On the banks of the holy Ganges, Varanasi is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims. Capital of India in the days of the British Raj, Kolkata sits on a river fed by the Ganges.
Life in colourful, chaotic Varanasi centers on the sacred Ganges River, with narrow, winding lanes leading down to waterfront ghats where pilgrims bathe and the dead receive their last rites. On the banks of the Hooghly River, thriving Kolkata is still India’s centre for culture and learning, and remains rich in colonial architecture.
The Ganges, or Ganga River is considered sacred by millions of Hindus. According to ancient religious texts, the river sprung from the hair of Lord Shiva, and for centuries thousands of pilgrims have flocked to bathe in its holy waters, or immerse the ashes of their loved ones. This mighty river rises in the Himalayas and flows westwards across India and then southwards to Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal, supporting agriculture, industry and wildlife.
One of the holiest places on the Ganges is the fascinating city of Varanasi, famous for its riverside ghats, where the faithful come to bathe or light candles for their dead. The bustling port city of Kolkata, previously known as Calcutta, is on the Ganges Delta, and has many fine mosques, temples and universities.
The best way to discover life on the Ganges is in the laneways and along the ghats of Varanasi, or by riverboat between Varanasi and Kolkata. Our boutique riverboat takes you slowly down the Ganges in comfort and with plenty of time to take in the sights along this venerated waterway.
To find out more about our range of Varanasi, Kolkata and Ganges River programs, please download the pages below.