With our specially designed new ship, ABN Rajmahal, we are able to offer two one-week cruises which access the Holy Grail of Ganges cruises, the sacred city of Varanasi itself. Operating only in periods of high water, when India is at its most lush and attractive, they explore untouched villages and towns of rural India along the river between Patna and Varanasi. Both cruises feature two days of sightseeing in Varanasi itself, while the downstream cruise also includes a visit to the spectacular Chunar Fort.
Arrive at Patna by road, rail or air; transfer from airport or railway station to ship is included in the cruise cost. Embark on your cruise ship from afternoon onwards, and enjoy dinner on board while sailing upstream.
This morning, cruise upstream during breakfast before landing to visit a spectacular small Moghul tomb at Maner. Reboard and continue past the confluence with the River Sone to the busy river port of Doriganj. Cruise on to an overnight stop near the confluence with the River Goghra.
Today you continue up past Ballia to Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764 which, together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British Raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield and the old East India Company cemetery in town. Later, take a short cycle rickshaw ride up to the ghats of Buxar.
Sail upstream today past Chausa to Ghazipur, still a centre for (official) opium production. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the General responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown. We might also be able to spend a little time walking through the busy Ghazipur bazaar, a quintessential Indian experience.
This morning, sail to Varanasi (also known as Benaras). The so-called City of Light is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world, dating back to 3000 years ago. Mark Twain once said: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together". An accurate description, Varanasi is arresting to your every sense yet beautifully spiritual for those willing to let go and just be. It's the most important religious site for Hindus and visited by people from all walks of life who come here in the hope of attaining moksha or salvation. After lunch, visit the Buddhist site at Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Visit also the nearby archaeological museum.
This morning, sail past the ghats of Varanasi to visit Ramnagar and see the Maharaja’s Palace and museum. Sail on to visit Chunar, the great Mughal Fort, the old British cemetery and the Mughal tombs nearby. Carpet weaving and Chunar pottery offer a taste of the traditional industries that still thrive in the region. Sail down to anchor at Ramnagar for the night.
An early start this morning as you take rowing boats at dawn to soak in the lively and colourful bathing ghats of Varanasi. After a reviving breakfast onboard, disembark again to take a walk through the busy alleys of Varanasi to experience the beating heart of the city. In the evening, take rowing boats once again to join the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony, where young priests perform their daily rituals with brass lamps and spiritual mantras in front of large crowds from all over India and the world. A truly mesmerising sight, this aarti is the essence of Varanasi. Return to the ship anchored at Rajghat.
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to airport or railway station.
Itinerary above indicates the Upstream direction. Downstream itinerary goes in reverse and may be slightly different. While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of fluctuating river conditions and navigational or mechanical difficulties, all schedules and itineraries are subject to change without notice.
5% Tax Applicable to all Cabin Categories: USD pp
Vessel Type: River Boat
Length: 50 meters
Passenger Capacity: 40
ABN Rajmahal is a 50m long and powered by 3 engines; her extra-shallow draught and a lower profile than conventional designs allow her to cruise further upstream than any of her competitors.
ABN Rajmahal has 22 cabins: 14 spacious twin/double cabins on the upper deck; 4 twin/double cabins on the main deck; and 4 single cabins for which we charge no supplement. The décor is stylish and fresh with touches of colonial elegance, brought to life by traditional Indian-inspired designs on hand-blocked cotton fabrics. All cabins on ABN Rajmahal have French balconies.
As with the other ships in our fleet, there is a comfortable saloon and bar, dining room and a vast canopied sundeck. A small spa onboard offers a wide range of treatments. All cabins and public rooms on our ships are air-conditioned.
Food on board is a mixture of Assamese (milder than most Indian cuisine) and Continental cuisines. Wines, beer and spirits are available.
* Spacious cabins with individual climate control
* En suite shower/WC with Biotique toiletries
* Generous cupboard space and under-bed storage
* Hair drier in each cabin
* Minibar in each cabin
* In-room electronic safe
* Tea/coffee making facilities in cabins
* Intercommunication telephone in cabins
* High quality bathrobes and slippers in cabins
* Large sliding glass windows offering panoramic views of the river
* Vast sundeck both open and shaded, with sunloungers or steamer chairs
* Spacious air-conditioned saloon with library and recorded entertainment
* Spa with choice of treatments.
* Shore excursion programme including all admissions
* Maximum 20 guests per guide on all excursions
* Naturalist onboard the vessel
* Cold towel service after excursions
* Welcome drink after excursions
* Shoe-cleaning after excursions
* Turndown service in all cabins
* Expertly trained culinary staff
* Single seating for buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
* Acclaimed combination of Indian & Western cuisines
* Wide choice of wines, spirits and beer
* Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water throughout
* Welcome reception
* Farewell reception
* Local on-board dance & song performances.