7 Night cruise departing roundtrip from Kolkata onboard Kalaw Pandaw.
There can be no river in the world as sacred as the Ganges and an expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly is one of the prettiest river journeys imaginable. The river wends its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal with its culturally significant towns crammed with temples and palaces. A rich and vibrant rural life abounds and there is never a dull moment as we sedately ply this pleasant waterway.
A decade ago, for the first time since colonial times, Pandaw pioneered river expeditions in India. Since then we have depended on modern style and often impractically designed partnerships. We are now able to offer an original Pandaw ship, vastly more suited to river expeditions in the tropics and far more comfortable too.
There can be no better vessels to explore this rich tapestry than on a stately Pandaw vessel, currently the Pandaw fleet having seen service now in four countries. With staterooms offering, guest personal verandah space and indoor dining.
Highlights of this cruise:
DAY 1 KOLKATA - BARRACKPORE
Transfer from the meeting point to embark and sail at noon. Sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore to land and take a walk through the cantonment - past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House.
DAY 2 KALNA
After breakfast sail upstream and 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 lesser shrines. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.
DAY 3 MATIARI
Visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, to change the course of Indian history. Moor close to Murshidabad for the night.
DAY 4 MURSHIDABAD
This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Carry on to visit the great Katra Mosque and Nashipara Palace before driving out to see the Katgola Palace. Built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants, Katgola Palace represents the other side of the coin of the 'White Mughal' period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town.
DAY 5 BARANAGAR - AJIMGANJ
Continue up the Hoogly which transforms into a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Morning walk through the fields of the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar to visit its three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Visit the Jain temples at Azimganj and the Bara Bari Palace and continue downstream.
DAY 6 MAYAPUR
Explore the village of Mayapur, the headquarters of the ISKCON movement with a new temple comparable in size to the Vatican and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great grandson of car maker Henry Ford. Meet Krishna followers and walk through the pilgrims’ bazaar.
DAY 7 CHANDERNAGORE - HOOGHLY
Continue sailing downstream before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. Sail past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kolkata.
DAY 8 DISEMBARK KOLKATA
After breakfast, disembark and receive a group transfer to the disembarkation point hotel for your onward journey.
Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking.