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Gateway to Sunderbans - Ganges river cruise

Experience the rich lifestyle of Sunderbans, their traditions, culture along with the rich Bio diversity of the region as well and an Estuarine, Crocodile Project at Bhagabatpur, canopy walk at some of the islands like Dobanke, Sajnekhali and Sudhanyakhali along with a wildlifer. 
Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (declared in 1987) which is the world's largets Mangrove site and also home to the Indian Bengal Tiger. 

The Sundarbans covers 10,000 sq. km of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the Ganges delta. It contains the world's largest area of mangrove forests. A number of rare or endangered species live in the park, including tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles.

9 nights / 10 days
to Kolkata - Namkhana - Nethidopani / Dobanki - Sajnekhali - Bali - Belur Math - Kolkata - Mayapur - Nabadwip - Mushirabad - Kalna – Kolkata

Day1 - Arrive Kolkata 
Traditional welcome on arrival at Kolkata International airport by Comfort Holidays executive and then you will be transfer to hotel by air-conditioned private car for overnight stay.

Day2 - Kolkata 
After breakfast at hotel. Later proceed for guided sightseeing tour of Kolkata visiting the Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Fort William, Kali Mandir. Then return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day3 - Namkhana 
Breakfast at hotel followed by transfer to the Millennium Park Jetty for check in by 8.30 AM. M.V. Paramhamsa will cast off at 9.00 AM, once all guests have checked in. 

Vivada cruises will take you on a heritage and entertainment tour through the river Ganges. The sail in this inland luxury cruise is all about grandeur, comfort and imbibing the flavor of one of the greatest rivers of the world – the Ganges. 

The vessel that will be taking you on a sail is the M.V. Paramhamsa, which is 53 meters long and 32 meters broad. The ship flaunts four decks – under deck, main deck, first deck, and sun deck. There are 20 deluxe rooms on the main deck and 12 luxury rooms on the first deck. 
The cruiser sets sail along the beautiful Ganges towards the south, passing through the various heritage sites for seven hours to reach Namkhana, a fisherman's cove and the Gateway to Sunderbans. The guests can unwind, relax, soak in the beauty of the river, read books in the library, interact with artisans or take an Ayurvedic massage.

The cruiser will drop anchor at Namkhana for the night. The guests will have several choices - watching wild life film shows or a talk with a wild lifer and a dinner with music from modern and traditional Bengal.

Day4 - Nethidopani / Dobanki - Sajnekhali 
At 5.30 AM the guests can see the spectacular sunrise, while the cruiser sails towards the east. This day the guests will experience the lifestyle of the people of Sunderbans, their traditions, culture along with the rich Biodiversity of the region. 
The busy fishing harbour will give an insight to the lifestyle of the fishermen. The guests can buy fresh fish and other sea foods to be cooked in the live kitchen counters. 
After the interaction of the guests with the fishermen, the cruiser enters Sunderbans to navigate through the narrower creek of Hatania - Doania. The guests will have the first glimpse of the dense mangrove and the vast river system with several creeks flowing into the main rivers. 
The first excursion will be to Lothian Island, a forest trail or visit to the Crocodile project at Bhagabatpur. Thereafter, the vessel will turn towards the towards North-East. 

The vessel will again drop anchor at the confluence of the River Malta and River Bidya. From here the guests will be transferred to a small creek boat for a ride through the creeks and shore visits to some of exotic Sunderban islands - Nethidopani / Dobanki, Sajnekhali, along with a Wildlifer, who will guide the guests to experience the forest, sight animals and birds, explain various mangrove species and tell interesting stories of the islands. 

Later in the evening before the sun sets, the vessel will anchor. After sun sets, the guests will enjoy a rich mythological folk drama by the local artists. 

Later in the evening, the guests will enjoy a traditional Bengali meal. The guests can also enjoy a romantic night with star gazing from the sky deck, soak in the serenity and tranquility of nature.

Day5 - Bali 
This morning there will two exciting shore visits - First a visit to Bali, a beautiful Sunderban Village. Guests will experience farming, paddy husking, honey packing, fishing and various occupations of the region. And.. 
Second to Sudhonyakhali, an island most visited by the Royal Bengal Tigers. 
As we traverse back we will visit some of the other exotic locales not visited on the previous day like Lothian Island, or Crocodile project at Bhagabatpur before starting the return journey to Kolkata.

Day6 - Belur Math - Kolkata 
Sailing through the various Ghats of the River Ganges, the cruiser will pass the magnificent confluences of the rivers Rupnarayan and Damodar and cross the ancient port of Diamond Harbour and the distant Industrial town Haldia, on the opposite bank. The cruiser would reach Kolkata by 1100 AM. 

The vessel sails down the Howrah Bridge, the unique Cantilever Bridge across the river Ganga joining the two metropolises of Kolkata and Howrah. Sailing past the Howrah Railway Station, one of the busiest in the world, and various heritage sites on the banks of the great river, including the numerous temples and bathing ghats, the historical point of Job Charnock, house of Dolls, Nimtolla Ghat and oldest Gun & Shell Factory in India at Cassipur the tourists arrive at Belur. 
Here the visitors disembark to visit Belur Math, a ‘shrine built’ by Swami Vivekananda, in honor of his great master Ramakrishna Paramhamsa Deb, The visit will give an insight Sri Ramakrishna’s equality of religious. 
By dusk the visitors embark the vessel to sail up the river to Chandannagar, a colony of the French till 1950. At the Chandannagar Strand, the ancient French colony comes alive with bands recreating French flover. After a tour of the French Architecture of historical importance in the Strand like the Church, the Clock Tower and the old hotels, now housing the Civil Court and various 
educations the visitors embark the vessel to be treated to a French Dinner, befitting the ambience and the aroma of the French settlement of yore. The vessel sails as the visitors dine and later anchors at Triveni for the night.

Day7 - Mayapur - Nabadwip 
As the vessel sails, rural Bengal unfolds itself in all its beauty, bounty and glory. The Forenoon is spent on board and activities include a talk about the magnificent Ganga heritage by a well-known Historian. 
The vessel reaches Mayapur, the headquarters of ISKON. The visitors disembark at the divine abode of Lord Krishna. The rich vegetarian lunch at the divine temple at Mayapur tantalizes the taste buds with its purity and simplicity. The Hare Krishna cult of the Gaudiya Vaishnav philosophy believes that Mayapur is the place of Sri Chaitanya and it is the spiritual capital of the world. 

Nabadwip, the ancient capital of Lakhsman Sen, the famous ruler of the Sen dynasty, situated in the western bank due to the changing course of Ganga, was a great center of learning and intellectual prowess, referred to as the Oxford of Bengal and the place where Chaitanya Deb was born in 1486. This was captured by Bakhtiyar Khilji, to pave the way for Muslim Rule in Bengal. 

The visitors enjoy a stroll through these twin towns of Chaitanya faith and return to the vessel for a quiet evening to let the divine feeling sink in. At night the vessel cruises to anchor at Lal Bagh in front of HazarDuari, the Palace with thousand doors.

Day8 - Mushirabad 
Murshidabad is one of the oldest cities of West Bengal and has a rich heritage. It was the capital city of Sasanka, the great king of Gaur. The Nawab Murshid Ali Khan made Murshidabad the capital city of Sube Bangal, comprising of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It was last capital of independent Nawabs of Bengal and the first capital of Bengal under the British. 

The visitors start the day with a pleasant walk through Khushagh, an idyllic Mughal style Garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Dauiiah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and his family. The visitors return to the vessel for breakfast. As the recharged visitors come back on land they visit places of historic interest like the Nizamat Kila (the Fortress of the Nawabs), also known as the Hazaarduari Palace (Palace of a Thousand Doors), built by Duncan Mc Leod of the Bengal Engineers in 1837, in the Italianate style, the Moti Jhil (Pearl Lake) just to the south of the place, the Muradbagh Palace and the Khushbagh Cemetery, where the remains of Ali Vardi Khan and Siraj Ud Daulah are interred. After visiting the Hazar Duari Museum collections of pictures, china, weapons and other objects the visitors see the great Katara Mosque and the 18th Century marvels of the Nashipura Palace and the palace of Jagat Sett, both built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represents the other side of the coin of the "White Mughal" period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. 
In the afternoon, after a sumptuous lunch the visitors have a delightfully expensive shopping experience of Murshidabad silk. 

Since the vessel will be in port throughout the day the visitors can also plan to explore the city of silk on their own. 

After a day well spent, the cruiser bids good bye and passes through the historic battleground of Palassey, where Robert Clive’s men defeated Siraj-ud-Daullah’s soldiers ushering in British Rule in India. Entertainment at nightfall is the highlight of the evening as the cruiser winds its way back and the visitors carry with them pleasant memories of historical past and enjoy the delightful cuisine.

Day9 - Kalna - Kolkata 
Visitors enjoy an early morning trip to the ancient terracotta temples at Kalna. One may choose to take a cycle rickshaw ride or have a lovely morning walk breathing in fresh air. The old Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 srinelets enthralls the visitor with return to the vessel and head back to Kolkata. The visitors cast a last, long, lingering look behind to have a clear look at the Dutch Cemetery at Cainsura and the Portuguese Church at Bandel. 
The cruise ends at about 3PM at the Millennium Park, Kolkata. 
On arrival met & received and transfer to hotel for overnight stay.

Day10 - Kolkata - Onward destination 
After breakfast at hotel transfer to Kolkata International airport to board flight for onward destination

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