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India Holidays

Exploration cruise on the sacred Ganges and experience the ghats and alleyways of Varanasi.

11 Night Itinerary from  £3,649

Ghats Tour

Explore Kolkata, cruise to Farakka and experience Varanasi.

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Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • Explore colonial Kolkata, the former capital of the British Raj.
  • Cruise for 7 nights from Kolkata to Farakka on the Lower Ganges aboard the R/V Rajmahal on a full board basis including daily shore excursions.
  • Visit Kalna and take rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples.
  • Visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, British India defeated the last independent Nawab of Bengal.
  • Take an excursion to the great Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837. 
  • Experience sleepy rural villages; rural India at its most idyllic.
  • Discover the mosques, palaces and gateways at Gaur.
  • Experience the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges and enjoy a boat ride observing the famous and eerie ghats.   

This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.

Tour Itinerary

Victoria Memorial

Kolkata - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from UK on overnight flight to Kolkata

Day 2 - Arrive Kolkata

Day 3 - City tour of Kolkata


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  • Accommodation

Saturday, 18 May 2024

Fly from the UK to Kolkata

Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Kolkata.

Sunday, 19 May 2024

Arrive in Kolkata

Arrive in Kolkata where you will be met by the Veloso Tours local guide and transferred to your chosen hotel for a 3 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Your guide will give you a short orientation tour of your local area. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Monday, 20 May 2024

Guided tour of Kolkata

Kolkata the city of joy as it is called is also commonly considered as the 'Paris of the East' as there's a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year 1912. At present, although it is no more the capital of India, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial centre.

After breakfast, visit the Victoria Memorial. This marble-white monument is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. Here, come face to face with miniature paintings and images of Queen Mary, King George V and Queen Victoria. Of special importance are the Queen's dresses, the famous Rosewood piano, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and numerous artillery weapons used in the Battle of Plassey.

We also visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in the Indo-Gothic style of architecture, and was built in the year 1847 by Major W.N. Forbes of the East India Company. The height of the Cathedral is 201 ft. This Cathedral has the rare distinction of being the first Episcopal Church built in this part of the world.  The peak of St. Paul's Cathedral has been designed as a replica of the famous Canterbury Cathedral's Henry Tower.

We continue to Mother Teresa’s House, called ‘Nirmal Hriday,’ and also visit Shishu Bhawan, located near her house. Mother Teresa’s great work of caring for abandoned children on the streets of Kolkata is carried out at this center.  Watch the children’s face light up with just one smile of yours.

Peerless Inn

Kolkata - Tourist Hotel

Located at centre of Kolkata, The Peerless Inn, Kolkata is only 15 minutes walking distance from Eden Gardens or the Victoria Memorial.

The hotel has 168 spacious rooms and suites, furnished either with king or twin beds, two plush armchair and a glass top coffee table, a study table and chair and a 32 inch LED T.V. The rooms also have a well stocked mini bar, a tea-coffee marker and FREE wi-fi connectivity. Bathrooms in superior rooms are well furnished with full length bathtub, variable pressure shower and sunken white wash basin. Guests are provided cotton towels and comfortable rooms slippers.

Public areas include a fitness centre and excellent cuisine from the authentic Bengali cuisine Aaheli to the sea food restaurant Oceanic, a gourmet bakery shop The Tea Lounge and Ego, a Pan Asian Retro Lounge.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Kolkata 01

The LaLiT Great Eastern

Kolkata - Luxury Hotel

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata was built in 1841 as the “Auckland Hotel” and is in fact the longest continuously operating luxury hotel in Asia. The architecture is a combination of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary styles. The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata is centrally located in close proximity to key commercial and and sightseeing attractions.

The hotel has 215 beautifully furnished rooms and suites, all air-conditioned with private bathroom, parquet flooring and luxury amenities. Plus safe, hair dryer, sitting area, minibar, free Wi-Fi, TV and tea/coffee maker.

Public facilities include a swimming pool, spa, tea lounge, bakery, bar and two restaurants, namely, Alfresco and The Legacy Grill. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Kolkata Facade Hotel Attractions 820X400

The Oberoi Grand

Kolkata - Deluxe Hotel

Fondly referred to as the Grand Dame of Chowringhee, The Oberoi Grand has been an icon on the landscape of Kolkata for more than a century; with a reputation for taking care of its guests like no other. The sense of calm that pervades the outdoor space is carried into the classically appointed rooms and suites that encircle the courtyard. 

The hotel has a varied range of classicly furnished rooms and suites, each being air-conditioned with luxury private bathroom, city, garden or pool view and the upgraded rooms have a balcony or terrace. The amenities, beds and facilities are everything you would expect from one of India's top hotels.

Public areas include a stunning swimming pool, spa, threesixtythree all day dining restaurant offering a wide range of international cuisine, Baan Thai restaurant and a fashionable bar. There is also a poolside grill.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

View Of Hotel
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Ganges river cruise - 7 Nights

Day 4 - Embark the Rajmahal in Kolkata

Day 5 - Sailing the Hooghly

Day 6 - Explore Kalna

Day 7 - Matiari

Day 8 - Katra Mosque

Day 9 - Baranagar

Day 10 - Excursion to Gaur



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Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Embark the Rajmahal in Kolkata

Morning at leisure in Kolkata. In the afternoon, embark the R/V Rajmahal for your 7 night cruise on a full board basis. Sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore. Land and take a walk through the cantonment – past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House – to get a better understanding of India's journey to independence. Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Sailing the Hooghly

Visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. Sail into the night to a mooring near Kalna.

