All India river cruises take place on the Ganges River in northern India. The Ganges River is one of the most known rivers throughout the Indian subcontinent. Mostly because it is thought to be one of the magical rivers, a holy river of Hinduism. Those who visit this river are said to possess great healing powers and even insight. Taking a cruise through the river allows you to see numerous places of interest, but also gather a sense of beauty around you. The river is also known as Ganga and it flows throughout India and into Bangladesh. It originated from the Himalayas and continues to run through these areas to this day. The wide and slow-flowing 1,560-mile stream follows one of the most populated and fertile areas of the world. While shorter India river cruises (such as those for 7 days) normally leave out cities, such as New Delhi and explore attractions, such as Agra (home of the Taj Mahal), and Jaipur, shorter river cruises of 7 days cover destinations, such as Kolkata, Kalna, Matiari, or Murshidabad without the need to connect by air or bus. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your India river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.India Travel Guide
|Sep 26, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$8,999|
|Oct 07, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kathmandu||21||$10,133|
|Oct 07, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kolkata||18||$8,754|
|Oct 12, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$6,219|
|Oct 12, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kathmandu||16||$7,602|
|Oct 14, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$8,999|
|Oct 18, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Kolkata||Kolkata||7||$4,059|
|Oct 22, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$5,999|
|Oct 23, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kathmandu||21||$10,133|
|Oct 23, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kolkata||18||$8,754|
|Oct 28, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$6,219|
|Oct 28, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kathmandu||16||$7,602|
|Oct 31, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$5,999|
|Nov 03, 2022||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Kolkata||Kolkata||7||$4,059|
|Nov 10, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Nov 18, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$5,999|
|Nov 26, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$5,999|
|Dec 05, 2022||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$5,999|
|Jan 02, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Jan 12, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Jan 20, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kathmandu||21||$11,197|
|Jan 20, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kolkata||18||$9,650|
|Jan 20, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Jan 25, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$6,917|
|Jan 25, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kathmandu||16||$8,424|
|Jan 28, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Jan 31, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Kolkata||Kolkata||7||$4,619|
|Feb 06, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Feb 13, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kathmandu||21||$11,197|
|Feb 13, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kolkata||18||$9,650|
|Feb 16, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Feb 18, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$6,917|
|Feb 18, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kathmandu||16||$8,424|
|Feb 24, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Kolkata||Kolkata||7||$4,619|
|Feb 25, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Mar 06, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Sep 06, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kathmandu||21||$9,997|
|Sep 06, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||Cochin||Kolkata||18||$8,440|
|Sep 09, 2023||Uniworld||Ganges Voyager II||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$7,499|
|Sep 11, 2023||Avalon Waterways||Ganges Voyager||New Delhi||Kolkata||13||$6,107|
India Travel Guide
India River Cruises Highlights
- See the legendary Taj Mahal at sunrise on longer tours.
- Visit New Delhi and travel by rickshaw through the city's Chandni Chowk bazaar.
- Visit the world's largest minaret monument, the Qutub Minar in New Delhi.
- See the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur
- Journey to Kolkata, the former home city of Mother Teresa.
- Witness the making of sweets in Matiari
- Take a tour of the Hare Krishna headquarters in Kolkata
- Observe Muslim weaving in Kalna
- Enjoy delectable and complimentary onboard cuisine, including all meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—each day of your journey
India River Cruises Travel Tips
- Most India river cruises take place from October to March. Try to avoid river cruising during December and early January, as smog can be a problem. According to river cruise professionals, February is one of the best months to travel down the Ganges, as the temperatures range between the mid-60s and low-70s on the Fahrenheit scale.
- The standard India river cruise runs 7 days and is a round-trip journey, which covers smaller ports.
- Make an appointment with a doctor to check if you need vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and typhoid. You may also need to get a prescription for malarial drugs, as mosquitoes, in India, are prevalent along the river. Xifaxan is the preferred medication for alleviating stomach distress.
- Getting money in India can be tricky, as you won't find many ATM machines. Either bring money with you for exchange or use the ATM at the airport.
- Most of the river cruise companies that feature India river cruises do not include tips in the river cruise price.
