Tailor-made Tour 21 days from £9585 per person

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  Places Visited: Kolkata, Kalna, Matiari, Murshidabad, Bateshwarsthan, Sultanganj, Munger, Simaria, Patna, Buxar, Ghazipur , Varanasi, Delhi

Considered the most luxurious ships in India, Antara operates a fleet of varying sizes, including catamarans, small private cruise ships and some richly appointed triple-deck ships that offer luxurious living and a choice of suites, fine-dining, including Michelin-inspired menus, and excellent service.

The newest of their ships, the MV Ganga Vilas, has been specially designed to navigate a range of waters, making it capable of impressive sailings, including this 20-night itinerary from Kolkata to Varanasi. While Antara operates a few regular sailing, unlike others, Antara specialises in one-off journeys to celebrate major festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Easter, Christmas and New Year or venture into remote regions and circuits that are otherwise difficult to access by road, rail or air.

Upcoming departures dates from Kolkata are 8th October 2024 and 14th October 2025. 

Holiday Types

Cultural Holidays Wildlife Holidays River Cruising Holidays Luxury Train Holidays Family Holidays Honeymoons Beach Holidays Adventure Holidays


Suggested itinerary

Day 1

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, The Oberoi Grand, for the night. The remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Kolkata, or ‘Calcutta’ as it was known prior to 2001, is the capital of West Bengal state, and India’s third largest city, with a population of approximately 14.1 million. The trading post originally founded by the East India Company in the 17th century served as the country’s capital until 1911, and continues to be a major regional hub, albeit one with well-chronicled problems.

The backdrop to this vibrant cultural life is an architectural heritage spanning two-and-a-half centuries of colonial rule. Built to commemorate the British Raj at its zenith, the Victoria Memorial is Kolkata’s most grandiloquent monument – a stately blend of British, Mughal, Deccani, Moorish and Venetian styles whose marble domes soar majestically above the banks of the Hooghly River, surrounded by ornamental lakes and parched maidans.

Elsewhere in the city – connected by an efficient Metro system – lies a wealth of museums and art galleries, the famous Kali Ghat temple (after which the city was originally named) and hallowed turf of the Eden Gardens, high altar of Indian cricket. But above all, Kolkata is a place whose everyday sights frequently prove the most arresting: the flower sellers spreading out their wares in the dawn light at Mullick Ghat; the wrestlers, devotees of the Monkey God Hanuman, exercising on the nearby riverside steps; the overloaded barges of straw arriving at Kumartuli Ghat, where voluptuous deities are fashioned out of clay for the annual Durga Puja festival; and the streams of rickshaws, trucks and pedestrians pouring across Howrah Bridge at rush hours.

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Day 2

After a relaxing morning, you will be transferred to the MV Ganga Vilas for a midday embarkation. Enjoy lunch onboard before a panoramic tour of Dalhousie Square’s heritage buildings; St. John's Church, Victoria Memorial, and Mother Teresa’s Home. Return to the ship and enjoy cultural performance onboard.

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Day 3
Kolkata, Kalna

After breakfast, visit the Flower Market, where you can see artists creating a variety of garlands, ornaments, and other items made of flowers and leaves for temples, weddings, and other uses. Thereafter, visit Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter renowned for its sculpting prowess. Return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream, passing below the Howrah Bridge, and seeing various colonial buildings along the Ganges River.

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Day 4
Kalna, Matiari

After breakfast ride e-rickshaws through the town of Kalna to visit the enchanting Rajbari Temple complex. The Nabakailas Temple contains 108 eight-slope-roofed shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other temples in the complex feature diverse architecture and terracotta plaques depict themes of Hindu epics and various aspects of day-to-day life in the region. Return to the ship walking through the local vegetable market. Begin sailing towards the shore-side village of Matiari, while having lunch onboard.

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Day 5
Matiari, Murshidabad

Early this morning walks in the village to see and experience the craftsmen at work. These master craftsmen utilize recycled copper to create exquisite pots, platters, and more from their workshops in the village. Return to ship for breakfast and a full day's sailing towards Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem with dramatic whitewashed colonial era structures.

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Day 6
Murshidabad, Jangipur

After breakfast ride the Toto (e-rickshaw) through the countryside to the Katra mosque, which has distinctive minarets. Thereafter visit the Hazarduari Palace, which dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect, McLeod Duncan, in the Greek "Doric" style, the palace has more than a thousand real and false doors in the vast corridors and is filled with colonial-era antiques. Return to the ship for lunch and sail towards Jangipur.

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Day 7
Jangipur, Farakka, Samtaghat

Enjoy breakfast onboard whilst sailing through the historic Farakka Lock Gate. The travel through the Feeder Canal gives the chance to see the different birds of the region. After crossing the Lock Gate, a cruise through the connecting canal to the Ganges reveals vast panoramas. Continue towards Samtaghat.

