Prime Minister Narendra Modi signalled the start of the MV Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river voyage, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, a few weeks ago. 32 Swiss tourists made the inaugural trip to Dibrugarh, Assam, via Bangladesh. Rather than just a journey, the voyage immersed tourists in luxury, art, culture, history, spirituality, and much more.
The World’s Longest River Cruise provides a glimpse into Indian history and glory. The MV Ganga Vilas is a cruise ship with 18 suites and all of the necessary amenities. This cruise, built with a distinct design and a forward-thinking vision, is travelling from Kolkata’s River Hooghly to Varanasi’s River Ganges.
River cruises have long been popular in Europe and North America, with numerous companies regularly following the Danube, Rhine, and Seine. However, the concept is still relatively new in India, as the country’s rivers, particularly the Ganges, continue to suffer from severe pollution. However, there are plans in the works to expand river tourism opportunities in India. Among its incentives is the construction of ten passenger ship terminals along National Waterway-2, an 891-kilometer stretch of the Brahmaputra River. In addition, the country has eight river cruise ships that can travel between Varanasi and Kolkata.
Ganga Vilas Journey Time
The cruise journey lasts 51 days in total. Over 3,200 kilometres, the luxury cruise will travel through 27 river systems in five Indian and Bangladeshi states. The Ganga Vilas Cruise will make 50 stops, including World Heritage Sites, National Parks, river Ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Guwahati in Assam.
Booking Ganga Vilas Cruise
The virgin stretched beaches, lush green mangroves, migrating birds and turtles, freshwater dolphins, meandering water courses, tranquil surroundings interrupted by bird chirping and nature’s ever-embracing embrace. These are some of the services provided by Ganga Vilas Cruise.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can book this incredible experience by visiting the official website of Antara Luxury River Cruises. The average cost per person per night is around Rs.25000.
However, booking a suite on the luxury ship, which will cruise across 17 river systems, will take more than a year because it is fully booked until March 2024. Bookings for tours beginning in April 2024 are now available.
Map of the Ganga Vilas Cruise Route
This river cruise will visit 27 river systems in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Assam, including the three major rivers Ganga, Meghna, and Brahmaputra.
The MV Ganga Vilas itinerary has been designed to highlight India’s rich heritage, with stops at historical, cultural, and religious sites. It will travel from Varanasi’s famous “Ganga Arti” to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath. Mayong, known for its Tantric crafts, and Majuli, Assam’s largest river island and Vaishnavite cultural centre, will also be included. The visitors will also visit the Bihar School of Yoga and Vikramshila University, immersing themselves in India’s rich spiritual and educational heritage. The cruise will also pass through the biodiversity-rich World Heritage Sites of Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta, which is famous for its Royal Bengal Tigers, and Kaziranga National Park, which is famous for its elephants.
The cruise will travel through West Bengal, passing through the river systems of the Bhagirathi, Hooghly, Bidyavati, Malata, and Sundarbans. It will flow through the Meghna, Padma, and Jamuna rivers of Bangladesh before joining the Brahmaputra in Assam. The incredible journey through water is expected to end in Dibrugarh on March 1, 2023.
Top Features of the Ganga Vilas Cruise
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- The MV Ganga Vilas vessel is 62 metres long, 12 metres wide, and has a draught of 1.4 metres. It has three decks, 18 suites, a 40-seat restaurant, and a capacity of 36 passengers. The cruise also includes amenities such as a gym, spa, and salon.
- The Ganga Vilas, like all Antara vessels, has a reverse osmosis plant to produce drinking water, a hospital-grade silencer to reduce noise levels, an oil-water separator when discharging waste into the river, a sewage treatment plant on board, and biodegradable toilet paper. Electric rickshaws are used for land excursions.
- Every day, passengers pass through more than 50 tourist attractions, including Unesco World Heritage Sites like Kaziranga National Park, colonial Dutch and French locations in Bengal, silk weaving operations, and the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
- Folk dances and music performances will take place, as well as feasts featuring fresh river fish, Bengali sweets, and chokha liti, a type of wheat flour cake from the Indian state of Bihar.
- Tourists on the cruise will be served vegetarian Indian cuisine as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Tourists will be able to immerse themselves in the art, culture, spirituality, and history of India and Bangladesh during the tranquil voyage.
- The total cost for each passenger for the 51-day journey will be around 20 lakhs, ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 per day.