- Wear closed-toed footwear, as you will be traveling through villages, where the terrain is not always even or free of debris.
- Remember – you normally will have to remove your shoes when visiting a temple. Sometimes you will have to remove your socks as well.
India River Cruises Things To Do
- New Delhi
River cruise lines with longer river cruise itineraries normally start in New Delhi. While some people think New Delhi and Delhi are the same places, they are wrong. New Delhi is the capital of India while Delhi describes the surrounding area. Indeed, a visit to New Deli gives you a seamless blend of the ancient and the new, with temples, landmarks, and palaces providing revelations about the city's culture and past.
You Should KnowThe Mughal landmark, the Qutub Minar, is the world's tallest brick structure at 73 meters or 240 feet tall. With respect to population, New Delhi is only second in size to the world's most populated city, Tokyo. The city regularly experiences earthquakes and tremors. On average, about one-third of the quakes will rank higher than 2.5 on the Richter scale. The city features the Lotus Temple – the only one of its kind representing the Bhai faith. However, people of all faiths can visit the temple.
- Agra and the Taj Mahal
Known as the home for the Taj Mahal, Agra, India lies south of the India capital of New Deli. The 17th century Taj Mahal was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and is frequently regarded as the best example of Mughal architectural design.
Best Time To VisitTo avoid crowds and enjoy better temperatures, it is best to see the attraction in February.
You Should KnowThe Mughal ruler, Shah Jahan, built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal in the mid-1600s. In the Arabic language, the Taj Mahal means "crown of palaces."The Taj Mahal is considered a treasure of Islamic artistic design, although India is primarily Hindu.
The capital of Rajasthan state, Jaipur still evokes a royal feel with its Pink City, which references Jaipur's palace complex – a pink colonnaded structure that features courtyards, gardens, and museums. Part of the building is still used as a royal residence.
Best Time To VisitSchedule a trip to Jaipur in February when the temperatures and weather are milder.
You Should KnowUnder the reign of Sawai Ram Singh, Jaipur gained its reputation as the "Pink City." The ruler ordered Jaipur to be painted pink to welcome Edward, Prince of Wales. The color is still preserved today, giving the city its pink claim to fame. Built by Maharaja Sawai Singh, Hawa Mahal allowed royal ladies to watch daily life in the street below without being seen.
Originally known as Calcutta, Kolkata was considered the epicenter of the British Empire for hundreds of years. Today, the visages of Kolkata's colonial past are seen in the city's buildings and the massive Victoria Memorial Hall, which features a garden and museum. However, the city also has its slums – places where Mother Teresa ministered to the poor. When stopping here, a must-see attraction is Mother Teresa's former home.
Best Time To VisitVisit Kolkata in February when the smog subsides and you can see more of the sights.
You Should KnowThe Hare Krishna headquarters is based in Kolkata. Some river cruise operators feature a guided tour of the facility. Chess is a favorite game in Kolkata. In fact, it is so famous that people play the game in the middle of Gariahat Road. After work, chess enthusiasts visit the place to take their turn at playing the game.
Ambika Kalna, referred to simply as Kalna, was named for Ma Ambika, a deity. It is mainly known for its temples with terra cotta designs, which were built during the late 1700s by Maharajas of Bardhaman. While the city no longer flourishes as it once did, the temples still remind visitors of Kalna's rich history and thriving past.
Best Time To VisitMark February on your calendar as the best time to see Kalna.
You Should KnowThe only way to get around in town, besides walking, is by toto (a three-wheeler battery-operated vehicle) or by rickshaws. The fares are not fixed, so you need to know how to barter. The Rajbari temple complex highlights two of the 25 Kalna pinnacled temples. Nicely laid out, the complex boasts crisscrossing walking paths and nicely maintained lawns with beds of flowers and manicured hedges. One of the best examples of Kalna's terracotta temples is the Pratapeswar Temple, which can be found at the Rajbari Complex's west entry. The 1849-built religious structure displays a facade of terracotta embellishments. A side trip to see Muslim weaving in Kalna is featured on some India river cruise itineraries.
