Come September, go on Ganga cruise from Kolkata

February 6th, 2009 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 6 (IANS) India may be well known for journeys on exotic trains, but not many people can associate the country with adventurous river cruises.Come September, Britain-based tour operator TransIndus will start a 15-day cruise from Kolkata to Varanasi on the Ganga, to give a flavour of river tourism in India to tourists.

“I made a presentation on the possibilities of river tourism in India at the London tourism and trade fair way back in 2007. TransIndus was very interested,” Manab Pal, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s state tourism cell, told IANS Friday.

“This is the first time such riverine cruise is being organised in West Bengal, if not, in India. However, it is expected that most of the tourists will come from Britain,” Pal said.

The cruise will be on a luxury vessel, Bengal Pandaw, specially designed to suit the nature of the river.

“The 28-cabin vessel has special shallow drafts that can access remote and otherwise inaccessible areas,” Pal said.

The cruise with 56 tourists will start from Kolkata and sail upstream on the Hooghly river touching Kushbagh with its Moghul gardens, the battlefield of Plassey and the miniature temples at Baranagar, before entering the Ganges.

The cruisers will reach Varanasi via Bihar.

There will also be on-shore excursions on the way, including a visit to Bodh Gaya, a coach trip to Sarnath and a cycle-rickshaw tour of the Bengali terracotta temples at Kalna.

Besides, there will be an evening boat trip to observe the ritual fire dances at Varanasi ghats.

The upstream cruise will start Sep 26 and downstream Varanasi to Kolkata cruise will start Oct 12.

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