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BENGAL DESPATCH 1 & 5:
THE HISTORIC HOOGLY (LOWER GANGES)

7 NIGHTS

Choose your itinerary:

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Upstream
Downstream

UPSTREAM ITINERARY:

KOLKATA TO FARAKKA

DAY 1

This morning, you’ll be collected from your hotel in Kolkata to embark your ship by midday. Sail 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 – to get a better understanding of India's journey to independence. Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

DAY 2

Visit an 18th century church and Dupleix Palace, once the residence of the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura 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 into the night to a mooring near Kalna.

DAY 3

After breakfast, land at the country town of Kalna and take rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples including a unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. You’ll also visit a muslin-weaving centre before continuing 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. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.

DAY 4

​This morning you’ll visit the charming riverside village of Matiari, known for its brass-working. Interact with the villagers and witness the traditional process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. You then cruise on and 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 Khushbagh for the night.

DAY 5

This morning, you’ll walk to Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah 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 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 the town at Baranagar. 

DAY 6

​This morning you’ll 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. Continue up the lower Ganges (or the Hooghly), which transforms into a picturesque waterway, twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.

DAY 7

Disembark for 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 great 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 and you’ll visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening.

DAY 8

Those taking only Bengal Despatch 1 will transfer to Farakka station in the morning for a 4 hr (approx.) train journey to Kolkata. Our representatives will meet you on arrival and transfer you to a central Kolkata hotel.  

 

For those taking both Bengal Despatch 1 and 2 cruises, an excursion by road takes you 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.

DOWNSTREAM ITINERARY:

FARAKKA TO KOLKATA

DAY 1

Take a 4hr (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 from midday onwards. 

 

Our guests joining Bengal Despatch 5 from another cruise will enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century, and its plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways are testament to this diverse history. Later, travel on 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.

DAY 2

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.

 

Guests who joined at Farakka will have the opportunity to experience the full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. Explore the rich tapestry of historical influences in the region, travelling from 12th century Hindu rule to the Muslim capital of Eastern India in just one, quiet and deserted spot. The remains of mosques, palaces, and gateways tell the tale of what was once one of India’s great cities. You rejoin the ship in the evening near Jangipur.

 

Set sail down the Lower Ganges, a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Moor at Baranagar for the night.

DAY 3

This morning you’ll visit the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar and take a tranquil walk through fields to visit three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is certainly rural India at its most idyllic.

 

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 to visit the great Katra Mosque 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.

DAY 4

Sail downstream a short distance then walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-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. You’ll moor at a rural spot 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 before cruising on to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars.

DAY 5

Visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the traditional craft 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.

DAY 6

Continue on to the country town of Kalna. Take cycle rickshaws to see some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. Sailing on, you leave the fields behind and arrive at the outskirts of bustling Kolkata where you land at Hooghly to visit the imposing Imambara. 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 downstream past fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura to moor at Chandernagore.

DAY 7

At Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, you’ll visit the 18th century church and Dupleix Palace, former residence of the 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. Subject to river tide, cruise under the Howrah Bridge to reach central Kolkata.

DAY 8

Disembark and transfer to central Kolkata or the airport.

These itineraries, including cruises and approximate durations, are subject to river and weather conditions.

ACCOMMODATION

The 'Historic Hooghly' cruises are offered in the Boutique cruising style.
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ABN Rajmahal

With 22 cabins in total, including 18 spacious twin/double cabins, and four single cabins for solo travellers, ABN Rajmahal is a boutique, modern ship whose decor reflects a sense of homecoming to the region of Bengal. Hand-blocked cotton fabrics with Indian-inspired designs, Bengali antiques and objets d'art as well as locally made furniture all add to the ships's unique ambiance. All cabins have French balconies, offering panoramic views of life along the river.

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PRICES & DEPARTURES

Check departure dates, prices and cabin availabilities for the cruising season of your choice.

INTERESTED TO KNOW MORE?

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