The town of Matiari sits along the Hooghly River, which is a branch of the Ganges River. Kolkata craftspeople, who specialized in brass-work, founded Matiari about a century ago. Local vendors display metal souvenirs, such as copper and brass bangles, and statues depicting Hindu gods.
Best Time To VisitVisit Matiari in February, when the weather is milder and clearer.
You Should KnowThe city is referred to as the "Brass Working Village" by residents. When it first was settled, the village's elders applied their brass-making craft, learned in Calcutta factories, to support their families. If you love history, add the Krishna Rai Jeu Temple to your trip's itinerary. The religious building sits a small distance from the center of town.
Located in West Bengal, Murshidabad district and town lies on the Ganges River's left bank. Famous for producing silk, Murshidabad was made the Bengal capital in 1717 until the British shifted the location to the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1773.
Best Time To VisitVisit Murshidabad in February when the area has not yet been hit with increased humidity. Temperatures normally range from 68 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
You Should KnowSome river cruise-goers opt to visit the Katra Mosque by horse-drawn cart. The mosque was built in 1724 by local Muslim rulers. The Hazarduari Palace, built in the 1800s, features 1,000 doors, most of which are fake. Tuk-tuk rides can be taken to the center of Murshidabad to shop for textiles.
Varanasi sits next to the Ganges city and is often featured on India river cruises because of its religious significance. The Hindu people believe that if they die in this holy city that they will instantly receive enlightenment.
Best Time To VisitThe best time to see Varanasi is during February when the temperature and level of humidity is comfortable.
You Should KnowHindu pilgrims bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges at the site as well as perform last rites. The city features 2,000+ temples, including the famed Golden Temple, which has been dedicated to the Hindu deity, Shiva.
A series of steps that lead you down into the water, they are used for a series of things. You can find that those bathing in the water use them, as well as rituals for funerals. You can come and see these holy steps for yourself and even go down them if you wish. There are many different ones at different points in the river, so depending on where you are, you might see one or another.
Best Time To VisitThe weather should be mild, not raining, and comfortable for you to spend some time outside in. The Ghats are located in the water and you do have to be outside in order to see them or use them.
You Should KnowYou do not need to go into the murky water if you are not comfortable doing so. You can just watch the locals use the Ghats. There is no charge to go to these or see them, or even use them.
Yoga is a beautiful thing to do, and something that can keep you in great shape. There are many shops and places that will not only teach you yoga but also provide you with meditation techniques and more. You can practice right to the side of the river, as well. Yoga is a big part of the Hinduism religion.
Best Time To VisitThere is no right or wrong time to practice yoga, so make sure to make the most of the time you spend doing it. Of course, if you're going to be doing this outside then make sure it is nice out.
You Should KnowYou can speak with the teachers a bit more and do a one-time class while you are there. Some yoga places will recommend great places to grab food or hike through the lush gardens.
- Shakti Classical Music Center
If you love music, then this is a great place to explore for yourself. You can find that they will play you music or teach you how to play on one of their local instruments. There is plenty to do, learn, and listen to within this center and they welcome tourists who want to learn more.
Best Time To VisitVisiting this attraction can be done at any point in time. The center is inside, so even if it is raining, chilly, or not so pleasant outside, you can still go inside and enjoy the center.
You Should KnowThere is a small cost if you want to purchase an instrument to play. You will be able to create a friendship with those who are teaching you how to play the instruments, as they are very friendly.
A much different town from Varanasi, Allahabad is an industrial town that is viewed by many as a working area. There are no monuments or temples, but there are a lot of places where you can learn more about the history of the area and the country. You can speak with the locals and learn more about the area from the shops and places.
Best Time To VisitVisit this city when it is nice out so you can walk through the streets. You can enjoy the weather, the shops, and more during this time.
You Should KnowThere is a festival that is held once every three years to provide thanks to the gods and bathe in the rivers.
- Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
If you are ready to visit a museum and learn more, then this would be the ideal one. This is a museum full of art and archeological artifacts. They have costumes that showcase the transition in history. This shows the Indian heritage and how they are proud to be who they are.
