India River Cruise: The Holy Ganges

Start: Kolkata Finish: Varanasi

Visiting: Kolkata, Farakka, Manihāri Ghāt, Kahalgaon, Sultānganj, Sita Kund, Bārh, Patna, Bodh Gaya, Varanasi


Duration: 1 Nights

Physical rating: 2 - Light

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour Operator: G Adventures

Group size: 1 - 24

Age range: Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.

Tour operated in: English


Prices From:

Tour Overview

Cruise the storied waters of the Ganges River on a 12-day adventure. By riverboat and on land, soak up the immense power of this vital waterway as you sail to picturesque local villages and see stunning temples and palaces. Cap off the experience with a four-day land excursion to the city of Varanasi, considered by many to be the spiritual capital of India.

Highlights

  • iconVisit beautiful temples and local villages
  • icon enjoy a lecture at the Ghats of the Ganges by a research scholar
  • iconVisit beautiful temples and local villages, meet with a monk at a Buddhist pilgrimage site, enjoy a lecture at the Ghats of the Ganges by a research scholar, visit the G Adventures-supported Open Hand for breakfast, enjoy the pace of life on the river
  • icon Varanasi Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Breakfast at Open Hand Project
  • icon Bodh Gaya Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Ganges River Talk
  • icon meet with a monk at a Buddhist pilgrimage site
  • icon visit the G Adventures-supported Open Hand for breakfast
  • icon Varanasi Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group. Arrival transfer. Excursion to Rajmahal. Visit Bateshwar and Vikramshila Buddhist Monastery. Visit Jehangira Island. Rickshaw excursion to Monghyr. Explore Nalanda Buddhist Monastery and museum. Visit Pawapuri Lake and a Jain temple. Patna city tour. Orientation walk of Varanasi. Sunset and sunrise boat trips on the Ganges River. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
  • icon enjoy the pace of life on the river

Places You'll See

Countries:

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1: Kolkata

Location: Kolkata

Meals: BREAKFAST

Arrive at any time and transfer to your hotel. Arrival transfer included.

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting, so check into to the hotel and enjoy the city.

TRANSPORT: You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel to start your adventure.

ACTIVITY: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.

icon Day 2: Kolkata/Farakka

Location: Kolkata

Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER

Catch a train from Kolkata to Farakka and embark on the riverboat this afternoon.

TRANSPORT: Climb aboard, take your seat, and get around like the locals do.

icon Day 3: Farakka/Manihāri Ghāt

Location: Farakka

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

Sail upstream to Rajmahal, a village with a fantastic local atmosphere. Explore the remains of palaces, forts, and mosques submerged in vegetation before sailing on as far as Manihari Ghat.

Leave Farakka and sail out into the river, almost sea-like here just above the great Farakka Barrage. Anchor at Rajmahal, beneath the Rajmahal Hills. 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.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy the lively atmosphere of Rajmahal. Explore the remains of palaces, forts and mosques.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

icon Day 4: Manihāri Ghāt/Kahalgaon

Location: Manihāri Ghāt

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

Cruise upriver to idyllic Bateshwar and visit 6th century rock carvings. Afterwards, drive a short distance to the impressive ruins of a Buddhist monastery at Vikramshila.

Take in views of an island shrine complete with Buddhist and Hindu cave temples today as we sail near the shore. This area was once a centre of the murderous Thug sect.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Visit Bateshwar Temple with its 6th-century Hindu carvings. Continue to the nearby ruins of an 8th-century Buddhist stupa and monastery at Vikramshila.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

icon Day 5: Kahalgaon/Sultānganj

Location: Kahalgaon

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

Keep an eye out for South Asian river dolphins this morning as you sail to Bhagalpur, a centre of silk production. Visit a mansion and silk-weaving village. Continue on to Jehangira Island and enjoy an excursion to view ancient Hindu rock carvings.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Visit the elegant 18th-century mansion built by Augustus Clevland and learn about his revered status with the local communities. Continue on to a silk-weaving village to learn about this industry.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Explore this pilgrimage site and view ancient Hindu rock carvings. Learn more about the island's religious significance and take in views of a picturesque mosque built on a rock. Opt to stroll through the local market.

icon Day 6: Sultānganj/Sita Kund

Location: Sultānganj

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

Sail to Munger and take a rickshaw ride through the town to view the remnants of a Mughal fort and an East India Company cemetery. Visit the local bazaar, Pirpahar Hill, and Sitakund hot springs. Walk through the village and fields before getting back on board.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Ride through Munger on a rickshaw and learn more about the area's ruined Mughal Fort. Take in scenes of village life amongst grandiose tombs – this place is home to an East India Company cemetery.

ACTIVITY: Visit some highlights of the town like the local bazaar, Pirpahar Hill, crowned by a fine old mansion, and the Sitakund Hot Springs. Wander through farmland on the way back to the boat.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

icon Day 7: Sita Kund/Bārh

Location: Sita Kund

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

This morning pass under the great bridge at Mokama, where the naturalist Jim Corbett spent his working life overseeing the ferry crossing. Stop to visit a bankside village and stretch your legs. Cruise on to Barh and moor for the evening.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

FREE TIME: FULL DAY Sit back, relax, and watch the scenery go by as you cruise down the Ganges.

icon Day 8: Bārh/Patna

Location: Bārh

Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

Enjoy a full day excursion to Nalanda. Visit an excavated Buddhist monastery and stupa, and the picturesque Jain temple at Pawapuri. Continue to Patna and reboard the boat for the night.

