What better way to absorb both the colonial heritage and riparian life of India than on this two-in-one cruise of West Bengal’s riverside riches and Kerala’s picturesque backwaters. Viewing West Bengal from the serenity of the Gangetic plains you can appreciate the exquisite architecture of the region’s colonial era monuments and religious buildings, and the rich artistry of its crafts and handwoven fabrics. On your journey through Kerala’s backwaters, witness the bucolic village lifestyle of the local residents.
The Bengal Ganga will transport you to the bygone era of West Bengal’s colonial heritage. On the banks of the Hooghly River, foreign traders, missionaries, educators and agriculturists formed settlements while local rulers, farmers, musicians and writers created new ways of living as they encountered European commerce, tastes and power. Relish a luxurious, experiential insight into history, art, culture and religious diversity on your voyage from Kolkata to Bandel, Kalna, and the settlements founded by the Portuguese and the French, before continuing to Mayapur and back to Kolkata.
In complete contrast, the sleepy backwaters of Kerala offer complete relaxation, amidst lush landscapes, sunset views, rural life and the quiet, cool ambience of the region. Enjoy freshly cooked Indian cuisine on the water and breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery and wildlife.
Explore Kolkata, a city steeped in tradition, culture, and history, and be enthralled by its impressive display of architectural marvels. Here, the iconic Howrah Bridge, the resplendent Victoria Memorial and many other places of historical interest represent the grandeur of a golden era. Discover a Portuguese settlement, a former French colony, and the oldest institution of Western education in India, and be inspired by the artisans, weavers, writers and poets who influenced the Bengali Renaissance along this significant trade route. Visit a Shia Muslim pilgrimage center, Hindu temples and a Hare Krishna temple, and meet the followers. Experience cultural interactions at the various stops along the way and witness the traditional pottery and weaving crafts of the riverside.
Surrender to the much slower pace of a different world on your private houseboat cruise around the palm-fringed lagoons, channels and backwaters of easy-going Kerala ― a blissful place for a honeymoon. Here, calmly drift past rice fields, temples and sleepy villages. Glide through the placid waters of the vast and captivating Vembanad Lake, visit local landmarks and stretch your legs on village walks. Take a guided tour of Kochi City, known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea”.
All excursions are on a private basis, by means of private transportation, and accompanied by an expert private guide, with the exception of the West Bengal Hooghly River cruise which is on a small-group, shared basis.
Your land and water-based accommodations have been chosen to reflect the historical and traditional influences of the two regions that you will be journeying through. The Bengal Ganga is an intimate Indian riverboat reminiscent of the colonial ships used by the Viceroys of British India. Your Spice Coast Houseboat is a stately floating hotel, adapted from a ‘Kettuvallam’, a traditional vessel used for carrying cargoes of rice and spice through the Kerala waterways. The Brunton Boatyard boutique hotel, in the historic Fort Cochin area, is a restored period building with interiors inspired by an eclectic but tasteful blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences.
This two-center, 13-day luxury tour offers the perfect way for couples or honeymooners—or indeed solo travelers, families or groups with some tailoring of the accommodations—to explore two completely different regions of India.