India River Cruise – Ganges Experience
Few travellers ever imagine getting to experience India from the waters of the famous Ganges River. Board our classic riverboat in Farakka and spend eight days sailing to picturesque local villages to explore stunning temples, historic battlegrounds, tranquil gardens, and the Hazarduari Palace. This scenic cruise will have you wanting to return to the glory of India sooner rather than later.
Arrival transfer. Full day excursion to Gaur. Baranagar village and temple visits. Hazarduari Palace visit. Katra Mosque visit. Nashipara and Katgola palaces visit. Cycle rickshaw excursion to the Khushbagh. Battlefield of Plassey visit. Brassworking village of Matiari visit. Hare Krishna temple visit. Cycle rickshaw excursion to terracotta temples (Kalna). Shiva temple visit. Imambara visit. Chandannagar visit. Barrackpore visit. All meals on board Varuna. All transport to/from included activities and between destinations.
Visit beautiful temples and local villages, witness traditional brass-working, wander through buzzing bazaars, enjoy the pace of life on the river
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. While it is our intention to follow the itinerary as advertised, some modifications to the itinerary are occasionally needed if water levels become very low. If changes need to be made, they may involve docking the boat just before a scheduled port and using overland transportation to reach the destination.
2. GANGES & HOOGHLY RIVERS
Please note that between Farakka and Kolkata we sail along a distributary arm of the Ganges locally known as the Hooghly River. This narrower arm, once a key transportation channel in Bengal, offers the opportunity to cruise close to riverbanks dotted with historic temples and colonial settlements while still travelling the sacred waters of the Ganges.
Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between May 15th and June 14th, 2018. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Only about 20% of Indians are Muslim, but it is important to note that there may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan. Generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan in predominately Muslim areas of India. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.
Group Size Notes
7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
Riverboat Varuna, private vehicles, train, rickshaws, walking.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Aboard the Varuna riverboat (7 nts), comfort hotels (1 nt).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Cabins on board the riverboat all have exterior view windows and private bathrooms.
Capacity: 24 passengers
Cabins: 12 Cabins
Boat Layout: Spacious saloon with French windows opening onto a front balcony deck, dinning room with glass doors down each side.
Large sun deck with cane rattan chairs and sun loungers. Single seating for buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Combination of Indian and Western cuisines.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
What to Take
Most airlines allow up to two checked bags and one carry-on per person. To avoid any problems upon check-in and with possible excess baggage charges, please consult the airline for specific restrictions.
Dress on board the boat is informal. Plan to bring comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. When packing, we suggest that you do not weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear. Select informal, practical attire that can be worn in layers.
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)
Train Travel (Optional):
• Slip-on shoes
• Small container with lid
• Travel cutlery
• Travel or camp cup
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes. During the months of Jul-Sep is the rainy season, so please make sure to pack waterproof clothes.
Visas and Entry Requirements
As of 2017, India is now offering E-Visas for most nationalities. Please visit the link below for further information and to apply:
As there are many fake websites, please only use the above to apply for your E-Visa and for any additional information.
Please use the start hotel of your tour as a reference for your visa application. Contact us or your travel agent if you need further information.
**Please note that visas for India are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers there will probably be an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Please note that it is customary to tip 10% to service staff in India. If someone helps you carry a bag, you can offer to tip a few USD (in local currency), although it will not be expected. If you have a local guide or a driver on your trip, then you will be advised to tip $2-5 USD (in local currency) per person per service, as long as you feel it is deserved, which it usually is because we have excellent staff working with us. Please ask your CEO for specific advice if you are unsure.
If at the end of the riverboat sailing you find the staff onboard were exceptional, a tip of $5-10 USD/day is recommended. You can leave this tip at the end of your riverboat leg.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is highly appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-30 USD per person, per week can be used.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medication required. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
For your own safety, we strongly recommend that you advise us of any medical condition that may affect you while traveling.
If you are carrying any prescribed medication, or if you have any particular health needs, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician stating any such health problems and dosage requirements for any medication to be provided to any medical authorities in case of an emergency.
Also, please note that if you are particularly sensitive to heat, this may not be the trip for you.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
PRODUCT_LINE: AHLFC, ID: 23626
Day 1 Calcutta
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Calcutta/Farakka (1D)
Depart Kolkata and jump on the train to head to Farakka. During this 6 hour train journey, take the time to watch the scenery, or get to know the group. Upon arrival, embark the riverboat and settle in before dinner on board.
Day 3 Farakka/Jangipur (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda (English Bazaar). Visit a number of sights from the 12th-century Hindus and 14th-century Muslims. Rejoin the boat in the evening near Jangipur.
Day 4 Jangipur/Murshidābād (1B, 1L, 1D)
Sail down the Hooghly River en route to the small village of Baranagar. Walk through the fields to reach the terracotta temples and get a taste of rural Indian life. Continue to Murshidabad to visit the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace. Visit the Katra Mosque before driving to two 18th-century buildings – the Nashipara Palace and the Katgola Palace.
Day 5 Murshidābād/Matiari (1B, 1L, 1D)
This morning, travel by cycle rickshaw to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden. Continue on the river past Berhampur, to a rural mooring near the battlefield of Plassey and opt to walk to the commemorative obelisk. Cruise on to a mooring near Katwa for the night.
Battlefield of Plassey Visit
Day 6 Matiari/Māyāpur (1B, 1L, 1D)
Start the day with a visit to the brassworking village of Matiari to witness their ancient techniques. Later continue to Mayapur with a visit to the Hare Krishna temple. Enjoy a few of the older temples and see a giant banyan tree.
Day 7 Māyāpur/Chunchura (1B, 1L, 1D)
Explore the country town of Kalna. Take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples and visit a Shiva temple. Continue to Chinsurah, to visit the historic Dutch cemetery. After, take cyclos to the Imambara before reboarding the vessel.
Day 8 Chunchura/Bārākpur (1B, 1L, 1D)
Sail to Chandannagar, a former French possession, to explore. Continue to Barrackpore. Disembark for a walking tour around the main sights.
Day 9 Bārākpur/Calcutta (1B)
Cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Kolkata to disembark. Transfer to central Kolkata or the airport. Tour ends on arrival.
Departure Day (Activities)