Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises

Assam Bengal Navigation CruisesAssam Bengal Navigation Cruises

ASSAM BENGAL NAVIGATION pioneered long-distance river cruising in India with unique cruises on the River Brahmaputra in Assam and on the River Hugli between Kolkata and the Ganges.  The river boats, with between 12 and 22 comfortable, air-conditioned en-suite cabins, operate in Assam from October to April, and in Bengal virtually all through the year. A selection of the Hugli and Ganges cruises follow. Contact InterAsia for details of the full range of cruises available.


 
Kolkata • Kalna • Plassey • Murshidabad • Farakka Barrage • Gaur • Rajmahal • Monghyr • Boddh Gaya • Patna 
 
  • Bengal Despatch 1 - The Historic Hugli, 8 days upstream

    Bengal Despatch 1

    The Historic Hugli, 8 days upstream

    Cruise along the intimate lower Ganges side stream, 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.

    Day 1 – Kolkata
    You are collected from your hotel late morning to embark the ship at midday. 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 Kolkata.

    Day 2 – Kalna
    Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, and visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House containing a small museum. Land at Chinsura and take rickshaws to visit the Dutch cemetery and the imposing Imambara at Hugli where you reboard your ship and cruise upstream leaving urban sprawl behind. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kalna.

    Day 3 – Kalna – Mayapur
    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. 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 – Matiari
    This morning visit the brass work village of Matiari. 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 – Murshidabad
    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 visit the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace. 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 – Baranagar – Jangipur
    Moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar – 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 – Farakka Barrage
    Cruise up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage. The afternoon is free. Alternatively take a full day excursion by road to Gaur, a quiet, deserted place which was once one of India’s great cities.

    Day 8 – Return to Kolkata by train
    Transfer at dawn to Farakka station for the 6 hour train journey to Kolkata. Met on arrival and transferred to central Kolkata hotel.

    Itinerary subject to river conditions.

  • Bengal Despatch 2 - The Holy Ganges, 9 days upstream

    Bengal Despatch 2

    The Holy Ganges, 9 days upstream

    Cruise along the main stream of the Ganges, 6 nights downstream or 8 nights upstream, between Farakka and the city of Patna. Mughal ruins at Rajmahal, East India Company relics at Patna and Monghyr, and Buddhist monuments at Boddh Gaya and elsewhere in this, the Buddha’s homeland, make for an exciting voyage.

    At Rajmahal, explore the remains of palaces, forts and mosques submerged in vegetation. Stop at idyllic Bateshwar to see fine 6th century rock carvings. Visit the impressive ruins of the 8th century Buddhist monastery of Vikramshil Sail along a stretch of the river where Gangetic Dolphin may be seen.

    At Bhagalpur, a centre of silk production, visit an 18th century mansion and a silk-weaving village. See the large Mughal fort at Monghyr, and an East India Company cemetery, now with villagers living amongst the grandiose tombs. Soak in the Sita Kund hot springs. Tour the excavated Buddhist monastery and stupa at Nalanda then on to the picturesque Pawapuri Jain temple in the middle of a lake.

    Tour Patna, visiting the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary, the great Sikh temple and the rich collections of the State Museum.

    Day 1 – Kolkata to Farakka
    Midday 6 hr train journey from Kolkata to Farakka, and short road transfer to the ship. Customers joining independently at Farakka can board from midday onwards. For those taking both Bengal Despatch 1 and 2 cruises, a full day excursion by road takes you 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. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways. Later travel on through the town of Malda, or English Bazaar, 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 – Cruising Upstream on the Ganges River
    This morning we leave Farakka and sail out into the River Ganges proper, almost sea-like here just above the great Farakka Barrage. We sail upstream much of the morning, before anchoring at Rajmahal, beneath the Rajmahal Hills. Rajmahal is one of those places, so common in India, which feature in no guidebook and yet offer both interest and atmosphere; once known as Akbarnagar, the town was founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar as his eastern capital. Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal, spent much of his youth here. There are remains of palaces, forts and mosques submerged in vegetation which we shall explore. We sail on as far as Manihari Ghat.

    Day 3 – Bateshwar – Colgani
    This morning continue cruising upriver, passing the confluence with the Kosi, coming down from Nepal. We arrive at idyllic Bateshwar, with fine 6th century rock carvings, and from here we drive a short distance to the impressive ruins of the 8th century Buddhist monastery of Vikramshila, then onwards to Kehilgaon or Colganj, where our ship awaits us. We sail on, passing close to the island shrine with both Buddhist and Hindu cave temples, once a centre of the murderous Thug sect.

    Day 4 – Bhagalpur
    Sailing on this morning along a stretch of the river where Gangetic Dolphin may be seen, we reach Bhagalpur, a centre of silk production. We shall visit the elegant 18th century mansion built by Augustus Cleveland as well as a silk-weaving village before continuing on to Jahangira Island at Sultanganj, a place of pilgrimage with early Hindu carvings in the rock. On shore see another picturesque rock topped with a mosque, and stroll around the local market.

    Day 5 – Monghyr
    We sail on to Monghyr. Monghyr possesses a large Mughal fort, as well as an East India Company cemetery, now with villagers living amongst the grandiose tombs. We shall also visit the Pirpahar Hill, crowned by a fine old mansion, as well as the Sita Kund hot springs, before continuing our cruise upstream.

    Day 6 – Mokameh – Barh
    This morning we pass under the great bridge at Mokameh, where the naturalist Jim Corbett spent his working life in charge of the ferry which operated here earlier. Nearby we stop to visit a bankside village and stretch our legs. We arrive by evening at Barh.

