Discover the most sacred river in the world, the Ganges, on this 8-day expedition aboard RV Kalaw Pandaw roundtrip Kolkata. An expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly is one of the most beautiful river journeys imaginable. The river winds its way through West Bengal's lush countryside, past culturally significant towns brimming with temples and palaces.
Explore Bengal's most attractive terracotta and unique Shiva temples
Visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village.
Walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah
Transfer from your hotel or airport in Kolkata to embark and sail at noon. Sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore to land and take a walk through the cantonment - past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House.
After breakfast sail upstream and 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. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.
Visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Continue cruising upstream and time permitting visit 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, to change the course of Indian history. Moor close to Murshidabad for the night.
This 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 a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Carry on to visit the great Katra Mosque and Nashipara Palace before driving out to see the Katgola Palace. Built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants, Katgola Palace represents the other side of the coin of the 'White Mughal' period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town.
Continue up the Hoogly which transforms into a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Morning walk through the fields of the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar to visit its three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Visit the Jain temples at Azimganj and continue downstream.
Explore the village of Mayapur, the headquarters of the ISKCON movement with a new temple comparable in size to the Vatican and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great grandson of car maker Henry Ford. Meet Krishna followers and walk through the pilgrims’ bazaar.
Continue sailing downstream before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. Sail past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kolkata.
Day 8: Kolkata | Disembarkation
After breakfast, disembark and receive a group transfer to the disembarkation point hotel for your onward journey.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.