Duration : 12 Night/ 13 Days
Destination : Delhi - Rishikesh - Allahabad - Varanasi - Kolkata - Sundarban
The river ganges is one of the most holy rivers in the world and this trip offers an exciting way to follow the course of the river from the mountains to the sea. We start by exploring india's capital city before travelling to the mountains, we explore temples and watch pilgrims bathing in the water. We spend 2 days sailing along the river itself and visit the holy city of varanasi. We finish with a trip to kolkata and the largest mangrove forest in the world marking the point where the river meets the sea.
Today we begin our tour in India's capital city, Delhi. Start the afternoon by exploring the tomb of the 2nd Mughal king Humayun. Completed in 1572 this is one of the many buildings that inspired the Taj Mahal. The main tomb building is made from red sandstone with a white marble dome. The tomb complex also contains Persian style gardens that had never been seen before in India. Next stroll through the gardens surrounding India gate, the memorial for soldiers from the British Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the Afghan war and the First World War. Over 13 thousand soldiers names are inscribed into the stone of the gate making this a very moving place despite the busy location. Finish the day by seeing some of the government buildings including the Indian presidents house.
Tonight we board the overnight train to Haridwar.
Today we arrive in Haridwar and drive to Rishikesh a town in the foothills of the Himalayas. The river Ganges flows through the town situated 300 kilometres from where the river begins. This is where the river leaves the mountains and flows out into the plains of Northern India on its journey to the sea. There are many temples and holy ashrams along the banks of the river here as well as the stunning surrounding scenery making Rishikesh a beautiful town to explore. In the evening we go to see a prayer ceremony that takes place at the ghats on the river every night.
Today is free to further explore Rishikesh, to soak up the peaceful atmosphere and to take part in a host of optional activities including river rafting, rock climbing, kayaking or perhaps even bungee jumping for the more adventurous . Rishikesh is also famous for Ayurvedic treatments and is known as the world capital of yoga so you can also try something a little more relaxing such as a yoga class, meditation to music or maybe a healing massage.
Today we drive back to Haridwar an ancient city on the banks of the river Ganges and one of the 7 holiest places for Hindu people. Here we can see pilgrims bathing in the river from the many ghats. We visit the famous Har-Ki-Pauri ghat which is a major landmark for the city of Haridwar. It is said that lord Vishnu visited this ghat and there is a large footprint belonging to him on the the stone wall here. In the afternoon we board our overnight train to Allahabad.
Today we arrive in Allahabad an ancient city which marks the meeting point of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. We visit the Traveni Sangam the point where the one mythical and two physical rivers meet. Here you can clearly see the Ganges which is shallow, fast flowing and clear meeting the Yamuna which is deep, greenish in colour and calm. The invisible Saraswati river is said to flow underneath. Many pilgrims come to bathe at this point as it is said that bathing here will wash away all your sins and free you from the cycle of rebirth. This is a holy spot and is particularly picturesque. Here we also visit Allahabad fort built which is the largest fort built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1583. The fort stands on the banks of the Yamuna river near its meeting point with the Ganges.
On this days are spent sailing along the Ganges river towards Varanasi. In the daytime sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful river scenery as we drift by. In the evening we set up camp on the banks of the river and enjoy dining outdoors before spending the night under the stars.
same as above
Today we arrive in Varanasi the spiritual capital of India and one of the oldest living cities in the world. Spend some time exploring this enchanting city with its many shops and stalls selling religious items and offerings for the temples. In the evening we go to see the religious ceremony that takes place on the banks of the river Ganges every day.
Sunrise boat trip on the Ganges to see the many ghats and pilgrims bathing in the holy water. This is a fascinating time of day to visit the ghats as the whole world begins to come to life with bathers, chai sellers, people selling breakfast snacks and holy men advising pilgrims on prayers. In the afternoon we have an optional visit to Sarnath the place where lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Here we can also visit the museum which contains interesting artefacts and carvings from the Buddhist and Hindu religions.
In the evening we board the overnight sleeper train to Kolkata.
Today we arrive in Kolkata the former capital of India. Kolkata is a major commercial and military port and also has many interesting historical sights. This is the only city in India where there is a working tram line and where you can find rickshaws pulled by men. One of the landmarks of Kolkata is the Howrah bridge crossing the Hooghly river. First commissioned in 1943, the bridge is the gateway to Kolkata and is the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The bridge looks especially impressive when lit up at night. Today we visit the Kali temple which sits on the banks of a small canal connected to the Hooghly river. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali and is one of the most important temples for Hindu people. The present temple was completed in 1809 and the architecture is very impressive. We also visit the Victoria memorial hall which is a beautiful marble building dedicated to Queen Victoria. The building was opened to the public in 1921 and houses a museum displaying many works of art, sculptures and antique books.
Today we drive to Sundarban the largest mangrove forest in the world. Here we stay on one of the many islands in traditional cottages giving us a real taste of life here in the jungle. This is where the river Ganges meets the see completing its journey from the Himalayas. In the evening we have a game drive by boat in the mangrove forest to see the wildlife living here which includes the Bengal tiger, crocodiles, river terrapins, dolphins and many different birds.
Today we will have a full day game drive by boat to further explore the forest and wildlife here. In the evening we will see a dance and drama show which depicts life here in the jungle.
Today we return to Kolkata. The afternoon is free to further explore this vast historical city. In the evening we will have a final group dinner to mark the end of the trip.
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