    Day 7 – Barh
    Today there is an excursion to the excavated great Buddhist monastery and stupa at Nalanda and the adjoining museum, then on to the picturesque Pawapuri jain temple in the middle of a lake. We return in the evening to Barh to reboard our ship.

    Day 8 – Cruising to Patna
    Today is a day spent cruising upstream. At some stage we shall pause at a bankside village and stretch our legs. We arrive in the evening at the state capital of Patna and berth close to the old East India Company opium warehouses.

    Day 9 – Disembark in Kolkata
    This morning we take a tour of Patna, visiting the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary, the great Sikh temple and the rich collections of the State Museum. Disembark late morning and transfer to the airport or station (transfer included).

    Itinerary subject to river conditions.

  • Bengal Despatch 9 - City of Light, 8 days upstream

    Bengal Despatch 9

    City of Light, 8 days upstream

    With the specially-designed new ship, ABN Rajmahal, this cruise accesses the sacred city of Varanasi. Operating only in periods of high water, when India is at its most lush and attractive, it explores untouched villages and towns of rural India along the river between Patna and Varanasi, concluding with two nights moored at Varanasi.

    At Patna visit the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary. Sail to the busy river port of Doriganj and visit the nearby archaeological site at Chirand.

    Visit Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764, which, together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield. See the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the general responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown. Visit the Buddhist site at Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Take row boats at dawn past the bathing ghats at Varanasi.

    Day 1: Arrive Patna by road, rail or air (transfer from airport or railway station to ship is included in the cruise cost). Embark on your cruise ship from 4pm onwards, and enjoy dinner on board while sailing upstream.

    Day 2: This morning cruise upstream during breakfast before landing to visit a spectacular small Moghul tomb at Maner. Reboard and continue past the confluence with the River Sone to the busy river port of Doriganj. Cruise on to an overnight stop near the confluence with the River Goghra.

    Day 3: Continue up past Ballia to Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764, which, together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield and walk to a nearby village. Later take a short cycle rickshaw ride up to the ghats of Buxar.

    Day 4: Sail upstream today past Chausa to Ghazipur, still a centre for (official) opium production. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the general responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown. We might also be able to spend a little time walking on the busy Ghazipur bazaar, a quintessential Indian experience.

    Day 5: AM sail to Varanasi. After lunch visit the Buddhist site at Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Visit also the nearby archeological museum.

    Day 6: Take rowing boats at dawn past the busy and colourful bathing ghats of Varanasi. After breakfast onboard disembark again to take a walk in the busy gullies of Varanasi to experience the age old Varanasi in its elements. Sail upstream to Ramnagar going past colourful Varanasi Ghats on your right. On reaching Ramnagar visit the Maharaja’s Palace and museum. Then cruise further upstream to to Chunar for the night.

    Day 7: Disembark at Chunar after breakfast to visit the great Moghul Fort, the old British cemetery and the Moghul tombs nearby. Carpet weaving and Chunar pottery are other attractions here. After lunch cruise down to Varanasi. PM disembark near the Assi Ghat and take rowing boats to join the evening Ganga Arti ceremony. Retrun to MV Rajmahal moored at Rajghat.

    Day 8: After breakfast disembark and transfer to airport or railway station

    Itinerary subject to river conditions.

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  • Departure Dates and Prices

    Bengal Despatch 1 – The Historic Hugli Upstream

    Cruise Departures Twin Share Cabin Single Cabin
    07 Jul 17 (S) $2066 $3402
    20 Jul 17 (R) $2066 $3402
    04 Aug 17 (S) $2066 $3402
    23 Nov 17 (R) $4504 $7238
    07 Dec 17 (R) $3444 $5415
    21 Dec 17 (R) $3444 $5415
    01 Feb 18 (R) $4504 $7238
    01 Mar 18 (R) $4504 $7238
    15 Mar 18 (R) $4504 $7238
    29 Mar 18 (R) $4504 $7238
    12 Apr 18 (R) $2066 $3402
    20 Apr 18 (S) $2066 $3402

    Bengal Despatch 2 – The Holy Ganges Upstream

    Cruise Departures Twin Share Cabin Single Cabin
    27 Jul 17 (R) $2362 $3888
    13 Oct 17 (S) $3936 $6189
    10 Nov 17 (S) $5147 $8272
    08 Dec 17 (S) $2362 $3888
    05 Jan 18 (S) $3936 $6189
    08 Feb 18 (R) $5147 $8272

    Bengal Despatch 9 – City of Light Upstream

    Cruise Departure Twin Share Cabin Single Cabin
    04 Aug 17 (R) $2066 $3402
    18 Aug 17 (R) $3444 $5415
    01 Sep 17 (R) $3444 $5415

    (R) = ABN Rajmahal, main deck cabin with ensuite
    (S) = ABN Sukapha, upper deck cabin with ensuite

    Prices are per person, in Australian dollars. Please confirm prices when booking.

  • Price Includes:
    •   Cabin with ensuite, Main deck on ABN Rajmahal or Upper Deck on ABN Sukapha
    •   All meals and excursions
    •   Transfers as listed
    •   Indian service tax of 3.625%

    Not included: drinks from the bar, laundry, tips.

    All itineraries are subject to river conditions.

    Contact InterAsia for the full range of Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises.

     

Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises

 

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Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises
 

Highlights

  • Kolkata, the City of Palaces
  • Shore excursions to pilgrimage sites and fascinating ruins
  • The battlefield of Plassey, where the foundations of the British Raj were laid
  • The many monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur
 
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