River Cruising in Eastern India

by TransIndus

River Cruising in Eastern India


Travel in India doesn’t necessarily have to mean “trains, planes and automobiles”. In the east of the country, the great rivers of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Hooghly – for thousands of years the principal transport arteries of the subcontinent – provide perfect routes for leisurely cruises through some of the most remote and rarely visited parts of the country.

Operated by the pioneering Assam–Bangal Navigation Company (ABN), three colonial-style steamers ply these ancient waterways, pausing at the historic sights, wildlife parks and cultural centres that line the riverbanks. The perspective yielded by these journeys is unique. The rural areas traversed have changed little in essence since the days of the East India Company, several of whose ruined trading posts rise from the paddy fields and sandbars as you glide across the silty water.

Quite apart from being elegant craft in themselves, the boats are handsomely furnished and extremely comfortable throughout. The cabins are air-conditioned and en suite. A wood-lined bar and dining room provide comfortable spaces in which to relax under cover, while a large canopied deck is perfect for watching life drift past on and alongside the water – all in all, a wonderfully relaxing way to experience parts of the world rarely visited by outsiders.


River Cruising in Eastern India



Cruises on the Brahmaputra


Stretching from the erstwhile army town of Dibrugarh through the state of Assam to Dhubri on the Bangladesh border, the mighty Brahmaputra river winds beside wildlife parks, historic towns and cultural sights – the perfect mix for a fascinating cruise. Guided visits to tea plantations and walks along riverside villages feature on their varied itineraries. Mid October to end March is usually the best season to take these 4, 7 or 10-night cruises.


River Cruising in Eastern India



Cruises on the Hooghly


The Hooghly river, a side stream of the Ganges, is dotted with historic sites, from Kolkata at its southernmost tip to Jangipur in the north. As you proceed up or downstream on these 7-night trips, you pass a string of former European capitals – abandoned cities of colonial empires with impressive buildings. Between tours of the monuments, take a cycle rickshaw ride into a local village and a leisurely stroll around Mughal gardens and tombs. Available around the year, these cruises afford an experience of off-track areas not accessible by any land-based itinerary of West Bengal.


River Cruising in Eastern India



Cruises on the Ganges


Offering an insight into rural Bengal and neighbouring Bihar, the cruises on the Ganges are 6 nights downstream or 8 nights upstream from Patna or Farakka – or vice versa. Explore ancient Buddhist sites at Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, the Mughal ruins at Rajmahal as well as the East India company relics at Monghyr and Patna. Available during the winter months only, these cruises combine well with the ones on the Hooghly to make for an exciting voyage through totally undiscovered territory.


River Cruising in Eastern India


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