9 Nights Cruise and 2 Nights Land Tour of Bodhgaya and Varanasi


Traveling upstream on the Ganges is time travel in the present. Moving through various pasts — the Colonial, the Mughal, the Buddhist — as you cruise the river, a wide, intricate and sophisticated perspective on the land and its people emerges. Experience the river in all its tangible and intangible glory!

Day 1: Arrive Kolkata and Sail

Arrival at Kolkata by morning flight and transfer to jetty to board ship. Afternoon Orientation Tour of Kolkata, which will take us to the Dalhousie Square that houses several Colonial/Heritage monuments; St. John’s Church, one of first public buildings erected by the East India Company and modeled according to the St Martin-in-the-Fields of London; Victoria Memorial, a grand marble building built in memory of Queen Victoria. Sail upstream towards Kalna through areas where different European settlers established their respective East Indian Companies during the period of 17th to 19th century.

Day 2: Kalna

Ride rickshaws to visit the terracotta temples of Kalna, which take elements from mosques and temple architecture to create a new congregational space of worship. Notable amongst them is the 108 ‘aatchala’ or “eight slope roofed” Shiva temples arranged in two concentric circles. The other temples contain terracotta plaques depicting themes of Hindu epics and mythical life of saints, gods and goddesses and various aspects of day-to-day life. Sail to Matiari.

Day 3: Matiari

Enjoy an early morning walk to the shore-side village of Matiari, which is known for manufacturing beautiful handcrafted brass items, utilizing traditional methods passed down for generations. These master craftsmen utilize recycled copper to create exquisite pots, platters and more from their workshops in the village. Sail towards Murshidabad.

Day 4: Murshidabad

Explore the historic town of Murshidabad riding Tongas (horse carts) to visit the Katra Mosque. Then ride to the grand Hazarduari Palace Museum, literally meaning Palace of Thousand Doors. The palace now a museum contains a wide collection of antiquities and art works belonging to the 18th-19th centuries.

Day 5: Jangipur

The morning we cross the historic Farakka Lock Gate and cruise through the connecting canal into the main Ganges river. The Farakka Barrage, which regulates the flow of Ganges water into Bangladesh and India can be seen at a distance. The travel through the Feeder Canal will give us a chance to see the different birds of the region and we arrive into Rajmahal, a historic riverside town in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

Day 6: Rajmahal and Manihari

Morning walk around the ruins of Rajmahal and explore the pavilions, watch tower, mosque and the areas where china clay is mined. Sail towards Manihari, a small border town between the Indian states Jharkhand and Bihar and an area rich in bird life. Large flocks of water birds including common cranes can be seen here.

Day 7: Bateshwarsthan

Morning sail to Bateshwarsthan and ride jeeps to the archaeological site of Vikramshila University, one of the two most important centers of Buddhist learning having more than one hundred teachers and about one thousand students. Subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, meta-physics and logic were taught here. Sail onward to Bhagalpur.

Day 8: Sultanganj

Morning sail to Sultanganj, which is conspicuous for two rocky islands, one of which is crowned by a mosque and the second one is occupied by a Shiva temple. The folklore of river Ganga being seized here by a curse of the sage Jahnu and later getting released by the penance performed by king Bhagirath makes this place an important pilgrimage. A long causeway connects these rock-islands to the mainland.

Day 9: Munger

Today we sail to Munger, an important town in the state of Bihar and a hub for railway, gun, tobacco and dairy product manufacturing. Visit the Bihar School of Yoga, a modern institute which provides spiritual instruction to aspirants, yoga projects and medical research in association with various corporations, state government and public works.

Day 10: Disembark Munger And Drive To Bodhgaya

Disembark ship and drive to visit Nalanda, perhaps the oldest seat of learning in India. It treasures a glorious past, rich spiritual heritage and some extraordinary architectural ruins believed to be established in 5th century BC. Continue to Bodhgaya, one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center for the Buddhists. Late afternoon visit the Mahabodhi temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marks the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment under the “Bodhi Tree”.

Day 11: Varanasi

Drive to Varanasi, the holiest town for Hindus located on the banks of Ganges river and check into hotel. Late afternoon experience the incredible life on the streets of Varanasi riding cycle rickshaws. Walk to the Ghats (riverbank) and witness the evening Aarti (prayer ceremony) on the Ganges.

Day 12: Departure Varanasi

Sunrise boat tour to witness the incredible scenes along the Holy River. Visit Sarnath, the seat where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya. The Archeological Museum at Sarnath contains a large collection of sculptures that stand testimony to the fervent artistic and religious activity for more than a thousand years. Transfer to airport for flight for onward journey.

Contact Information


Heritage River Journeys Pvt. Ltd.
Office No. 7, Second Floor, Local Shopping Centre
Vasant Arcade, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110 070
Telephone +91.11.2612.4069 or 4070