day 09 - Cruise
Today the vessel will drop anchor at Murshidabad, erstwhile capital of Sube Bangla Kingdom, that ruled the area till 18th Century. The East India Company took control over the region after the famous Battle of Plassey (dated 1757). You visit Murshidabad of today for the remains of the Sube Bangla Kingdom and Colonial Raj such as Katra Mosque (dated 1724), Imambara (dated 1847), Hazarduari Palace (dated 1837), Katgola Garden (Ancient Mango Orchard spread over 30 acres), Nasipur Rajbari (early 20th Century) and Tomb of Azamunnisa Begum (dated 1734).
Day 10 - Cruise
Today you arrive at Baranagar, a town renowned for its Terracota Temples. You visit the 18th Century Temples such as Bhavaniswar Temple, Char Bangla Temple and Gangeshwar Temple. Thereafter you visit Jigagunj area for Beedi Factory (Indian style Cigarette) and a Jain Temple. Thereafter you return to the cruiser for one last evening before disembarking the next morning.
Day 11 - Kolkata
Arrive at Azimganj for Disembarkation. Take Train back to Kolkata
Today you disembark at Azimganj after an early breakfast. Thereafter you will be transferred to Azimgunj railway station by Tuktuk (15 mins) for 13466/Malda Town - Howrah Intercity Express to Howrah (Azimganj Departure 8:25 and Howrah arrival 12:50). Upon arrival at Howrah you will be transferred to the Kolkata International Airport for onward International departure.
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