1. Home
  2. India
  3. Bengal Ganga
Private Charter

Bengal Ganga

An intimate Indian riverboat reminiscent of the colonial 'Clyde' steamers of the British Empire.

Overview

Built in 2004, the Bengal Ganga’s design is reminiscent of the colonial ships used by the Viceroys of British India at the height of the British Empire. Accommodating just 56 guests in premium luxury, she will take you on a journey along one of the most beautiful river routes in India.

Life on board

Characterized by polished teak and gleaming brass fittings throughout, the RV Bengal Ganga is an intimate ship with just 28 cabins, a high staff-to-guest ratio and personalized butler service. Onboard activities include cooking demonstrations with the head chef, lectures on contemporary Indian life, religion and culture, together with some fascinating documentaries in the evenings.

The beautifully furnished cabins range in size from 145 square feet to 228 square feet and feature paneled Burma teak walls and floors. Each is fitted with modern amenities and a dash of quintessential Indian luxury, complete with an ensuite bathroom with a shower, plenty of storage, and a private balcony to ensure a relaxed space of your own.

With large windows on either side, providing unimpeded riverbank views, the Dining Room is situated on the main deck, and serves delicious Indian delicacies as well as popular cuisines from around the world. It is furnished with a buffet counter, elegant teakwood tables and local textiles. The upper deck is home to the saloon & bar, which is a cozy space for drinks, conversations, and film screenings.

The Sun Deck has an observation area offering yet more magnificent views and is the spot dedicated to morning yoga practice. It also houses an air-conditioned Spa where you can unwind with a variety of Ayurvedic massages and beauty treatments.

On shore excursions

This important trade route is replete with historical landmarks, now mostly hidden among the ubiquitous villages, towns and cities that have grown along the banks. As you meander along the river, you can look forward to being introduced to some of the Indian traditions, art, spirituality and history through the cultural interactions you’ll experience at various stops along the way. You will witness the traditional crafts of the river, from weavers to potters.

Visit Murshidabad’s Palace, the British colonial buildings of Kolkata, the Portuguese settlement of Bandel, and the architectural marvels of Chandernagore town in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, which is dotted with many buildings retaining the French heritage style. Take a rickshaw to the Rajbari Temple Complex and be enthralled by the intricate terracotta tiles that depict mythologies, before paying a visit to Mother Teresa’s home and tomb.

Destinations

The Bengal Ganga cruise sets sail from Kolkata and journeys to some of the most popular destinations and hidden gems along the iconic river, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the heart of Bengal, and feel inspired by the artisans, weavers, writers and poets who influenced the Bengali Renaissance. Voyage to Bandel and Kalna, and discover the settlements founded by the Portuguese and French as you make your way to Mayapur and back to Kolkata.

A cruise aboard the Bengal Ganga offers the perfect way for couples, solo travelers and families or groups to explore this region of India in real style.

Itineraries & Prices

1 / 1
8-Day

8 Day - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise

itinerary map

Welcome to Kolkata & Embarkation

AM: Arrive Kolkata in the morning and transfer to the jetty to embark the ship. Lunch onboard. 

PM: Visit the Weaver’s Studio, a Textile Study and Resource Centre for an introduction to some of the fabulous fabrics and weaves we will encounter on our travels. Weavers Studio’s creations are inspired by historical textiles, Indian trade cloths, seasons, ethnic tribes, across-the-border cultures, and contemporary techniques. Their collection comprises specialized fabrics, stoles, scarves, shawls, patch scrolls, art textiles, sarees, and garments.

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.


Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Kolkata
Day
1 / 8

Kolkata Through the Ages

AM: After breakfast, embark on a Panoramic Tour of Kolkata, featuring a view of the well preserved British colonial buildings in Kolkata: Writer's Building, General Post Office, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), Town Hall, Council House, Treasury Building, Reserve Bank of India and Dalhousie Square. We proceed to visit St. John's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Kolkata, built-in 1756.

The tour features the oldest functioning pipe organ in India, a painting of the Last Supper by German artist, Johann Zoffany, and several tombs of British Generals who died during the Siege of Kolkata by Nawab Shriaj Ud Daula in 1756. Then we visit the grand Victoria Memorial Museum, which houses the largest collection of British colonial historical artifacts.

PM: Return to the ship for lunch and start sail upstream passing below the cantilevered Howrah Bridge and seeing various colonial buildings along the Ganges River. We moor for the night on the outskirts of Kolkata city near the Bally Bridge.

Overnight on onboard Bengal Ganga.

Note: on Sunday, 12th November 2023, there is Diwali Festival.

Diwali or Deepawali is the most significant and famous festival of India and is celebrated every year all over the country. People celebrate it very enthusiastically to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and defeating the demon king Ravana. As the return was on Amavasya, the new-moon day, the people of Ayodhya had illuminated their homes and pathways with earthen lamps (deep) to welcome their Lord. It is a sacred Hindu festival that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. People clean and whitewash their houses and decorate it with earthen lamps, electric lights, and lanterns. Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and Ganesh, the God of Goodwill and Prosperity are worshipped after sunset to get blessings of health, wealth, and prosperity. Firecrackers and sky lantern light up the sky.

