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Upper Ganges River

The Upper Ganges River

Upstream - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard RV Katha Pandaw
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On this 13-day Upper Ganges River cruise from Kolkata to Varanasi aboard RV Katha Pandaw, discover the best of the Ganges from India's colonial splendors. Explore the best of the Ganges, from Kolkotta's colonial splendors to West Bengal's rural arcadia along the Hoogly and the Ganga itself, with its pristine bird and wildlife and cultural treasures dotted along the banks. At the latter part of the expedition, discover Varanasi, the world's oldest inhabited city and is the most sacred city in Hinduism. Varanasi is undoubtedly the goal of any 'passage to India,' and at the other end of the sacred river is Kolkata, in all its Raj-like splendor. Disembark at Varanasi. 
Upper Ganges RiverUpper Ganges RiverUpper Ganges River
  • Discover the brass-working village of Matiari
  • Explore the battlefield of Plassey
  • Visit Jahanigra Island's 8th-century rock carvings depicting Siva & Vishnu
  • Spot the rare Gangeatic dolphins while sailing along the river
Places Visited
  • Asia
  • India
  • Ganges River
  • Kolkata
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Varanasi
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kolkata | Embarkation

Transfer from your hotel or airport in Kolkata to embark on your Pandaw ship. Set sail down the Hooghly River, an important distributor 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. Return to the ship and continue upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura and the Portuguese settlement of Bandel.

Day 2: Kalna

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. 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.

Day 3: Matiari

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

Day 4: Murshidabad

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. Continue cruising towards Murshidabad to 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.

Day 5: Farakka

Cross from the Lower Ganges or Hooghly River to the Ganges itself through the Farraka canal and lock, constructed in 1963-75. Passing into the great river the great Farraka barrage is visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and strategically controls the flow of water into neighboring Bangladesh. Enter a section of the river rich in bird life, before stopping at Samtaghat, or Raj Mahal.

Day 6: Bateshwarsthan

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.

Day 7: Bhaglapur

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

Day 8: Sultanganj

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. 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.

Day 9: Munger

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.

Day 10: Mokama

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 was sentenced to jail during the freedom struggle during British rule.

Day 11: Barh

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

Day 12: Patna

Enjoy a city tour of Patna, the capital of Bihar state, including visiting The Golghar, a large stupa-styled granary built in 1786—farewell dinner with your crew.

Day 13: Patna | Varanasi | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark your Pandaw vessel ready and transfer to Patna station for your 1st class train to Varanasi. Upon arrival to Varanasi, transfer to your hotel or the airport.


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Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$7,427 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
RV Katha Pandaw Cabin
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Pandaw Stateroom
Bedroom: 12' x 10' Bathroom: 6' x 4' Showeroom: 2'8" x 3'4" Single Bed: 6'7" x 3'3"
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • English Speaking Guide
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • Local mineral water, Jugged coffee, Teas & Tisanes
  • Transfer to/from Ship including one way 1st class train ticket
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry 
  • Port Fees
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge
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