Luxury River Cruises
The historic Hugli – Downstream
This 7 night cruise takes you along the intimate Ganges sidestream, the River Hugli, which flows from Farakka on the main river down to Kolkata. As well as sightseeing of Kolkata itself and the European colonies just outside, the cruise takes in Murshidabad, capital of the Nawabs of Bengal, the battlefield of Plassey close by, and the many monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur.
Day 1 :
Midday 6 hr train journey from Calcutta to Farakka, and short road transfer to the ship. Customers joining independently at Farakka can board from midday onwards.
Day 2 :
This morning’s cruise is along a straight canal section to Jangipur, where there is time for a brief excursion to native villages where silk is woven and “bidis” (primitive cigarettes) are rolled. PM set sail down the Hugli proper, 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 at its most idyllic.
Day 3 :
Sail on down past Azimganj with some fine riverside mansions to Murshidabad where the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837, dominates the waterfront. Inside are an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Visit also the great Katra Mosque and drive out to two amazing buildings of the late 18th century, the Nashipara Palace and the Katgola Palace. Both were built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represent the other side of the coin of the “White Moghul” period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Later sail downstream a short distance then travel by cycle rickshaw to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family.
Day 4 :
Continue downstream past the old British cantonment of Berhampur to a rural mooring close to the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of Indian history – you can walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk. Cruise on past Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars, to the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels.
Day 5 :
This morning we reach Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the vast new ISKCON temple which we are able to visit. Visit also the older and humbler temples as well as the giant banyan tree at Nabadwip on the opposite bank before sailing on to the country town of Kalna. Here we 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.
Day 6 :
Continue on, leaving fields behind and arrive at the outskirts of Calcutta. Land at Bandel to visit the Portuguese church as well as the nearby Imambara and the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura. Then sailing past fine waterfront buildings you land at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, and visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House containing a small museum.
Day 7 :
Continue down to Barrackpore, land and take a walk through the cantonment past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame, and Flagstaff House, its garden housing many of the British statues removed from central Calcutta. If time permits, cross to the other bank to visit the old Danish colony of Serampore, then sail on under the Howrah Bridge to central Calcutta. This afternoon take a sightseeing tour of Calcutta including the Victoria Memorial, South Park Street Cemetery, St John’s Church and other colonial relics.
Day 8 :
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to central Calcutta or airport.