This unique program combines the spectacular natural beauty, fascinating cultural traditions, and charming people of Bhutan, the smallest of the Himalayan kingdoms, with a four-night cruise aboard the Ganges Voyager riverboat along the Hooghly River, a distributary of the larger “Mother Ganges.”

Starting at: $9,990 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Hooghly River  The temple at Kalna, on the Hooghly River  The temple at Kalna, on the Hooghly River  Qutab Minar, India's tallest minaret, Delhi  Detail of stonework on the Qutab Minar minaret, Delhi  Buddhist Monastery Dzong, Thimphu  Duchula Pass Prayer Flags  Cliff-side Taktsang Monastery with prayer flags, Bhutan

Bhutan and India’s Sacred Ganges

Featuring a four-night cruise aboard the 56-guest riverboat Ganges Voyager

13 days from $9,990

This unique program combines the spectacular natural beauty, fascinating cultural traditions, and charming people of Bhutan, the smallest of the Himalayan kingdoms, with a four-night cruise aboard the Ganges Voyager riverboat along the Hooghly River, a distributary of the larger “Mother Ganges.”

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

This unique program combines the spectacular natural beauty, fascinating cultural traditions, and charming people of Bhutan, the smallest of the Himalayan kingdoms, with a four-night cruise aboard the Ganges Voyager riverboat along the Hooghly River, a distributary of the larger “Mother Ganges.”

You will have the opportunity to marvel at Bhutan’s sacred Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery; a variety of dzongs, chortens, and stupas; and Bhutanese arts, crafts, and folk dancing. Cruise between Kolkata and Chandannagar and experience a tapestry of varied religious beliefs, awe-inspiring history, rich architecture, and cultural traditions in the villages, towns, and cities along the banks of the river. 

*Hooghly is technically the name of the stretch of water on which this cruise takes place, but as a distributary of the Ganges, it is most often referred to, both locally and elsewhere, as the Ganges.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Home / Delhi, India

Depart home on an overnight flight to Delhi. Arrive the next day and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a welcome reception and orientation this evening. (R)

Day 3 —Delhi

Old Delhi, the capital of Muslim India for seven centuries, consists of eight different cities built by a succession of empires. New Delhi was created as the capital of India by the British in 1911 and is the epicenter of contemporary Indian political activity. In Old Delhi, visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, with its tapering minarets and marble domes. In New Delhi, visit two World Heritage sites: the red sandstone and marble Qutab Minar, the tallest minaret in India, and Humayun’s Tomb, the architectural forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Also see the India Gate, a memorial to Indian soldiers killed during World War I. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Paro, Bhutan / Thimphu

This morning fly to Paro, site of the only airport in the tiny country of Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital since 1955. Visit the 169-foot tall, massive golden Buddha Dordenma statue, which sits atop a gilded meditation hall and shelters within its chest 125,000 miniature bronze and gilded Buddhas. The statue commemorates the centennial of the Bhutanese monarchy and fulfills two ancient prophecies. Then explore Motithang Takin Preserve, a wildlife reserve area for takin, a goat-antelope that is the national animal of Bhutan. (B,L,D)

Day 5—Thimphu

Begin the day with a visit to the Memorial Stupa, or Thimphu Chorten, a prominent landmark embellished with golden spires and bells, built in 1974 to honor the third king of Bhutan. Continue to the Royal Textile Academy, dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of weaving, a significant part of the cultural traditions of Bhutan; and Simtokha Dzong, an important historical monastery/fortress that also houses one of Bhutan’s premier learning institutes. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Paro

Drive through the picturesque countryside to Paro, observing local village life along the way. Visit Dungtse Lakhang, a Buddhist temple in the form of a chorten, rare in Bhutan. Explore the National Museum, which houses some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including bronze statues and paintings covering more than 1,500 years of Bhutan’s cultural history. In the afternoon, visit the 17th-century Paro Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in the Paro Valley, and popularized by the film The Little Buddha. Back at the hotel, enjoy a performance of folk dancing. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Paro

By special arrangement, visit the iconic Taktsang (“Tiger’s Nest”) Monastery, whose white temples cling to a soaring cliff 10,000 feet above the valley.

The monastery is a pilgrimage destination that all Bhutanese people aspire to visit at least once in their lives. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Kolkata, India / Hooghly

After a morning flight to Kolkata, embark the Ganges Voyager,  your home for the remainder of this program. This afternoon cruise to Hooghly for a visit to the Hooghly Imambara, a mosque/congregation hall for Shia Muslim commemoration ceremonies in West Bengal. Hooghly Imambara is famous for its clock, located between twin towers constructed over the doorway of the main entrance. The clock has two dials with different sizes of bells that ring to signify the hours and quarter hours and requires two people to wind it for half an hour each week with a key that weighs 44 pounds.

Cruise to Kalna this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Kalna

Ride in rickshaws to the enchanting Rajbari complex, whose impressive concentration of temples includes the Pratapeshwas Temple, richly ornamented with terra cotta, and the Nabakailas Temples, 108 slope-roofed Shiva temples arranged in two concentric circles.

Relax aboard Ganges Voyager this afternoon en route to Mayapur. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Mayapur / Guptipara

Experience the fascinating culture of Krishna followers with a visit to the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, comparable in size to the Vatican. Also, walk through the Pilgrim’s Bazaar and visit a goshala (cow shelter), where cows are protected because of their religious significance.

This afternoon explore the interesting mix of Bengal temple architecture exhibited by the four great Vaishnava temples at Guptipara: the Krishna Chandra temple, in the aatchala style; the Brindaban Chandra temple, with its beautiful frescoes; the Chaitanya temple, the oldest and smallest; and the Ram Chandra temple, the richest in terracotta work.  (B,L,D)

Days 11 — Chandannagar

Cruise to Chandannagar, a former French colony established in 1673. Explore the many historic buildings along the tree-shaded Strand, and the nearby Sacred Heart Church, a prime example of French colonial architecture.

 This evening celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner.  (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Kolkata / Home

Explore colonial Kolkata, the capital of British India until 1912, including Dalhousie Square; the Writers’ Building, once the administrative offices of the British East India Company; and Raj Bhavan (the Governor’s House), seat of imperial British power.

Also visit the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center. Later this evening, transfer to the airport for flights home, arriving the next day. (B,L,D)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)