TRANSPORT: Hop aboard and float on to the next stop.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy a visit to the excavated ruins of the a Buddhist monastery and stupa in Nalanda. Check out the adjoining museum for more insight into the area.

ACTIVITY: Visit this gorgeous Jain temple – located in the middle of a lake – and learn more about this uniquely Indian religion.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 9: Patna/Bodh Gaya

Location: Patna

Meals: BREAKFAST

Disembark and discover Patna on a morning tour visiting the Golghar granary, the great Sikh temple, and the State Museum. Afterwards, transfer to the small town of Bodh Gaya to explore the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Meet with a monk to discuss the history of the area and visit the spot where the Buddha found enlightenment.

ACTIVITY: Explore the 18th-century Golghar granary in Patna to learn more about the history of the area.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy a visit to a beautiful Sikh temple in Patna. Learn more about the religion and history of the temple.

ACTIVITY: Visit the State Museum in Patna to learn more about the region.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Visit the small town of Bodh Gaya to explore the Mahabodhi temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we meet with a monk to discuss why this is one of the four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Also visit the spot where the Buddha found enlightenment under what became known as the Bodhi Tree.

icon Day 10: Bodh Gaya/Varanasi

Location: Bodh Gaya

Meals: BREAKFAST

Drive to Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city. This afternoon, enjoy a lecture at the Ghats of the Ganges by a Research Scholar from Benaras Hindu University, and talk about the river's significance spiritually, socially, economically and politically. After, embark on a boat trip on the sacred Ganges at sunset. Enjoy a candle and flower ceremony accompanied by sitar and tabla playing, and observe an evening aarti (prayer) ceremony.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: While in Varanasi, sit down for a talk with a scholar at the picturesque ghats (stairs) of the Ganges. Discuss the river and the spiritual and social role it plays in daily life here.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy a boat ride on the sacred Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to wash away their sins and cremate their loved ones. Participate in a candle and flower ceremony while on the water.

icon Day 11: Varanasi

Location: Varanasi

Meals: BREAKFAST

Rise early for a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges to observe the dawn rituals of bathing and burial. After, have breakfast at Open Hand, a vocational training cafe and one of G Adventures' grassroots partners. Learn about this social enterprise whose mission is to provide dignified and meaningful job opportunities to underprivileged people in India. This afternoon take an excursion to Sarnath, a pilgrimage site where it is said the Buddha preached his first sermon.

ACTIVITY: Catch the sunrise from a boat cruising the sacred Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to wash away their sins and cremate their loved ones. Witness locals participating in dawn rituals of bathing and burning at the river.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy a visit to one of G Adventures' partners, Open Hand. It's a social enterprise whose mission is to transform society by providing dignified and meaningful job opportunities to underprivileged people in India. With vocational training cafes around India and an ethical manufacturing factory in New Delhi, G Adventures has partnered with Open Hand to manufacture ethically-produced products for G Adventures' online gear shop and to provide fair wages, vocational training, safe housing, counselling, and other social resources to marginalized people in India.

ACTIVITY: Explore the ruins at the site of the Buddha's first sermon. It is said that after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya Buddha continued to Sarnath. In a deer park, he preached his first discourse and set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. This is one of the most holy sites to Buddhists.

icon Day 12: Varanasi

Location: Varanasi

Meals: BREAKFAST

Depart at any time.

ACTIVITY: Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

What's Included

  • icon
    Accommodation

    Hotels (4 nts), riverboat (7 nts).

  • icon
    Meals

    12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

  • icon

    Visit Pawapuri Lake and a Jain temple

  • icon

    Patna city tour

  • icon

    Explore Nalanda Buddhist Monastery and museum

  • icon

    Sunset and sunrise boat trips on the Ganges River

  • icon

    Orientation walk of Varanasi

  • icon

    Rickshaw excursion to Monghyr

  • icon

    All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

  • icon

    Excursion to Rajmahal

  • icon

    Visit Bateshwar and Vikramshila Buddhist Monastery

  • icon

    Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Explore Mahabodhi Temple Complex and Meet with a Monk, Bodh Gaya Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Ganges River Talk, Varanasi Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Breakfast at Open Hand Project, Varanasi Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group

  • icon

    Arrival transfer

  • icon

    Visit Jehangira Island

Meals Included

12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

Accommodation

Hotels (4 nts), riverboat (7 nts).

Group Size

Max 24, avg 18

Transport

Riverboat, minibus, train, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, walking.

Your Peace of Mind Options

  • icon
    Low Deposit

    G Adventures requires a deposit of 200 GBP to secure a place on this tour, and the final balance is not due till 60 days before departure..

  • icon
    Secure payments

    All payments to TourHub are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.


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