The ship crew will give you an opportunity to celebrate Diwali the traditional way by decorating the ship with lights and treating you to traditional sweets and savories. You can witness the festive fervor during the excursions.


Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Kolkata
Day
2 / 8

Bandel & West Bengal

AM: This morning we set sail upstream to Bandel, meaning port in Bengali was founded by Portuguese settlers who built the Church and a Monastery around 1660. 

PM: We visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centers in West Bengal, built-in 1841 by Haji Mohammad Mahasin. The two-story building and surrounding rooms provide housing for pilgrims as well as classrooms, or Madrasa that teach the Koran. The structure contains a Victorian-era clock with a winding key weighing 20kg. Large Persian chandeliers and lamps light the Imambara's stunning hallways and passages.

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.


Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Bandel
Day
3 / 8

Bandel & Kalna

AM: Today we sail further upstream to the temple town of Kalna. Ride rickshaws to the enchanting Rajbari Temple Complex, which has the highest concentration of temples in the region. Visit the Nabakailas Temple, built-in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja, which contains 108 eight slope-roofed shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other temples in the complex feature diverse architecture and terra cotta plaques depicting themes of Hindu epics, the mythical life of Sree Chaitanya, images of Durga, and various aspects of day-to-day life in the region. 

PM: We also visit a local Weaver’s home to see the traditional Weaving of Muslin Cloth. Muslin or “malmal” is a cotton fabric of plain weave made in various weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. Early muslin was handwoven of uncommonly delicate handspun yarn. Return to the ship walking through the local market.

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.

Note : on Sunday, 24th March 2024, there is Festival of Dol-Jatra, Bengali Holi.

Dol-Jatra is based on the legend of Krishna and Radha in which Lord Krishna expressed his love to his beloved Radha on this full moon day (Purnima). Like Holi, colored powder is a key part of festivities, and is known as phag in Bengali. The application of phag starts with a degree of reverence as the powder is applied to pictures of deceased family members, then on the feet of elders as a mark of respect. From then on, it is open season, with everyone up for being given a 'mark of respect' - basically to get covered in color. The festival is also known as the 'Swing Festival' as idols of both Krishna and Radha are paraded on highly decorated palanquins (a type of open sedan chair), which are swung around. Women will sing songs while the men spray colored powder at the idols. Dol-Jatra also has an added significance for Bengalis, as it marks the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a great 16th century Vaishnava saint and poet, regarded by some as an incarnation of Krishna.

Weavers may not be working due to Holi festival.

Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Kalna
Day
4 / 8

Nabadwip & Mayapur

AM: Early morning, we sail towards Nabadwip, arriving by the afternoon. Literally meaning New (Nab) Island (Dwip), it is the birthplace and abode of Saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Hindu Vaishnav religion and a great social reformer. Once the capital of the Sena Dynasty under King Lakshman Sena who ruled during the 12th century, the town was an important center of education, religion, and culture. Post lunch we will explore the riverbank village by walking to see the local people engaged in Handloom Weaving of Cotton fabric, mainly saris and stole/scarves, and other activities. 

PM: Ride the country boat across the river to visit Mayapur, the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Guests can experience the fascinating culture of these followers and their ornate, colorful decorated statues of Krishna. The new temple built to commemorate the Jubilee year of ISKCON in 2016 and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great-grandson of car-maker Henry Ford, can be compared to the Vatican. It also contains a 75- foot domed planetarium. Meet Krishna followers and walk through the pilgrim’s bazaar.

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.

Note: on Monday, 25th March 2024, there is Holi Festival.

We will celebrate Holi festival when we reach Chandernagore. You will be invited on the Sun Deck and celebrate this festival by playing with colors and with music and dancing. So, do not miss a chance to make it an unforgettable memory of your life.

Handloom Weaving may be closed due to Holi festival.

Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Mayapur
Day
5 / 8

Mayapur & Guptipara

AM: This morning a short sail brings us to Guptipara, a rural town, renowned for its paddy fields and the Himsagar mango. Explore the town by visiting the Vaishnav temples that contain some fantastic terracotta works. All the structures bear characteristics of the Bengal school of architecture, with carvings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics.

The Ratha-Yatra (Chariot Festival) is Guptipara’s greatest festival and the temple chariot is one of the tallest and oldest in West Bengal. Visit a Potter’s home to see and interact with the artisans creating various clay items. 

PM: In the afternoon, we sail across to the opposite riverbank and visit the weaving village of Fulia. After the partition of India and the division of Bengal into West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), many skilled weavers from Bangladesh, came and settled here and the region become a renowned center for hand-woven fabrics.

