Asian cruise line Pandaw has announced the launch of a new India river expedition that will take guests on a journey along The Lower Ganges, aboard the Orient Pandaw. The seven-night, Lower Ganges sailing from Kolkata to Farakka and vice versa, will debut on December 23, 2018, and will offer weekly departures until the end of April 2019. It will re-commence in July 2019 through April 2020.
Built in Vietnam in 2012 and having seen service in four countries, the Orient Pandaw offers thirty staterooms on two decks, all with personal veranda space; indoor dining, a deck bar, a movie and lecture theatre and a spa. “The Lower Ganges” itinerary includes seven nights’ accommodation aboard the Orient Pandaw, local transfers, all excursions, entrance fees, English guide services, main meals, jugged coffee, selection of teas and tisanes, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, mineral water, crew gratuities and cycling equipment.
The Lower Ganges
Starting in Kolkata, the upstream itinerary sets sail at noon, passing by the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore, where guests will take a walk through the cantonment, past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House.
On Day Two, guests will sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, and visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix’s House of the former governor-general of French India. Cruising on past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura, guests will have the chance to visit the Imambara at Hooghly.
On Day Three, the ship will land at the country town of Kalna and guests will be taken by cycle rickshaws to see some of Bengal’s terracotta temples, as well as the Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 lesser shrines. The itinerary will continue through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the new International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.
On Day Four, after mooring near the brass-working village of Matiari, guests will make a morning visit to the village, where they can interact with the locals and witness the process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, they will cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the commander-in-chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, an important moment in Indian history.
Day Five brings a morning walk to the Khushbagh, a Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. A little further upstream, guests will reach the Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837 and host to a collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects.
On the sixth morning, guests will experience rural India by enjoying a walk through the fields of Baranagar to visit its three miniature terracotta temples. Continuing up The Lower Ganges, guests will eventually reach a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.
Finally, on Day Seven, the ship will cruise to a mooring by the Farakka lock and guests will disembark and go on a full-day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This deserted place was once a thriving Indian city, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are remains of mosques, palaces, and gateways and guests will visit a number of them before re-joining the ship in the evening above the Farakka lock gate to complete the cruise upstream.