Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges)

Cruise with Assam Bengal Navigation. These cruises, upstream or downstream with return journey by rail, take you along the intimate Hooghly, which flows from Farakka on the main river down to Kolkata. As well as sightseeing of Kolkata itself and the European colonies just outside, the cruise takes in Murshidabad, the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal, and the many monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur. A highlight is several delightful and little known Bengali Terracotta temples. 

When to go::

July, August, September - There is some rain, but usually for not more than an hour or so at a time. Water levels are high, so grounding is rare, and rural India is looking it's incomparable best, lush and green in wonderful clarity of light, with both blossom and tropical fruit abounding. Temperatures are high, with high levels of humidity.

October, November, December:- Water levels remain quite high.

January, February - Water levels are low on the Ganges so groundings can occur, while morning mists can delay getting underway. For those who dislike heat, December and January are good months. 

March and April - water levels on the Ganges can cause problems, although the Lower Ganges should not be affected. Temperatures start to rise, although without much humidity, and by April sudden brief storms can occur. 

Prices are seasonal, include all meals, excursions and transfers. Starts from:
GBP 1148 person sharing a twin cabin

International and domestic airfares are extra.

  • Boutique river cruising
Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) at a glance
  • Day 1:Embark ABN Rajmahal
  • Day 2: Chandernagore to Kalna
  • Day 3: Kalna to Maliari
  • Day 4: Matiari to Khushbagh
  • Day 5: Khushbagh to Baranagar
  • Day 6: Baranagar to Farakka
  • Day 7: Excursion to Gaur
  • Day 8: Disembarkation and transfer to Kolkata to extend your India adventure
Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 1

Day 1:Embark ABN Rajmahal

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel to embark on your ship by midday. Sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore. Land and take a walk through the cantonment – past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House – to get a better understanding of India's journey to independence. Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 2

Day 2: Chandernagore to Kalna

Visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kalna.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 3

Day 3: Kalna to Maliari

After breakfast, land at the country town of Kalna and take rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets, and a muslin-weaving centre. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. 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. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 4

Day 4: Matiari to Khushbagh

This morning visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, 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, to change the course of Indian history. Moor close to Khushbagh for the night.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 5

Day 5: Khushbagh to Baranagar

This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Carry on to visit the great Katra Mosque before driving out to see the Katgola Palace. Built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants, Katgola Palace represents the other side of the coin of the 'White Mughal' period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town at Baranagar.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 6

Day 6: Baranagar to Farakka

This morning, walk through the fields of the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar to visit its three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Continue up the lower Ganges (or the Hooghly), which transforms into a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on up a canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 7

Day 7: Excursion to Gaur

Disembark and go on a full-day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening.

Cruise on the Historic Hooghly (Lower Ganges) Image 8

Day 8: Disembark and transfer to Kolkata

Transfer to Farakka station in the morning for a 4 hr (approx.) train journey to Kolkata for your departure transfer or continue your India adventure with a journey to the tea plantations of Darjeeling. 


Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email We welcome your questions. We're here to help!


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