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Katha Pandaw

A pioneering vessel of Mekong and Irrawaddy expeditions now exploring India's mighty River Ganges.

Overview

The pioneering 28-guest RV Katha Pandaw is a trailblazing vessel of Asian river exploration. Built in 2011 in Saigon and having already previously embarked on both Mekong cruises across Vietnam and Cambodia and Irrawaddy voyages through Myanmar, she now sails India’s mighty Ganges as part of epic overland-plus-cruise expeditions exploring the riches of one of the world’s most remarkable and sacred rivers.

Originally an ‘all Ganges’ voyage sailing one thousand miles from Kolkata all the way to Varanasi, and despite her ultra shallow draft, due to navigational challenges and the obstruction of numerous pontoon bridges, the itinerary now only sails on the great Mother Ganga’s upper stretches as far as Patna, from where guests will travel overland to Gaya for a night and then on to Varanasi for two nights.

Astonishing Itineraries

This means that during your 15-day journey you’ll spend three nights in the best available hotels but will still get to sail and spend eleven nights on board the Katha Pandaw, covering the best of the Ganges through the enchanting rural arcadia of West Bengal along the Hooghly River and the great expanse of the Ganga itself with its pristine wildlife and cultural treasures dotted along its banks and beyond.

Be immersed in the local way of life as you venture downstream from Varanasi—the most sacred city of Hinduism and oldest inhabited city on the planet, a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats—to the other end of the holy river, Kolkata and all its colonial splendors and Raj-like magnificence, or vice-versa on the upstream version of the itinerary.

Ride on rickshaws, witness terracotta temples, and dine alongside Gangetic dolphins en route as you explore over 20 towns and villages, the sacred Buddhist sites of Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, battlefields, workshops, the famous Bihar School of Yoga, the world’s largest opium factory, and so much more.

Guests should note that due to unforeseen seasonal weather conditions—or indeed to take advantage of unexpected opportunities—last minute schedule shifts and slight itinerary alterations may occur. In the event this does happen, the helpful crew will be on hand to keep you apprised of any changes to excursion logistics.

A Remarkable Vessel

Previously without an indoor dining room and once catering to 36 guests, upon her September 2019 move to India where winter cruising can be chilly first thing, a refit altered the Upper Deck to create an enlarged indoor saloon/dining area, and reduced the number of staterooms aboard from sixteen to fourteen (four on the Upper deck, ten on the Lower Deck), thereby providing guests aboard the Katha Pandaw one of the largest space per guest ratios available on the Ganges.

Her identical, air-conditioned staterooms all measure 170 square feet, delightfully finished in teak and brass, feature desks and safes, and come fitted with panoramic French windows which lead out onto the walk-around decks. Bathrooms have good showers, with bathrobes, hair dryers, and slippers provided. Thoughtfully there is 24 hour laundry service and the crew will even clean your shoes after excursions.

Passengers are able to spend leisure time on the aft part of the covered Upper Deck where they can take in the sights from teak loungers and wicker furniture whilst enjoying a drink from the bar, or in the cozy comforts of the new lounge where complimentary soft drinks are served, guide briefings held, and evening cultural performances, educational talks, and cooking classes take place. An open-bridge policy allows access to the wheelhouse for those inquisitive about the boat’s navigation, and there is also a small on board shop selling fair trade products.

Meals are prepared by a local master chef who heads an experienced international culinary team, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and served bistro-style both indoor and outdoor on the Upper Deck. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style, with sit-down multi-course, themed dinners. Combined with the complimentary evening canapés and daily freshly baked breads from the onboard bakery, the cuisine on board your cruise—in conjunction with the exciting and authentic excursions—really does encompass the Indian lifestyle completely.

A World Away From Convential Cruising

Embark on a Ganges river cruise aboard the much-loved Katha Pandaw—great for adventurous explorers, intrepid families and daring single travelers—and experience a world away from conventional cruising exploring this extraordinary, chaotic, and charming country, a veritable melange of color and culture, in a way that you’d never imagined.

Please note that the Katha Pandaw itineraries pass through the state of Bihar in which it is illegal to serve any alcoholic drinks. For this reason alcohol cannot be served on the Upstream itinerary from day 6 until the afternoon of day 12, and for the Downstream itinerary from day 3 until the afternoon of day 9 while in the state of Bihar.

Itineraries & Prices

1 / 2
13-Day DOWN
13-Day UP

13 Day - The All Ganges River

itinerary map

Embarkation

AM: Depart Varanasi in the morning and head to the train station for your journey to Patna where we meet your Pandaw vessel.

PM: Relax onboard and meet your crew and fellow passengers for the next 12 nights.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-1
Location
Varanasi
Day
1 / 13

Barh

AM: Morning city tour of Patna including a visit to The Golghar, a large stupa-styled granary built in 1786.

PM: Sail downstream during lunch before arriving at Barh, a town famous for Hindu ritual cremation at Urmanath and the Alakhnath Temple.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-5
Location
Barh
Day
2 / 13

Mokama

AM & PM: Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers. Surrounded by farmlands, Mokama has the second-highest production of lentils in the country. Learn about the freedom fighters from Mokama such as Lalldin Saheb, who during the freedom struggle was sentenced to jail during the British rule.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-6
Location
Mokama
Day
3 / 13

Munger

AM & PM: Munger is now a large and industrialized city but has an interesting history. In 1762, Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal, shifted his capital from Murshidabad to Munger and established a firearms manufacturing center here. Explore the Mughal fort, and East India Company cemetery and step inside the Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati. One of the leading yoga schools in the country. The institution has developed yogic techniques through a synthesis of traditional yogic, Vedantic, and tantric practices and contemporary health science.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-7
Location
Munger
Day
4 / 13

Sultanganj

AM: Continue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with many rock carvings in high relief dating from the eighth century depicting aspects of Siva and Vishnu.

PM: In the evening moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one crowned with a mosque and the other a small temple dating from the 16th century.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-8
Location
Sultanganj
Day
5 / 13

Bateshwarsthan

AM: Sailing along this stretch of the river provides an opportunity to spot the rare Gangetic dolphins. Land at Bhagalpur, a center of silk production, and visit the 18th-century mansion of the Collector, Augustus Cleveland.

PM: Passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to uncover the 8th-century Buddhist site of Vikramshila, one of the two most important centers of learning in India during the Pala Empire, along with Nalanda.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-9
Location
Bateshwarsthan
Day
6 / 13

Farakka

AM: Enter a section of the river rich in bird life, before stopping at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal. Cross from the Lower Ganges or Hooghly River to the Ganges itself through the Farraka canal and lock, which was constructed in 1963-75.

PM: Passing into the great river the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and strategically controls the flow of water into neighboring Bangladesh.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-10
Location
Farakka
Day
7 / 13

Murshidabad

AM: Continue cruising towards Murshidabad where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront.

PM: Explore the city, a hidden architectural gem along the river with dramatic, whitewashed, colonial-era structures including Katra Mosque and Katgola palaces.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-11
Location
Murshidabad
Day
8 / 13

Khushbagh

PM: Take a late afternoon 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. Later, cruised past 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.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-12
Location
Khushbagh
Day
9 / 13

Mayapur

AM: Set off to discover the brass-working village of Matiari. Interact with the local artisans and learn how these skilled craftsmen all specialize in a different process – from beating the metal to etching the designs. Witness the whole process involved to create brass water pots, trays, and other vessels.

PM: Continue sailing towards Mayapur to explore the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-13
Location
Mayapur
Day
10 / 13

Kalna

AM: Land at the country town of Kalna and take 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.

PM: On the way back to the ship explore the colorful local market full of fruit sellers and fishmongers.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream
Location
Kalna
Day
11 / 13

Kolkata

AM: Sail past the Portuguese settlement of Bandel and the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before arriving at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Stroll along the riverside promenade, and visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India.

PM: Moor overnight near Kolkata.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-14
Location
Kolkata
Day
12 / 13

Disembarkation

AM: Disembark the ship at 08:00 and transfer from the port in Kolkata to your hotel by coach. Drop off at the hotel at about 10:00.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Downstream-15
Location
Kolkata
Day
15 / 13
1 / 13

13 Day - The All Ganges River

itinerary map

Embarkation

AM: Transfer from your hotel or airport in Kolkata to embark on your Pandaw ship. Set sail down the Hooghly River, an important distributary of the Ganga to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Stroll along the riverside promenade, and visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix's House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India.

PM: Return to the ship and continue upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura and the Portuguese settlement of Bandel.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-1
Location
Kolkata
Day
1 / 13

Kalna

AM: Land at the country town of Kalna and take 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. On the way back to the ship explore the colorful local market full of fruit sellers and fish mongers.