Best Time To VisitYou can view and visit the museum when it is raining and not so comfortable outside since it is all inside. You can plan a day inside at this museum.
You Should KnowIn addition to the history that is shown in the museum and art, there is also a huge selection of miniatures.
- Watch Dolphins
Dolphins are beautiful and when you want to see them in their natural beauty, then this is a great place to stop and view them. You will have to pay attention since the water can be murky in some spots, but when you see them, you will know. It is a beautiful sight to see and worth the wait.
Best Time To VisitThe best time to try and see the dolphins is during the day, or even towards the early hours when it is warm outside, and the sun is shining. They tend to jump during this time.
You Should KnowDolphins are endangered in this area, so make sure to take care and don't harm them on your trip. Dolphins tend to be alone or with very small groups of others.
As an isolated pilgrimage site, it is one that is definitely a bit different. There is a temple located here dedicated to the goddess Gange. If you are in this city then make sure to stop by the Bhagirathi gorge. This is a great place to see the waterfalls and inside the caves.
Best Time To VisitVisit the attraction when it is warm out and comfortable. You can walk through the many natural attractions and enjoy the nature around you.
You Should KnowBe respectful when you are here, since a lot of the areas are protected and mean a lot to those in the area.
India River Cruise Packages
Most of the river cruise operators offer trips along the Ganges River and tours from October to March. However, do not wait until March to travel, even if you can get a discount. At that time, the humidity and temperatures climb, making it difficult to enjoy yourself while visiting villages or temples. If you plan a visit to the sights and attractions along the Ganges or planned side trips, you should set your sights on traveling in the month of February. At this time, most days are free of smog and the high temperatures range around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Should you wish to get better river cruise deals, price-wise, you might opt for taking a trip in October or November, although February, again, is a better time to go weather-wise. Don't plan river cruise travel during December or up to mid-January, as you are likely to get hit with smog.
Usually, these tours and cruises operate from October to March, which is the recommended time to go and enjoy the river cruise. However, this is also when there are plenty of tourists flocking the area. You will want to make sure to plan ahead. Going outside of these months is usually not able to be done because the cruise lines don't run.
India River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions
- What Are India River Cruises?
Tour operators normally offer India river cruises along the lower Ganges River in 7-day and 14-day trips. If you opt for a longer trip, some of the cities you visit will not be located along the Ganges River, but are important, if not, major attractions. These cities include New Delhi (India's capital); Agra (home of the Taj Mahal); and Jaipur. These trips then continue along the Ganges, or toward destinations, which usually are the starting points for the 7-day trips. Some of the river cruise ports include Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Kalna, and Varanasi. People who take the 7-day journeys usually start in Kolkata and make a return trip back.
- What is Included with a Ganges River Cruise?
Since these cruises are all-inclusive, you can expect that the food, lodging, activities, and more are included with the cruise. This is an affordable way to visit places. There are extras that can be added on such as alcohol, excursions, and specialty items. Make sure to look into these when you are booking your cruise.
- What’s the Best River Cruise of India River Cruises?
The best river cruise for you will be defined by your personal interests and the time you can spend traveling. One of the premier river cruise providers that feature shorter and longer India river cruises is Avalon Waterways. Avalon features most, if not all, of the above-described destinations in its river cruise offerings.
- How Much Do India River Cruises Cost?
Naturally, how much you spend on one of the India river cruises featured online will depend on when you plan to travel. On average, expect to spend $3,500 (if you apply discounts) to $4,500 per person.
- What’s the Best River Cruise for a Ganges River Cruise?
Uniworld, Viking, and Avalon Waterways are all highly recommended to take for a Ganges River Cruise. However, which you choose depends on what you want from the cruise ship and trip. You can look into each one of them to find out which might be the best suited for your needs, but also for the budget you have aside for this specific trip.
- What Is Included on India River Cruises?
Typically, top India river cruises highlight itineraries that immerse travelers in the culture of local life and in a country's history. Guided tours are included as well as activities that feature local craft-making or weaving. You get Wi-Fi access during your journey on board the ship as well as free meals and snacks, including your choice of complimentary beverages.
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