Lower Ganges river cruise in India

“Mata Ganges – ‘Mother Ganges’, bears you along gracefully on this eight day river cruise in West Bengal.”

Highlights

Kolkata | Barrackpore | Chandernagore | Chinsura | Hooghly | Kalna | Mayapur | Matiari | Cruise operates in both directions, with a train back to the start

Description of Lower Ganges river cruise in India

The Lower Ganges splits into many branches once it reaches the south West Bengal state. One such side-stream is the River Hooghly, which you can enjoy on this eight day cruise. Mosey along the river, either upstream or downstream, between Kolkata and Farakka, and then return to the start by train.

Sights you’ll see on the way include Kolkata, India’s third largest city, an army cantonment (garrison) in Barrackpore, brassworks in Matiari, historic cities from French India, terracotta temples in Kalna and Baranagar and the mango orchards and mustard fields of rural India. The river is vast, brown and lazy – but the banks are frequently colourful and always interesting. Your shore excursions will be in small groups of up to 20 people.

The river boat is specially designed for shallow water, so she can get where other vessels can’t. There are just 22 freshly decorated cabins on board, where you can sink back on hand-blocked cotton cushions in a wicker chair, and take advantage of your boat’s enormous windows. Every cabin comes with a balcony and air-conditioning and you can enjoy Assamese and European cuisine, plus welcome drinks after each excursion.

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
In April 2017, the ship's managers formalised their existing efforts to philanthropy by creating a charitable foundation. With the aim to support education, environment protection efforts and rural community development, a total of 5% of every room booked n will be contributed to the foundation to fund these causes.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
The ship's team members, especially our guides, are all local people who have been trained for the job, they are rightly proud of where they come from and regularly make efforts to create awareness in villages about the cruelty of poaching, reducing plastic bag usage and general environment care.

On board, single use plastics are kept to a minimum - tea and coffee are provided all day in non disposable cups– and any plastics which are to be thrown are recycled. Waste is held on board and then disposed of responsibly at some ports where government regulations stipulate the rules.

The ship's managers believe that working in tandem with rural communities and local non-profit organisations is one of the most effective ways by which they can foster the growth of sustainable and responsible tourism in India. They are dedicated to positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the communities along the rivers and national parks they operate in. Guests have the opportunity to visit these schools and support the development of India's natural and cultural heritage.

In an effort to conserve India’s forests, the interiors of the vessels are bamboo-paneled.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Existing and planned initiatives
Throughout the ship's managers 15-year history, they have been involved in hospitality and English language training, women’s empowerment through the set-up of weaving micro-enterprises, talent development, reforestation programs and education sponsorship.

IMPACT OF EDUCATION
In addition to providing training in hospitality and English language skills to young men and women from villages in Assam and Bengal, they work closely with the teachers of government-run schools with their Mid-day Meal Schemes. Together with the teachers, we have identified projects at schools that can make a positive impact on the quality of education, including initiatives like renovating the roof and floors of the school building, constructing lavatories, donating a library, or directly participating in the classroom through organisation of field trips.

The school visits are an integral part of the school day. In one village, the cruise ship’s managers have trained a local young man to speak and teach English, they have built him a class room, and he now teaches English to the children of the community – All paid for by the ship’s managers. They have also contributed to building and maintaining local schools, and the school visits are an integral part of the schools language teaching, and they are built into the school timetable in conjunction with the headmaster. The visitors are not volunteering – their visits have been built in to the school curriculum with the full agreement of the headmaster. As it is the only chance the children get to speak English with English speakers – They (the children) really enjoy these visits and it is considered a highlight of their week. They are always accompanied by the teacher.


SUPPORTING LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS AND ARTISANS
A small way in which they have been able to support local entrepreneurs and artisans is by ensuring that almost all of their ships' decor and the ships themselves have been handmade by local people. The gift shops store only work created by local artisans of the regions they operate in. They also try to support local endeavours in any way we can should they seek our help or partnership.

Climate

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