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Day 8
Samtaghat, Bateshwarsthan

A full day's sailing towards Bateshwarsthan whilst enjoying breakfast and lunch. You will be fascinated by the passing landscape and the lively life on the river. We will arrive in Bateshwarsthan by evening.

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Day 9
Bateshwarsthan, Sultanganj

After breakfast drive in cars to the 8-9th century excavation site of the Vikramshila University and walk around the ruins. Vikramshila University was an important Buddhist centre of learning under the rule of the Pala Dynasty. Subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, metaphysics, and logic were taught here. Return to the ship and sail towards Sultanganj while enjoying lunch onboard.

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Day 10
Sultanganj, Munger

After breakfast, visit Sultanganj notable for two prominent granite rock islands in the river connected to the mainland by a causeway. On one of the islands is a mosque; on the other larger one is the Ajgaibinath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. We will visit the Shiva temple. Return to the ship and sail towards Munger while enjoying lunch onboard.

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Day 11

After breakfast visit the Chandika Sthan Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. It is one of the fifty-one Shakti Peethas, associated with the legend of Lord Vishnu who to save the world from Lord Shiva’s wrath, cut into pieces the corpse of Devi Sati that Shiva was carrying. Return to ship for lunch. Thereafter visit the Munger Fort and the local market popular for fruits, vegetables, textiles, and readymade garments.

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Day 12
Munger, Simaria

Enjoying breakfast and lunch onboard, your journey continues further upstream sailing under the great bridge at Mokameh Ghat. Arrive in Simaria by late afternoon. In the evening walk in the riverside village of Simaria to see the daily activities of the local people.

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Day 13
Simaria, Patna

A full days sailing through wonderful countryside to Patna. Patna is the capital of the State of Bihar and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world founded in 490 BCE as Pataliputra.

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Day 14
Patna, Ghaghra Mod

This morning you'll visit the Golghar and Patna Museum. Return to ship for lunch onboard before sailing towards Ghaghra Mod, the confluence where River Ghaghra meets River Ganges.

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Day 15
Ghaghra Mod, Buxar

After breakfast enjoy a walk in the riverbank village. Thereafter it's a full day sailing towards Buxar, anchoring en route. Buxar is one of the most prominent towns of western Bihar, bordering the State of Uttar Pradesh.

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Day 16
Buxar, Ghazipur

Another full day sailing today towards Ghazipur enjoying breakfast and lunch onboard. Ghazipur in the State of Uttar Pradesh was established by the British East India Company in 1820 as an opium factory. It still produces the drug for the global pharmaceutical industry. Post lunch visit to the Tomb of Lord Cornwallis, one of the major figures of Indian and British history.

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Day 17
Ghazipur, Varanasi

Continue sailing today upstream towards Varanasi enjoying breakfast and lunch onboard. We will moor for the night before Varanasi, subject to river tide conditions.

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Day 18

Arrive in Varanasi by late afternoon. Varanasi is a major religious hub in India, and is considered the holiest city in Hinduism and Jainism. It also played an important role in the development of Buddhism. As an important industrial centre, it is famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

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Day 19

After breakfast, visit the excavation site of Sarnath, the seat where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya. Return to the ship for lunch before disembarking again to take a walk through the busy alleys of Varanasi to experience the beating heart of the city. In the evening, continue to the riverside to witness the evening “Ganga Aarti” ritual.

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Day 20
Varanasi, Delhi

Your river cruise comes to an end today as you disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.

Delhi, India’s capital, is home to an estimated 20 million people. A compelling hotch-potch of ancient and modern, it holds the vestiges of at least seven great urban centres: Afghan mausolea crumble on traffic roundabouts; millennia-old fort walls stand next to eight-lane expressways; and Sufi shrines huddle beside concrete flyovers.

More amazing still is the fact that so many cultural transmissions from Delhi’s past eras endure. Five-star hotels host recitals by ghazal singers, sarod players and kathak dancers whose arts have been painstakingly preserved since the days of Mughals. Echoes of the British Raj abound, too, from 1930s elegance of the Imperial Hotel to the uniforms of the sentries strutting down Raj Path.

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Day 21
Delhi, UK

Transfer to the airport for your return flight.

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Tailor-made Tour 21 days from £9585 per person

What's included

✓   Arrival and departure transfers 

✓   20 nights accommodation, including 18 nights on the cruise, 1 night in Kolkata and 1 night in Delhi.

✓   All excursions on board with English-speaking guides

✓   Meal Plan: Full board on the cruise and Bed & Breakfast in Kolkata and Delhi.

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