8 days from £ 2760 per person
Places Visited: Kolkata, Chandernagore, Kalna, Matiari, Murshidabad, Baranagar, Farakka
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.
You'll be collected from your hotel late morning. Embark the ship at midday and sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore. Disembark and take a walk through the cantonment past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame, and Flagstaff House, its garden housing many of the British statues removed from central Calcutta.
Sail up to Chandernagore and visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House containing a small museum. Land at Chinsura and take rickshaws to visit the Dutch cemetery and the imposing Imambara at Hooghly where you reboard your ship and cruise upstream leaving urban sprawl behind. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kalna.
Land at the country town of Kalna and take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the vast new ISKCON temple. Visit on the opposite bank at Nabadwip the older and humbler temples entwined within a giant banyan tree before sailing on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.
This morning visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later cruise on past the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of Indian history, to moor at Murshidabad.
Land and travel by cycle rickshaw to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837, dominates the waterfront. Inside are an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Visit also the great Katra Mosque and drive out to two amazing buildings of the late 18th century, the Nashipara Palace and the Katgola Palace. Both were built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represent the other side of the coin of the “White Moghul” period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Overnight on the riverbank across from town.
Moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar with three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples to which you walk through the fields. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Continue up the Hooghly, here a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on to moor at dusk at Jangipur.
From Jangipur cruise up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage. The afternoon is free. Alternatively, a full day excursion by road is also available for those taking this upstream itinerary. Take a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening at Farakka.
Disembark the ship for a dawn transfer to Farakka station and a 6 hr train journey to Kolkata.
8 days from £ 2760 per person
✓ 7 nights accommodation
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
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 tra...
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