Authentic India, Lower Ganges
Day 1. Arrive Kolkata
You will be transferred to your five-star hotel, the Taj Bengal.
Be met on arrival at the airport, after settling in, enjoy a Welcome Dinner.
Day 2. Kolkata, Farakka
After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to a local train for the colourful and rustic journey from Kolkata to Farakka. Make your way past bellowing food hawkers and over-laden porters to your rail carriage. Once you’ve settled in to your seat, watch the landscapes of India unfold before you. Upon arrival in Farakka, you will be transferred to your river ship for your incredible seven-night cruise.
Day 3. Jangipur OR Gaur
Disembark in Jangipur, where you have the afternoon free to explore. Alternatively, enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur. Here, there are numerous historic ruins of mosques and palaces to visit before rejoining the ship in the evening near Jangipur.
Day 4. Baranagar, Murshidabad
Today you’ll stop in Baranagar and walk through the fields to three miniature terracotta temples. Then continue past Azimganj to Murshidabad, one of the oldest cities in West Bengal. Here, walk to the Khushbagh, which translates as the Garden of Happiness. Wander through this peaceful Mughal-style garden and discover what is believed to be the final resting place of the family of the Nawabs of Bengal – former rulers of the then provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. You’ll also visit Katra Mosque, an intriguing place of worship, which was built in 1724 and was once an important centre for Islamic learning. Then, drive out to two 18th-century buildings, the beautiful Nashipara Palace and Kathgola Palace.
Day 5. Murshidabad, Katwa
On the Murshidabad waterfront, explore the Hazarduari Palace and its collection of art, china and weapons. Named after its 1000 doors, the three-storey building lies amidst 41 acres of manicured gardens. It consists of eight galleries and 114 rooms, with a colonnaded façade, a domed tower, high windows, and beautifully ornate pillars – this is certainly a must-see.
You will cruise to the battlefield of Plassey where Robert Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of history in India. This evening, you will moor in the town of Katwa.
Day 6. Matiari, Mayapur
Visit the brass-working village of Matiari. Here, learn about the process of brass beating and the heritage of this skill.
Today you’ll reach Mayapur, a place of sacred significance to followers of the Hindu faith, as it is believed to be the birthplace of an important Hindu saint who promoted the worship of Krishna. You will also see the new ISKCON temple, an impressive structure that dominates the skyline of this spiritual town – currently being built by followers of the Krishna movement.
Day 7. Kalna
Enjoy a cycle rickshaw tour around the city to discover these sites and admire some of Bengal’s most unique temples.
Cruise to the country town of Kalna, more commonly known as Ambika Kalna. Named for the Hindu goddess Kali, the surrounding area is home to many historical monuments, including an abundance of Shiva temples, such as the Nava Kailash, otherwise known as 108 Shiv Mandirs. This incredible structure was built in 1788 and consists of two rows of small hut-shaped structures, each regarded as a single Shiva temple.
Day 8. Chandannagar, Barrackpore
Pass the old Dutch settlement at Chinsurah then arrive in the former French colony of Chandannagar. Here, you’ll visit the 18th-century French church and Dupleix’s House. Continue to the city of Barrackpore, which was once a place of great significance during the British Raj, as it formed the administrative and military base. Here, you will go for a walk past the Semaphore Tower, Flagstaff House and Government House, which was formerly used as a country residence for the British Governor-General.
Day 9. Kolkata, Disembark Cruise
Arrive in Kolkata and be amazed by the lively Mullik Ghat Flower Market. Replete with orange and yellow marigolds, these pretty little flowers are sold for Hindu religious rituals, as well as simple decoration. afterwards, head to the home of the late Mother Teresa. Then, sit down to lunch together at your hotel, before heading out to visit the poignant Victoria Memorial. Enjoy a delicious dinner at Sonargaon Restaurant this evening.
Day 10. Depart Kolkata
Perhaps enjoy further discovering one of India’s most captivating cities by embarking on an optional heritage walk.
This morning, you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. After dinner, it’s off to the airport for your return flight home.
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