A traditional fishing boat on the River Ganges. Clicking on the image will download the detailed brochure.

29 December 2020–7 January 2021


A musical journey on the holiest river in India

You are invited to join Tony and Annie Hastings and our guest lecturer Manvinder Rattan on a unique voyage – a musically focused cultural journey along the holiest river in India and its tributaries, the Hooghly and Bhagirathi rivers.

Our boat is the Bengal Ganga, a classic river boat in the grand style, family owned and managed. Its teak, mahogany, brass and rattan fittings give it an elegant, old-fashioned sense of style, which is complemented by its friendly and attentive crew.

This exclusive trip will give you a real flavour of the scope and breadth of Indian culture. Click this link to download the full details (opens in a new window/tab), but here is a synopsis of the delights which Tony and Annie have put together for you.

Tuesday December 29
Arrive in Kolkata and board the RV Bengal Ganga.
Welcome, safety briefing, introductions and dinner.
Bengali classical dance performance on board.

Wednesday December 30
Coach tour of Kolkata by coach. Returning to the ship we start our upstream journey cruising through the areas where the different European settlers established their respective East India Companies.
Lunch and dinner on board, followed by a talk on Kalna’s Tantric temples.

Thursday December 31
Excursion by rickshaw to Kalna.
Lunch and dinner on board, followed by evening performance of Baol music by local artists of the region.

Friday January 1
Excursion to the village of Matiari.
Lunch and dinner on board.

Saturday January 2
Excursions to the village of Khushbagh, then to Baranagar and Azimganj, which have many temples and heritage merchants’ houses. Lunch in a fascinating heritage mansion.
Sail downstream to Murshidabad for a ride on local tongas (horse carts) to visit the Katra Mosque.
Dinner on board, followed by evening performance of Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music.

Sunday January 3
Visit the Hazarduari Palace Museum, with more than a thousand real and false doors in the vast corridors.
Lunch and dinner, then a lecture on the history, religious significance and wildlife of the ‘Mother Ganges’.

Monday January 4
Morning cookery demonstration by our Chef.
Lunch, followed by excursion to Bandel, a trading port founded by Portuguese settlers in 1579, and an electric rickshaw ride to Chandernagore.
Return to the ship and sail back to Kolkata; evening performance of Rabindra Sangeet, a colonial art form with most of the songs composed by the poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Dinner and farewell to the ship’s crew.

Tuesday January 5
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Varanasi, the holiest town for Hindus.
Lunch and check-in at Taj Gateway Hotel.
Ride on cycle rickshaws through the old part of the city.
Evening ‘Aarti’ ritual on the Ganges followed by dinner in the hotel.

Wednesday January 6
Early morning boat tour on the Ganges to experience the rituals performed at sunrise.
Return to the hotel for breakfast followed by optional walking tour along the Ghats.
Lunch at the hotel, then a visit to the house of a music family, traditionally known as ‘gharana’ to include a classical Raga performance by teachers and students.
Farewell dinner at the Peshwa Haveli mansion located on the bank of Ganges River, including a cultural show and lecture-demonstration on various forms of
Indian Classical dances.

Thursday January 7
Individual departures after breakfast