Follow India's holiest river as it makes its way from the high Himalayas to the Sunderbans delta on the Bay of Bengal. Our carefully planned itinerary gives you the opportunity to see India from a very different and exciting angle, offering big-city sightseeing, remote wilderness and fascinating local culture in equal measure.
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Experience the essence of India on the banks of the country’s great river, journeying from the Himalayas to the sea and the picturesque Sunderbans – the largest delta system in the world.
After sightseeing in Delhi and a two-night stay in the beautiful town of Rishikesh, we’ll visit holy Haridwar and Allahabad (via overnight train rides). The next stage is a wonderful river journey downstream to Varanasi, experiencing the life of traditional farming villages on the fertile banks of the Ganges.
A highlight of the trip, Varanasi is the capital of Hinduism and considered to be the oldest living city in the world. We’ll see a Hindu puja ceremony and visit the sacred ghats alongside the river. Another overnight train trip takes us to the vibrant, teeming city of Kolkata, where we’ll enjoy some city sightseeing.
At the point where the Ganges finally meets the sea at the southern tip of West Bengal lie the vast swamps of the Sunderbans, a stretch of dense mangrove forest rich in wildlife and home of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Please note: You can use this itinerary as a guide to fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have.
DAY 01 - Delhi
Arrive in Delhi, afternoon sightseeing of Delhi and evening free
Arrive at the Indira Gandhi International airport of Delhi, after a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our KVT’s representative would assist you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon we visit Jama Masjid, is the largest mosque of Old Delhi in India and it was built between 1644 - 1658 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Then visit Red Fort (Closed on every Monday) which was the residence of Mughal Emperors; it was built between 1639 - 1648 as Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in 1638 and founded the 7th city of Delhi, Shahjahanabad which is now known as ‘Old Delhi’. Later we drive pass through Colonial buildings and India Gate is a war memorial, it is also known as ‘All India War Memorial’. India Gate is 42m high located at the centre of New Delhi across Rajpath and then drive back to the hotel. Evening is free to relax at the hotel or can explore the local market.
DAY 02 - Delhi
Morning sightseeing of Delhi and evening overnight train to Haridwar
This day we visit Laxmi Narayan Temple also known as ‘Birla Temple’; it is dedicated to Laxmi (the goddess of prosperity) and Narayan (The preserver). This is one of Delhi’s major temples and built in the year 1939 by Shri J.K. Birla. Then we head to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is the prominent Sikh Gurudwara or Sikh house of worship, located in the heart of Delhi’s Connaught Place area. There is a pool inside the Gurudwara whose water is considered holy water by Sikhs and is known as "Amrit". Late evening we will be transferred to the railway station to board the overnight train to Haridwar.
DAY 03 - Rishikesh
Arrive Haridwar and drive to Rishikesh; afternoon free to explore
In the morning we arrive at Haridwar railway station and drive towards Rishikesh and check-in to the hotel (Distance: 30Km | 1hr drive); the rest of the day is free for us to explore around. Rishikesh is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides with Holy River Ganges flowing through it. The whole place is considered to be sacred among Hindus.
DAY 04 - Rishikesh
Day free in Rishikesh for optional activities
Today we have a day free to do some optional activities; as we can go for white water rafting on the River Ganges, we can have an Ayurveda massage, go on a nature walk or spend some time in the ashrams and yoga centres. Rishikesh is The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and the starting point for travelling to the Chota Char Dham (pilgrimage places for Hindus).
DAY 05 - Allahabad
Early morning transfer to Haridwar, visit Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat and later overnight train to Allahabad
Early morning we will be transferred to Haridwar by surface and visit Har-Ki-Pauri (means ‘Footsteps of the Lord’) Ghat which is the famous Ghat on the bank of River Ganges and the famous Kumbh Mela takes place here in every 12 years. The River Ganges leaves mountains and enters to the plains from here. Later we board the overnight train to Allahabad.