PM: Continue sailing towards Mayapur to explore the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-2
Location
Kalna
Day
2 / 13

Matiari

AM: Set off to discover the brass-working village of Matiari. Interact with the local artisans and learn how these skilled craftsmen all specialize in a different process – from beating the metal to etching the designs. Witness the whole process involved to create brass water pots, trays, and other vessels.

PM: Later, cruise on past 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.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-3
Location
Matiari
Day
3 / 13

Murshidabad

AM: Take an early 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. C

PM: Continue cruising towards Murshidabad where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Explore the city, a hidden architectural gem along the river with dramatic, whitewashed, colonial-era structures including Katra Mosque and Katgola palaces.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-4
Location
Murshidabad
Day
4 / 13

Farakka

AM: Cross from the Lower Ganges or Hooghly River to the Ganges itself through the Farraka canal and lock, which was constructed in 1963-75. Passing into the great river the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and strategically controls the flow of water into neighboring Bangladesh.

PM: Enter a section of the river rich in bird life, before stopping at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal.

Location
Farakka
Day
5 / 13

Bateshwarsthan

AM: Passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to uncover the 8th-century Buddhist site of Vikramshila, one of the two most important centers of learning in India during the Pala Empire, along with Nalanda.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-6
Location
Bateshwarsthan
Day
6 / 13

Bhaglapur

AM: Sailing along this stretch of the river provides an opportunity to spot the rare Gangeatic dolphins.

PM: Land at Bhaglapur, a center of silk production, and visit the 18th-century mansion of the Collector, Augustus Cleveland.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-7
Location
Bhaglapur
Day
7 / 13

Sultanganj

AM: Continue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with many rock carvings in high relief dating from the eighth century depicting aspects of Siva and Vishnu.

PM: In the evening moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one crowned with a mosque and the other a small temple dating from the 16th century.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-8
Location
Sultanganj
Day
8 / 13

Munger

AM: Munger is now a large and industrialized city but has an interesting history. In 1762, Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal, shifted his capital from Murshidabad to Munger and established a firearms manufacturing center here.

PM: Explore the Mughal fort, and East India Company cemetery and step inside the Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati. One of the leading yoga schools in the country. The institution has developed yogic techniques through a synthesis of traditional yogic, Vedantic, and tantric practices and contemporary health science.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-9
Location
Munger
Day
9 / 13

Mokama

AM & PM: Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers. Surrounded by farmlands, Mokama has the second-highest production of lentils in the country. Learn about the freedom fighters from Mokama such as Lalldin Saheb, who during the freedom struggle was sentenced to jail during the British rule.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-10
Location
Mokama
Day
10 / 13

Barh

AM & PM: Explore Barh, a town famous for Hindu ritual cremation at Urmanath and the Alakhnath Temple.

Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-11
Location
Barh
Day
11 / 13

Patna

AM: Enjoy a city tour of Patna, the capital of Bihar state including a visit to The Golghar, a large stupa-styled granary built in 1786.

PM: Farewell dinner with your crew.


Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-12
Location
Patna
Day
12 / 13

Disembarkation

AM: Disembark your Pandaw vessel ready and transfer to Patna station for your 1st class train to Varanasi.

PM: Upon arrival to Varanasi, transfer to your hotel or the airport.


Katha Pandaw - The Upper Ganges River - Upstream-13
Location
Varanasi
Day
13 / 13
1 / 13

Accommodations

Social Areas

Breakfast
Recreation Area
Buffet
Front Deck
Relax
Local Performance
Dining
Kitchen
Indian Food

Suites & Cabins

Katha Pandaw - Main Deck - Stateroom 1 Katha Pandaw - Main Deck - Stateroom 2
10 Cabins

Main Deck Stateroom

Guests
2
Size
16 m² / 170 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

These ample-sized rooms feature various amenities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. The room also comes with a private ensuite bathroom, spa-branded amenities, and a hairdryer to ensure guests stay refreshed.

Katha Pandaw - Upper Deck - Stateroom 1 Katha Pandaw - Upper Deck - Stateroom 2
4 Cabins

Upper Deck Stateroom

Guests
2
Size
16 m² / 170 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

These ample-sized rooms feature various amenities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. The rooms also feature unlimited mineral water for guests to stay dehydrated at all times, kimonos, slippers, a hairdryer, and spa-branded amenities with a private ensuite bathroom.

Technical Information

Deck Plan

Features

  • Air conditioning
  • Lecture room
  • WIFI available
  • Kosher Meals
  • Medical staff
  • Souvenir shop
  • Hot showers
  • All inclusive
  • Charging areas for electronic equipment

Equipment

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