The Upper Ganges

15 Days, from AU $7,278


Katra Mosque

Shiva Temple

Hazarduari Palace

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The Ganges is the longest river in India. The river is considered sacred and holds religious significance. The Ganges is originated from the Gangotri and has many temples settled along its banks. It’s a powerful hub of religious activity, culture and history.

Varanasi, said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet is the most sacred city of Hinduism and a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats. Varanasi is surely the goal of any ‘passage to India’ and at the other end of the holy river stands Kolkata, in all its Raj-like magnificence. Between lies several of the most important Buddhist sites including Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya and cities great and small. And between urban centres and great pilgrim sites are expenses of empty river teaming with bird life, not to mention the Gangeatic dolphin.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Kolkata

Embark and sail to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

You will visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghli with verses from the Koran written on its walls.

Day 2: Kalna

Today 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. 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 3: Matiari

This morning you will 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 explore 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.

Day 4: Murshidabad

After breakfast, 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. Afterwards you will visit the great Katra Mosque and Nashipara and Katgola palaces.

Day 5: Farakka

Cross from the Lower Ganges or Hoogly River to the Ganges itself through the Farraka canal and lock, that was constructed 1963-75. Passing into the great river the great Farraka barrage will be visible just downstream. This effectively dams the Ganges and strategically 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.

Day 6: Bateshwarsthan

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.

Day 7: Sultanganj

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. Contunue to Jahanigra Island, a place of pilgrimage with rock carvings. In the evening we moor off Sultanganj, with its pair of great granite rocks, one with a mosque and the other a temple dating from the 16th century.

Day 8: Munger and Mokama

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. Stop at Mokama, once home to Jim Corbett the naturalist and protector of the Indian tigers.

Day 9: Nalanda and Bodhgaya

Disembark at Barh and drive 60km to the archaeological site of Nalanda, the great 5th century Buddhist university. Continue to Bodh Gaya for lunch and a rest in a hotel. Afternoon exploring this UNESCO world heritage site arranged around the Maha Bodhi temple where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in the 5th century BC. This is a global centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all denominations and it is fascinating to tour the many monasteries around all built in various national styles – Tibetan, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, etc. Return to the hotel for dinner and then take the Janshatbabdi Express train to Patna to meet the ship around 11pm that has moved up through the day.

Day 10: Doriganj

If open, visit the famous Patna museums with their collections of early Buddhist artifacts and cast off to stop to see the small yet splendid Moghul tomb at Maner. Sail to the confluence with the Manek to moor at the busy river port of Doriganj. Visit the nearby archaeological site of Chirand and on to the confluence with the Gaghra.

Day 11: Buxar

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.

Day 12: Ghazipur

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.

Day 13: Varanasi

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.

Day 14: Varanasi

Take rowing boats for sunrise over the bathing ghats and after breakfast explore the old city by cycle rickshaw.

This evening walk along the ghats and witness the ‘Aarati’ rituals.

Day 15: Disembarkation

Today you will be transferred to the airport or railway station.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Superior:from AU $7,278

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information


14 nights aboard your Cruise Ship. All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.


Selected dates and some dates no single supplements apply dates.

Our itinerary starts on October 2019 as new ship departures.

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