DAY 06 - Allahabad
Arrive Allahabad; visit Akbar's Fort and the sacred Triveni sangam
Morning we arrive at Allahabad railway station and transfer to hotel for check-in. Later we visit Allahabad Fort which was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583. The fort is located on the banks of River Yamuna near the confluence with River Ganges. Currently the Fort is under the authority of Indian Army and some part of the fort is open for visitors. In the evening we visit the sacred Triveni Sangam which is the confluence of three rivers. Ganga and Yamuna rivers can be visible but River Saraswati has no physical form which is believed to be flowing but cannot be seen by human eye. The Maha Kumbh Mela takes place after every 12 years here which considered being the largest gathering of the pilgrims to bathe in a sacred river. Hindus believe that if one takes bath in the sacred river is said to flush away all of one’s sins and free them from the cycle of rebirth.
DAY 07 - Allahabad
Travel by boat from Allahabad to Varanasi; en-route visit temples and riverside villages
This morning after breakfast we will be transferred to the jetty to board the boat and start sailing through River Ganges all the way to Varanasi on a country boat which gives an insight of country-side life of people living near to the river side villages, the beautiful landscape and people taking a holy dip in the River Ganges. Then we camp for the night on the river island to get a good experience of riverside.
DAY 08 - Varanasi
Arrive Varanasi and visit evening puja ceremony
This morning we arrive in Varanasi, we leave the boat and then drive towards Varanasi hotel for check-in. Varanasi also known as Banaras or Kashi situated on the bank of River Ganga, it is considered to be the 7th holiest city of Hinduism. Pilgrims from all-over India come here to take holy dip into the sacred river to wash away their sins. Then in the evening we visit the puja ceremony on the Ghats which is best way to experience the Hindu prayer.
DAY 09 - Varanasi
Boat trip on the Ganges and evening overnight train to Kolkata
Early morning we enjoy the boat ride on the Ganges and observe daily miracle to unfold, as the Sun appears victoriously over the skyline. We can witness devotees doing their morning rituals and also get a chance to observe the lifestyle of riverside villagers. Rest of the day is free for us to relax at the hotel or an optional visit to Sarnath can be arranged. Sarnath is 10km away from Varanasi and located near the confluence of the Ganges and the Gomati rivers, here Gautama Buddha 1st taught the Dharma and it is one of the four Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In the evening we will be transferred to the railway station to board the overnight train to Kolkata. Kolkata is the capital of Indian state West Bengal and located on the east bank of Hooghly River.
DAY 10 - Kolkata
Arrive Kolkata and afternoon sightseeing of Kolkata
This morning we arrive Kolkata railway station and will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and relax at the hotel. In the afternoon we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Kolkata; we start with Victoria Memorial Hall is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata, built entirely of white marble in the memory of Queen Victoria in the early 20th century. In the evening we visit Kalighat Kali Temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali and located in South Kolkata near to the Hooghly River.
DAY 11 - Sunderbans
Drive to the Jetty and board the boat to Sunderbans
Today we drive to river jetty and then travel by boat to Sunderbans. The Sundrebans National Park which is also a Tiger Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve situated in the Indian state of West Bengal; it is densely covered with mangrove forests and home to one of India’s most iconic wildlife species – the Royal Bengal Tiger; also home to variety of different wildlife as well like salt water crocodile. Sunderbans are a world’s largest delta formed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site also; we reach Sunderbans and check-in to the resort.
DAY 12 - Sunderbans
Explore vast mangrove forest by boat and on foot
This day we explore the Sunderbans by boat and on foot; it has the world’s largest mangrove forests, a chance to witness a rare or endangered wildlife species like Tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles. The mangrove forests are vast and thrive near the mouths of large rivers where river deltas provide lots of sediment (sand and mud). Mangrove roots collect sediments and slow the water's flow, helping to protect the coastline and preventing erosion.
DAY 13 - Kolkata
Return to Kolkata and transfer to hotel
This morning we return back to Kolkata; upon arrival check-in to the hotel. You can visit the local market to do the last minute shopping or can relax at the hotel.
DAY 14 - Kolkata
Departure transfer to International airport
Today you will be transferred to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata to board the flight for your onward destination.
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Flexibility Guaranteed! Using the above itinerary as a guide you can fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have. On receiving your enquiry we will respond with prices and work with you to create a truly personalised holiday experience that is in your budget and personal style.