Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges
Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges on this spectacular all inclusive tour. Discover the bustle of Indian cities with tours of Delhi and Kolkata, taste Darjeeling tea in the Himalayas, and visit the iconic Taj Mahal, in addition to a stunning 7-night cruise along the 'reborn' Hooghly River on board the luxurious ABN Rajmahal.
Meet you group and Tour Manager at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel in Delhi. After settling into our hotel, we begin our introduction to India with a guided sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in the sights of this incredible city.
Today we board India's first semi-high speed train, for a journey to Agra on the Gatimaan Express. On arrival, we visit two of India's most stunning icons: the imposing Agra Fort, which dates back to the 15th century.
We also see the incredible Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite wife. This beautiful white marble building is one of the seven wonders of the world and arguably India's most famous attraction. After time to explore, we return to Delhi by rail. On Day 3, we leave Delhi behind, taking an internal flight to Bagdogra. On arrival, we transfer by coach to Darjeeling.
Today we visit Tiger Hill viewpoint, where we watch the sunrise from behind Kanchenjunga, India's highest mountain. Later we travel on the steam-hauled Toy Train to Ghum, to visit the town's Buddhist monastery. Built in 1875, this colourfully decorated building is the largest temple in Ghum. In the afternoon we visit Darjeeling's Mountaineering Institute, which is the final resting place of Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, and one of the first people, along with Edmund Hillary, to successfully summit Mount Everest on the famous excursion led by John Hunt in 1953.
Today, we visit Darjeeling, where we embark on a journey along the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to Kurseong. Here we pause at Cochrane Place, enjoying lunch in the restored colonial home's Pankasari Restaurant, which recreates the atmosphere and architecture of a 20th century Darjeeling Hill railway station. Afterwards, we return to Darjeeling, which for centuries has been famed as a tea-growing centre. We visit one of the town's authentic tea plantations this afternoon for a guided tour, before enjoying a tasting.
On Day 6, we leave Darjeeling behind, continuing by Toy Train to Siliguri, where we overnight.
Early this morning we board the Shatabdi Express to the Farakka Barrage, where we board our fabulous vessel - the ABN Rajmahal - for a seven-night cruise along the Lower Ganges. Known locally as the 'Hooghly River', this distributary of the Ganges is named for its 'rebirth', after the almost-extinguished river was revived by the building of the Farakka Barrage, which quenched the Hooghly with an increased water flow. After our first night on board, our ship pauses on Day 8 at Gaur, a historic former capital with roots dating back to 12th-century Hindu rule. During our excursion, we discover the remnants of centuries past, preserved in the ancient monuments and mosques of the city.
Having explored India's cities, today our tour takes a different approach, as we cruise to the sleepy village of Baranagar. Here we experience rural India at its best, as we stroll through the fields to the town's terracotta temples, admiring delicate designs and intricate carvings of Shiva. Later we continue down river to Khushbagh Gardens, a name that means the 'Garden of Happiness', which is the resting place of the 18th century Nawal rulers of Bengal. Later, we visit the site of the Battle of Plassey, famous as the conflict which secured the East India Company's hold over Bengal, with Clive of India paving the way for British dominance in India.
Today's excursion takes us to Murshidabad, a small town dominated by a 19th-century mansion, named the Hazarduari Palace, or 'house with a thousand doors'. Built over the foundations of the fort of Kila Nizamat, this excellent example of Italian architecture now houses a fascinating museum. Later, we visit the site of the Battle of Plassey, famous as the conflict which secured the East India Company's hold over Bengal, with Clive of India paving the way for British dominance in India.
Our tour of authentic rural Indian life continues today, as we stop along the Hooghly for a shore excursion to Matiari, a small village where brassworking has been the local trade for generations. Later, we visit Mayapur, watched over by its imposing ISKCON Hindu temple, a breathtaking blue-domed building.
After lunch on Day 12, we arrive in Kalna, where we disembark to visit the Kalna Terracotta Temples by rickshaw ride. Intricately decorated with numerous carvings, these exquisite 19th-century buildings are a delight to explore. Following our time here, we re-board the cruise ship to enjoy dinner on board.
Our first stop today takes us to Chandernagore, the 'City of Liberty', a famously beautiful city that was in French possession from the 17th century until the 1950s. Whilst here, we visit the former governor's residence, Dupleix House, and the Elglise du Sacré Coeur, or Sacred Heart Church. Later we continue to Barrackpore, a former British military centre, for a short walking tour of the city's main highlights, past the Semaphore Tower and the Temple of Fame.
Our time on board the ABN Rajmahal comes to an end today. Disembarking in Kolkata, we check in at the fabulous Oberoi Grand Hotel, ahead of a guided walking tour, where we take in Dalhousie Square, the vibrant local flower market, and Kolkata's Jain Temple. On Day 15, we continue our sightseeing, visiting Mother Teresa's house and Prinsep Ghat. In the evening, make your way to the airport for your flight home.
We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to Indira Gandhi Airport, approximately 13 miles from your base in Delhi, and from Kokata International Airport, approximately 11 miles from your base in Kolkata.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges