At a glance
15 Day Cruise on RV Katha Pandaw, Pandaw from £5,022 pp
Departure 15 February 2020 | The Upper Ganges River (Downstream)
Fares are cruise-only unless otherwise stated. Contact us to add flights and tailor-make your holiday.
All departures (18)
The Upper Ganges River (Downstream)
10% Discovery Discount Singles Welcome! No Single Supplement
Day by day itinerary
The oldest and holiest city of India established in the 11th century BC and today with over 2,000 living temples. We visit Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Lord Buddha gave his first sermon with its archaeological museum.
Take rowing boats for sunrise over the bathing ghats and after breakfast explore the old city by cycle rickshaw. Evening walk along the ghats and witness the ‘Aarati’ rituals.
Stop at Ghjazipur, home to the world’s largest opium factory, and visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis (who lost Yorktown) and latterly governor of India, where he was to pass away in 1805.
We visit the battlefield, remembered for the 1764 battle between the British and the Moghuls. Then on, time permitting, to Madhubani which is a great centre of Mithila painting, the wonderfully vivid and colourful folk art of this part of Bihar.
Visit the nearby archaeological site of Chirand and on to the confluence with the Gaghra. Sail to the confluence with the Manek past the busy river port of Doriganj and on to see the small yet splendid Moghul tomb at Maner. If open, in afternoon visit the famous Patna museums with their collections of early Buddhist artifacts.
Early this morning board the Jan Shatabdi Express train to Bodh Gaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site arranged around the Maha Bodhi temple where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in the 5th century BC. Spend time exploring this global centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all denominations and admire the many monasteries built in various national styles – Tibetan, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, etc. Later journey to the archaeological site of Nalanda, the great 5th century Buddhist university. Discover the monumental red brick walls and stupas standing on the site of what was the longest running university in Indian history. Immerse yourself in the tranquil surrounds of this UNESCO World Heritage Site which is thought to have accommodated over 10,000 students and hosted Buddha Siddhartha himself. Drive to Barh, approximately 60kms and board the ship that has moved through the day.
Note lunch and dinner will be taken at local restaurants and will be vegetarian only given the nature of these pilgrim destinations. Guest who wish to remain on board may do so as the ship repositions to Barh to meet the guests following their excursion.
Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers. Munger is now a large and industrialised city but has an interesting history with a Mughal fort and an East India Company cemetery. Visit the famous Bihar School of Yoga founded in 1964 by Satyananda Saraswati.
Morning moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one with a mosque and the other a temple dating from the 16th century. On this stretch we hope to see Gangeatic dolphins and land at Bhaglapur, a centre of silk production, and visit the 18th century mansion of the Collector, Augustus Cleveland. Continue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with rock carvings.
Passing the confluence of the Kosi river that flows down from Nepal, moor at the pretty town of Bateshwarsthan to visit the 8th century Buddhist site of Vikramshila.
Cross from the Ganges to the Lower Ganges or Hoogly River through the lock and canal at Farraka, constructed 1963-75. Before passing into the lock the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and sgtrategically controls the flow of water into neighbouring Bangaladesh. We enter a section of river rich in bird life. Overnight at Samtaghat, otherwise known as Raj Mahal.
This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Continue to visit the great Katra Mosque and Nashipara and Katgola palaces.
Morning visit to the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, 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.
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 lesser shrines. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline.
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. Downstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix's House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Moor overnight near Kolkata.
Transfer from the port in Kolkata to the Oberoi Grand by coach.
Sailing on RV Katha Pandaw
The RV Katha Pandaw general arrangement was radical in that Pandaw eliminated the formal indoor dining room. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy.