Lower Ganges Cruise with Darjeeling

Detail Itinerary

Day 1 :Arrive Kolkata
Today morning, arrive in Kolkata. You will be welcomed and assisted at the airport and transferred to your hotel . Relax in the cozy comfort of your hotel room.

Overnight Stay at ITC Sonar, Kolkata.
Day 2 Sightseeing in Kolkata
This morning, post-breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Kolkata. Take a guided walk through the flower market of Kolkata admiring the beautiful yellow and orange marigolds and other seasonal flowers being traded. In close vicinity is the wholesale vegetable market where farmers bring fresh produce to begin the day’s trading. Walking through the markets brings you to a junction called Dalhousie Square where you will see interesting and unusual colonial buildings.

Visit the Victoria Memorial, a white marble structure built to commemorate the memory of Queen Victoria of England. Thereafter, visit the ancient Kali Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali, from which the city of Kolkata derives its name. Also, visit the famous Jain Temple and Fort William, a colonial fort built by the British to guard the city against the French. Later, visit The Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. It is the headquarters of the international religious congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. It has been home to Mother Teresa and her sisters from February 1953 to the present day. It is here that Mother lived, prayed, worked, and guided her religious family of sisters spread across the world. It is here that her body was laid to rest.

Take a leisurely walk to the local markets in Kolkata, famous for Bengali saris, Murshidabad silks, and handicrafts. Also, savor some famous traditional sweets.

Later in the evening, get access to the home kitchen of a local Bengali Family & enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by Dinner. Spend time talking to your hosts and learn about the Indian way of life or the history of Indian cooking with classic culinary techniques. Your hosts will be happy to share their secret recipes that you can take home and recreate in your own kitchen.
Day 3 Kolkata – Farakka [04 Hrs Approx]
Take a 4 hr (approx.) train journey from Kolkata to Farakka in the afternoon, and then a short road transfer to the ship. Guests joining independently at Farakka can board the ship midday onwards.

For those taking both Bengal Dispatch 4 and Bengal Dispatch 5 cruises, a full day excursion by road takes you to Gaur. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s greatest cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces, and gateways. Later, travel through the town of Malda, or English Bazar, to Pandua where you will visit the great 14th century Adina Mosque before returning to Farakka where your ship will have passed through the lock at the barrage.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 4 In Kolkata- Cruise
This morning’s cruise is along a straight canal section to Jangipur, where the afternoon is free to explore this small country town on foot.

Alternatively, for those taking only Bengal Despatch 5, enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s greatest cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting historical sites before rejoining the ship in the evening near Jangipur.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 5 Cruise
This morning, set sail down the Lower Ganges, a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar with three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples to which you walk through the fields. This is rural India

​Continue on down past Azimganj, boasting some fine riverside mansions, to Murshidabad where the Nawab’s 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 visiting 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.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 6 Cruise
Sail downstream a short distance then walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Return to the ship and continue downstream past the old British cantonment of Berhampur to a rural mooring close to the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, to change the course of Indian history. You can walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk. Cruise on to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 7 Cruise
Visit the brass-working village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit 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.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 8 Cruise
Continue on down to the country town of Kalna. Take cycle 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 shrinelets. Sail on, leaving fields behind and arrive at the outskirts of Kolkata. Land near Bandel 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

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 9 Cruise
Sail downstream – past fine waterfront buildings and the Old Dutch settlement at Chinsura – to land at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India, before continuing down to Barrackpore. Land and take a walk through the cantonment – past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House – to get a better understanding of India's journey to independence.

Overnight Stay at ABN Raj Mahal (Cruise)
Day 10 FLY from Kolkata – Bagdogra Drive from Bagdogra – Darjeeling [95 Kms – 03 Hrs Approx]
Early this morning, cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Kolkata to disembark. Meeting and assistance on arrival in Kolkata hotel. Relax for a while in the cozy comfort of your hotel room.

In time, you’ll be transferred from hotel to Kolkata airport to board the flight for Bagdogra.

You will be met and assisted on arrival at Bagdogra airport. Proceed on your drive to Darjeeling which is standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m. ‘Dorje Ling’, or place of the Thunderbolt, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills”, it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track, surrounded by World Famous Tea Gardens and snow-capped mountains.

Upon arrival in Darjeeling, check in into your hotel for 03 Nights’ stay.

Overnight Stay at Windermere Hotel, Darjeeling
Day 11 In Darjeeling
Post breakfast at the hotel, drive towards Darjeeling Railway Station to board your TOY TRAIN for Ghoom(7,407ft).The train departs from Darjeeling Station (6,812ft) at 9 AM and it returns to Darjeeling at approximately 12 PM. Enjoy a short journey from Darjeeling to Ghoom which is just 7 kilometers of distance & if not train one can either walk or take bus or taxi in order to return to Darjeeling.

Later, visit Tea Estate which is located 7kms before Mirik and on Siliguri-Mirik-Darjeeling route. The resort is a 3-storied luxury bungalow with modern amenities, yet it offers old world charm surrounded by lush tea bushes all around. You can get wonderful views of tea gardens, Mirik valley and even Nepal for that resort.

In evening, return to Darjeeling. The evening is free for independent activities.

Overnight Stay at Windermere Hotel, Darjeeling
Day 12 In Darjeeling
Early Morning, visit the Tiger Hill to see a beautiful sunrise and Himalayan Range like Kanchandzonga, Mount Everest etc. One can see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight. Visit the Ghoom Monastery-the oldest Monastery built in 1875. On your way back from Tiger hill, you can see the image of 15 ft high Mythey Buddha

Upon your return to Darjeeling, enjoy the city tour and visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (closed on Thursday) which was started by Tenzing Norgay after he climbed Mt. Everest. Visit the Zoological Park (closed on Thursday), Tibetan Refugee Centre (closed on Sunday), Tenzing Rock, Gombu Rock, Tea Estate (from outside), Japanese Temple, and Peace Pagoda.

Overnight Stay at Windermere Hotel, Darjeeling
Day 13 Drive from Darjeeling – Bagdogra [95 Kms – 03 Hrs Approx.] Fly from Bagdogra – Kolkata.
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to the Bagdogra airport to catch your flight to Kolkata.

Upon arrival in Kolkata, transfer to your international airport to catch your flight for onward destination / Home

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