With government encouragement and support, the talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished. Fulia specializes in a combination of Jacquard and Jamdani Saree Weaving. Jamdani is typically handloom woven fabric using a mixture of cotton and gold thread. It is one of the most time and labor-intensive forms of handloom weaving, and the most artistic textile rich in motifs. 

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.

Note : on Tuesday, 7th March 2023, there is Festival of Dol-Jatra, Bengali Holi.

Dol-Jatra is based on the legend of Krishna and Radha in which Lord Krishna expressed his love to his beloved Radha on this full moon day (Purnima). Like Holi, colored powder is a key part of festivities, and is known as phag in Bengali. The application of phag starts with a degree of reverence as the powder is applied to pictures of deceased family members, then on the feet of elders as a mark of respect. From then on, it is open season, with everyone up for being given a 'mark of respect' - basically to get covered in color. The festival is also known as the 'Swing Festival' as idols of both Krishna and Radha are paraded on highly decorated palanquins (a type of open sedan chair), which are swung around. Women will sing songs while the men spray colored powder at the idols. Dol-Jatra also has an added significance for Bengalis, as it marks the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a great 16th century Vaishnava saint and poet, regarded by some as an incarnation of Krishna.

Potters and weavers may not be working due to Holi festival.

Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Fulia
Day
6 / 8

Fulia & Chandernagore

AM: This morning we sail further downstream to Chandernagore, which was established as a French colony in 1673. The French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal to establish a trading post on the riverbanks of this city, which became a permanent French settlement.

Explore the French colonial buildings walking along the promenade, including the former French governor's residence, now converted to a museum that features an exhibition of items that depict life during this period. Also visit the Sacred Heart Church, designed by French Architect Jacques Duchatz. The church was inaugurated in 1884 and stands for over two centuries to mark the beauty of the architecture during the French period.

PM: Return to the ship and continue our journey back to Kolkata en route we halt to visit the Serampore College (subject to permission from college principal), the oldest university in India to be in continuous operation. It was founded in 1818 by the English missionaries known as the Serampore Trio whose aim was to give an education in arts and sciences to students of every "caste, colour or country" and to train people for ministry in the growing church in India.

Also visit the St. Olav’s Church, locally known as the Danish Church, it was one of the 100 buildings that were constructed by the Danish Management between 1755 and 1845. The church is not particularly Scandinavian but reflects the designs of contemporary churches in British India, in particular those in Calcutta, which were inspired by contemporaneous designs popular in Britain, such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

Continue sail to Kolkata and moor for the night.

Evening farewell dinner.

Overnight on board Bengal Ganga.

Note: on Wednesday, 8th March 2023, there is Holi Festival.

We will celebrate Holi festival when we reach Chandernagore. You will be invited on the Sun Deck and celebrate this festival by playing with colors and with music and dancing. So, do not miss a chance to make it an unforgettable memory of your life.

No inside visit to French Museum and Serampore College as will be closed due to Holi festival.

Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Chandernagore
Day
7 / 8

Disembarkation

AM: Following breakfast guests will disembark the vessel and transfer to the Kolkata Airport.


Bengal Ganga - The Artisans of Bengal Cruise
Location
Kolkata
Day
8 / 8
1 / 8

Accommodations

Social Areas

Dining
HotCounter
Lounge
Spa
Balcony
Sundeck

Suites & Cabins

Bengal Ganga - Superior (Main Deck)
10 Cabins

Superior (Main Deck)

Guests
2
Size
13.4 m² / 145 ft²
Beds
Twin

The Main Deck 'Superior' cabins each have an outdoor seating area facing the river, and is furnished with Burma teak floors & walls, original art and fine local textiles.

Bengal Ganga - Deluxe (Upper Deck)
16 Cabins

Deluxe (Upper Deck)

Guests
2
Size
13.40 m² / 145 ft²
Beds
Twin

The Upper Deck 'Deluxe' cabins are the same specification as the Main Deck's 'Superior' cabins but just on a higher deck. As such, they also have an outdoor seating area facing the river, and are equally elegantly furnished with Burma teak floors & walls, original art and fine local textiles.

Bengal Ganga - Premier
2 Cabins

Premier

Guests
2
Size
20.8 m² / 224 ft²
Beds
Double

Also on the Upper Deck but stretched across the stern, the Premier cabins are much larger, with near floor-to-ceiling windows and furnished with solid Burma teak floors & walls, double beds, fine indigenous textiles and original artworks. With all the modern amenities, these rooms bring you closer to experiencing India like a royal.

Technical Information

Deck Plan

Features

  • Air conditioning
  • Massage room
  • Lecture room
  • WIFI available
  • Spa
  • Souvenir shop
  • Mosquito netting
  • Hot showers
  • Heating
  • Charging areas for electronic equipment

Equipment

  • Yoga mats
  • Flash lights
  • Water canteen/bottle
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent
** Use of certain equipment at additional cost, ask for details