Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £2895 per person

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  Places Visited: Delhi, Patna, Maner, Doriganj, Buxar, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Sarnath, Ramnagar, Delhi

Assam Bengal Navigation is the original cruise operator on India’s Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers, having navigated these mighty waterways since 2003.

A world away from the more well-trodden roads of India, the eastern corner remains untouched by mass tourism. From dancing monks to one-horned rhinos, colonial vestiges to terracotta temples, remote villages to bustling cities, travelling by boat opens up a treasure trove of history, culture, wildlife and religion.

Cruises on the Ganges and Lower Ganges (the Hooghly) offer a chance to witness life as lived in riverbank villages and towns, and marvel at ornate historic temples and monuments. A little-known but fascinating and culturally rich part of India, travelling by boat opens up areas otherwise largely inaccessible to the traveller.

Your journey on the Ganges will be aboard ABN Rajmahal. With 22 cabins in total, including 18 spacious twin/double cabins, and four single cabins for solo travellers, ABN Rajmahal is a boutique, modern ship whose decor reflects a sense of homecoming to the region of Bengal. Hand-blocked cotton fabrics with Indian-inspired designs, Bengali antiques and objets d'art as well as locally made furniture all add to the ship’s unique ambience. All cabins have French balconies, offering panoramic views of life along the river.

This Summer special route from Patna to Varanasi or vice versa, operates on a select few dates in September. 


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 at Delhi airport and transferred to your hotel, the Taj Mahal, New Delhi, for the night. The remainder of your day will be at leisure.

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 2
Delhi, Patna

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the domestic airport for your onward connection to Patna. You will be met and transferred to your awaiting ship, the ABN Rajmahal, on arrival. Enjoy dinner onboard whilst sailing upstream.

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Day 3
Maner, Doriganj

This morning you’ll cruise upstream during breakfast before landing to visit a spectacular small Mughal tomb at Maner. Reboard and continue past the confluence with the River Sone to the busy river port of Doriganj, mooring at an overnight stop near the confluence with the River Goghra. ​

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Day 4

Today you continue up past Ballia to Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764 which, together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British Raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield and the old East India Company cemetery in town. Later, take a short cycle rickshaw ride up to the ghats of Buxar. ​

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Day 5

Sail upstream today past Chausa to Ghazipur, still a centre for (official) opium production. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the General responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown and, if time permits, take a stroll through the busy Ghazipur bazaar, a quintessential Indian experience

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Day 6
Varanasi, Sarnath

​​This morning, sail on to Varanasi, formerly Benaras. Also known as the ‘City of Light’, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back 3,000 years. Mark Twain once wrote that "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together". An accurate description, Varanasi is arresting to your every sense yet beautifully spiritual for those willing to let go and just be. It's the most important religious site for Hindus and is visited by people from all walks of life who come here in the hope of attaining moksha or salvation. After lunch, visit the Buddhist site at Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Buddha preached his first sermon, as well as the nearby archaeological museum.

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Day 7
Ramnagar, Chunar

​This morning, sail past the ghats of Varanasi to visit Ramnagar and see the Maharaja’s Palace and museum. Sail on to visit Chunar, the great Mughal Fort, the old British cemetery and the Mughal tombs nearby. Carpet weaving and Chunar pottery offer a taste of the traditional industries that still thrive in the region. Sail down to anchor at Ramnagar for the night.

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Day 8

An early start this morning as you take rowing boats at dawn to soak in the lively and colourful bathing ghats of Varanasi. After a reviving breakfast onboard, disembark again to take a walk through the busy alleys of Varanasi to experience the beating heart of the city. In the evening, take rowing boats once again to join the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony, where young priests perform their daily rituals with brass lamps and spiritual mantras in front of large crowds from all over India and the world. A truly mesmerising sight, this aarti is the essence of Varanasi. Return to the ship anchored at Rajghat. ​

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Day 9
Varanasi, Delhi

​After breakfast, disembark and transfer to Varanasi airport for your flight back to Delhi. The rest of the day will be at leisure.

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Day 10
Delhi, UK

Transfer to the airport for your return flight.

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Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £2895 per person

What's included

✓   Arrival and departure transfers 

✓  Nine nights accommodation, including seven nights on the cruise, and two nights in Delhi.

✓   All excursions on board with English-speaking guides

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

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