If exploring the northern plains of India is on your bucket list. Here’s an extraordinary 51-day-long river cruise. Launching this December is an epic journey, cruising through the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers with Antara Cruises’ newest art-deco boutique ship, Antara Ganga Vilas. Starting from Kashi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam, this river cruise sails across 27 smaller rivers, five states and two countries. The cruise is perfect for leisure travelers, history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and nature lovers, with a hop-on and hop-off option allowing the guests the freedom to travel on specific segments.
Commenting on this unique itinerary, Founder Chairman of Antara Luxury River Cruises, Raj Singh, comments,’ Each experience has been personally vetted and designed by me for fellow enthusiastic travellers. The historic route has been finalized with the support, assistance and cooperation of the Governments of India and Bangladesh that are working together to ensure a seamless travel between the two countries.’
Built-in the mid-20th century modern style, the 18-suite Antara Ganga Vilas is a luxurious amalgamation of refined texture and simple elegance. Each room is inspired by a colour-square painting by Bauhaus and Black Mountain designer-teacher Josef Albers. The exquisite fabric and all fabrics, linen, furniture and serveware are made in India – some crafted along the river. The large ceiling-to-floor guillotine windows bring enchanting river views into the ship’s expansive spaces.
The cruise will have off and onshore experiences, starting at Varanasi, with short day trips to the world heritage sites along the way, offering deep insights into its colonial influences and regional traditions. It further cruises through the world’s largest mangrove forest, UNESCO-protected Sundarbans, and the ship enters Bangladesh. The patrons would be visiting the marvellous floating markets of Barisal, the famous 60 dome mosque of Bagerhat, to Sonargaon, the heritage town in the country. Finally, the vessel would turn north into the Jamuna from Dhaka and turn east to re-enter India at Dhubri, embracing the Brahmaputra – for the Assam leg of the trip – sailing through the wild and numerous cultural sites before arriving in Dibrugarh.
Talking more about the experiential value of the journey offers, Mr Singh adds, ‘Our guests visit Matiari, where they watch brassware and textiles in the villages being hand-created, they walk on the same grounds on archaeological sites that date to over 2500 years. We go to Vikramshila, one of the largest Buddhist universities alongside Nalanda and Bhagalpur for its centuries-old Tussar silk weaving traditions. The fascinating colonial, Dutch and French influences and architecture across the interiors of Bengal, the raw untouched beauty across the Bangladesh-India border with the Sunderbans, precious arts and artisan visits where guests can engage with and talk to them- we have so carefully curated the entire journey, each stop, and every experience. A real insight into understanding this special region whilst enjoying the phenomenal riverscapes that the revered Ganga and Brahmaputra offer.’
Apart from the Antara Ganga Vilas, the brand operates four more ships on the Ganges and has a strong development pipeline with another 4 in Orissa’s wildlife this year, where each ship has a unique character and draws inspiration from the art and culture of the country.
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