Luxury River Cruises
The Historic Hugli – Upstream
This 7 night cruise with return journey by rail, 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. A highlight are several delightful and little known Bengali Terracotta temples. Cruises can be combined with Ganges cruises on most dates.
Day 1 :
You are collected from your hotel late morning. Embark midday on your ship and sail up past the old Danish colony of Serampore 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. At high tides it may be necessary to perform the first mile or two under low clearance bridges by a launch before boarding the cruise ship at Bally Bridge
Day 2 :
Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, and visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House containing a small museum. Drive on to visit the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura, the Imambara at Hugli and the Portuguese church at Bandel where you reboard your ship and cruise upstream, leaving urban sprawl and cruising through the night to a mooring near Kalna.
Day 3 :
Land at the country town of Kalna and 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. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the vast new ISKCON temple. Visit on the opposite bank at Nabadwip the older and humbler temples entwined within a giant banyan tree before sailing on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.
Day 4 :
This morning visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later cruise on past the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of Indian history, to moor at Murshidabad.
Day 5 :
Land and travel by cycle rickshaw to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Continue a little way upstream to 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. Overnight on the riverbank across from town.
Day 6 :
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. Continue up the Hugli, here a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on to moor at dusk at Jangipur.
Day 7 :
From Jangipur, near where the Hugli flows out from the Ganges, a morning excursion explores native villages where silk is woven and “bidis” (primitive cigarettes) are rolled. In the afternoon, cruise up a long canal section to the Farakka Barrage.
Day 8 :
Dawn transfer to Farakka station for morning 6 hr train journey to Calcutta. Alternatively it is possible to travel on by road to Silguri and Darjeeling (transfer not included in cruise price).