Thursday, 23 May 2024

Explore Kalna

After breakfast, land at the country town of Kalna and take rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets, and a muslin-weaving centre. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.

Friday, 24 May 2024


This morning visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later, cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, to change the course of Indian history. Moor close to Khushbagh for the night.

Saturday, 25 May 2024

Katra Mosque

This morning, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Carry on to visit the great Katra Mosque before driving out to see the Katgola Palace. Built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants, Katgola Palace represents the other side of the coin of the 'White Mughal' period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town at Baranagar. 

Sunday, 26 May 2024


This morning, walk through the fields of the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar to visit its three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Continue up the lower Ganges (or the Hooghly), which transforms into a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.

Monday, 27 May 2024

Excursion to Gaur

Disembark and go on a full-day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening.

ABN Rajmahal

The River Ganges - First Cruise Vessel

The ABN Rajmahal entered service on the Lower Ganges and the Ganges in 2014. Built in Kolkata, she is 50m long and powered by 3 engines; her extra-shallow draught and a lower profile than conventional designs allow her to cruise further upstream than other ships on the Ganges.

ABN Rajmahal has 22 cabins: 14 spacious twin/double cabins on the upper deck; 4 twin/double cabins on the main deck; and 4 single cabins for which there is no supplement. The décor is stylish and fresh with touches of colonial elegance, brought to life by traditional Indian-inspired designs on hand-blocked cotton fabrics. All cabins on ABN Rajmahal have French balconies.

There is a comfortable saloon and bar, dining room and a vast canopied sundeck. A small spa onboard offers a wide range of treatments. All cabins and public rooms on our ships are air-conditioned.Food on board is a mixture of Assamese (milder than most Indian cuisine) and Continental cuisines. Wines, beer and spirits are available.

ABN Rajmahal Ship Near Hazarduari Palace

Varanasi - 2 Nights

Day 11 - Fly to Varanasi

Day 12 - Guided tour of Varanasi


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  • Accommodation

Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Fly to Varanasi.

This morning, we take the train back to Kolkata and transfer to the airport for a flight to Varanasi. On arrival, you will be met by your Veloso Tours guide and transferred to your chosen hotel for a 2 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Guided tour of Varanasi

Rise early this morning and take a boat ride on the Ganga past the ghats. Here, pilgrims gather on the steps that lead down to the river to bathe in the waters of the sacred river, as the city begins to come alive, in the magical misty light of dawn. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

In the afternoon visit Sarnath, this is one of four holy Buddhist sites and an exceedingly tranquil place. It is the place where the enlightened Buddha gave his first sermon. Visit the Dhamek Stupa- built in 500 CE to commemorate the Buddha's activities in this location.

Taj Ganges

Varanasi - Tourist Hotel

The Taj Ganges is located in the centre of Varanasi within walking distance to the famous Ghats. The hotel is set in 12 acres of landscaped gardens providing a place of peace from the business of the city and riverlife.

There are 130 contemporary rooms and suites, each air-conditioned with private bathroom, FREE wi-Fi, tv, safe, mini bar, tea/coffee maker and other amenities. 

Public areas include a swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, Princep bar, lounge and gift shop. Dining is well regarded with international dishes served in the Chowk restaurant. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Pool And Hotel

Suryauday Haveli

Varanasi - First Hotel

Suryauday Haveli (a local term for townhouse) on Shivala Ghats is a reflection of the spirit of the holy city of Varanasi. The Haveli traces its history back to the early 20th century; it was built by the Royal Family of Nepal as a retreat for the aged. Its now been painstakingly restored as a first class hotel located directly on the ghat best ghat. You can even arrive by boat. If you are seeking to experience the magic of the sacred Ganges close up, this is the hotel for you.

The Haveli has air conditioned 14 rooms and suites each with bathroom, telephone and TV.

Public areas include a dining room serving Indian and international cuisine, a terrace and roof top where you can enjoy a drink and watch the famous sunsets. The Havali offers yoga on the terrace and a wide range of excursions exploring Varanasi and its surrounding areas can be arranged.

The rates are on a bed and breakfast basis.


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Taj Nadesar Palace

Varanasi - Luxury Hotel

The Taj Nadesar Palace Hotel was built by the British East India company and as such retains an exclusive air of elegance and colonial style; a quiet oasis away from the busy streets and ghats of Varanasi.

The hotel has lavishly furnished rooms, all air-conditioned with private bathroom, DVD player, FREE Wi-Fi, hair dryer and even butler service.

Public areas include a wonderful swimming pool, spa, fitness centre and extensive gardens leading to the Ganges River. The elegant dining room serves excellent Indian and international cuisine.

The Taj Nadesar Palace Hotel really is the perfect base to explore Varanasi.

The rates are on a bed and breakfast basis.

View Of Hotel

Fly back to the UK - 0 Nights

Day 13 - Fly back to the UK

  • Full Description

Thursday, 30 May 2024

Fly back to the UK

Transfer to Varanasi airport and fly back to the UK.

Price Guidelines

Season High Season
Travel Dates October - March
Room Arrangement First
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £3,649
Single Traveller - Own Room £5,154

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.

What's Included

  • Guidelines prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a twin room
  • 13 Days / 12 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight) 
  • 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 7 night cruise on the Rajmahal on a full board basis
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Transport throughout the itinerary
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees 

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