World’s longest luxury river cruise from Varanasi to Assam to start in January

The world’s longest luxury river cruise covering a distance of around 4,000 km will start in January 2023, India’s Union minister of ports, shipping, and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has said.

Called Ganga Vilas Cruise, the voyage connects Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam, travelling through Kolkata and Dhaka. 

The ship will also pass through national parks and sanctuaries, including the Sundarbans Delta and Kaziranga National Park. 

Highlights of the tour include witnessing the ancient “Ganga Aarti”, exploring the natural wonders of the world’s largest mangrove forest, visiting Mayong, the cradle of ‘black magic’ in India, and discovering the untold cultural riches of the largest river island in the world. 

According to the minister, the first journey will start on January 10, 2023 from Varanasi; the cruise will reach Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district of Assam on March 1, 2023. 

It will travel from Varanasi and reach Patna on the 8th day passing through Buxar, Ramnagar, and Ghazipur. The cruise will cover almost 1,100 km in Bangladesh before entering India.  

This will be possible under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route, which has already opened trade and transit channels connecting the two countries on Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. 

“Ganga Vilas cruise will sail from Varanasi to Dibrugarh in a longest river journey of 50 days covering 27 river systems and visit over 50 tourist sites including World Heritage Sites. This will be the single largest river journey by a single river ship in the world and would put both India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world,” Sonowal told Mint. 

The cruise will be operated under the PPP model by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Antara Luxury River Cruises and JM Baxi River Cruises. 

According to Antara, it will be operating a river cruise vessel with 18 suites and all other associated facilities.  

It is built with a unique design and a futuristic vision; this cruise will meander across prominent destinations along Kolkata’s River Hooghly to Varanasi’s River Ganges. 

Further details, including ticket pricing, are unavailable yet, and the minister said that the operators will decide on a cost-plus basis. (Source:  

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