A world away from the more well-trodden roads of India, the eastern corner remains untouched by mass tourism.

After the success of the three Ibex Expeditions Limited Edition River Cruise journeys on the
Brahmaputra and Ganges, curated by Anita & Mandip Soin in 2021, 2022, and 2024 we now bring
the classic and historic river cruise on the Ganges beginning and ending at the eclectic Hotel Park
in Kolkata.

This is a fascinating exploration of Bengal with the journey ending with a quintessential
Indian local train experience from Farakka to Kolkata after spending 7 nights on the private

22-cabin luxury boat – The Rajmahal.

The seven-day cruise from 8-17 January 2025, delves into the history book of Medieval India, which
was under the Hindus in the 12th and under Mughals as the Eastern India capital from the 14th to
the 16th centuries.

The Rajmahal boat

Kolkata was founded on the banks of the river in 1690 as a British trading outpost of the Mughal
Empire and a hub of Bengali literature, music, and philosophy.
This progressive, wealthy, and cultured land drew people from all over the world – the
Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, and French all settled on the banks of the Hooghly, and Islam,
Hinduism, Jainism, and Christianity all flourished here.
The history of this province leaves a legacy of magnificent temples, buildings, and parks. The
journey offers a vision of the rich history and culture of the great province of Bengal.

The ‘Historic Hooghly’ cruises are in Boutique cruising style


The cruise starts in Kolkata and takes in Murshidabad, capital of the Nawabs of
Bengal, and the monuments of the mediaeval Islamic capital of Gaur. From silk-
weaving villages to a hamlet known for its brass-making artisans, this region
offers a glimpse into a traditional way of life through riverside village walks and
e-rickshaw rides.
This boutique cruise ship is comfortable, contemporary, and celebratory of
Assam and Bengal’s rich regional heritage. Designed to reflect a sense of
homecoming to the region: the unique objects’ d’art and handicrafts aboard the
ships have been carefully collected and curated over the years, and the locally
made furniture and textiles are a product of traditional artisanship and modern
design intervention.
The boutique ship was designed to be distinct in its style, with interesting stories
that accompany each ship’s décor


08 January Arrival Kolkata
Met on arrival and transfer to Hotel Oberoi Grand, Kolkata. Please take flights to arrive by or
before 4 pm at the Hotel and transfer from the airport to the hotel on your

By 6 pm, we will reach the Glenburn Penthouse for a curated dinner and a talk by a specialist in
Kolkata. After dinner, we can take cabs back to the Oberoi Hotel.

Hotel Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

The Glenburn Penthouse Kolkata

09 January Kolkata – board Rajmahal

By 6 pm, we will reach the Glenburn Penthouse for a curated dinner and a talk by a specialist in
Kolkata. After dinner, we can take cabs back to the Oberoi Hotel.

You will get onto land and walk through the cantonment –past the Semaphore Tower, Government
House, the Temple of Fame, and Flagstaff House – to better understand India’s journey to
independence. Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

The Temple of Flame
The Rajmahal boat against the Iskcon temple in the backdrop

10 January Rajmahal

Visit an 18th-century church and Dupleix Palace, once the residence of 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.

The Imambara
Top of Imambara
Sacred Heart Church

11 January Rajmahal

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 including a unique Shiva temple with concentric rings
made up of 108 shrinelets.

Temples with 108 shrinelets

You will also visit a muslin-weaving centre before continuing through the countryside to Mayapur
to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which
dominates the skyline.

Iskcon Temple at Mayapur

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.

Iskcon temple

12 January Rajmahal

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.

Brass work of Matiari

You then 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.

Inside the Rajmahal

13 January Rajmahal

This morning, you will walk to Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal style. A garden that encloses the
tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Continue upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace has an album of
pictures, China, weapons, and other objects.

Hazarduari Palace

Continue visiting the great Katra Mosque before driving 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 the town at Baranagar.

Katgola Palace
Cabin inside Rajmahal

14 January Rajmahal

This morning you will 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), that transforms into a picturesque 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.

Terracotta temples

15 January Rajmahal

Disembark for 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 the 12th
century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. We visit the
plentiful remains of mosques, palaces, and gateways before rejoining the ship in the evening.

Adina Mosque
Lokuchuri Darwaza

16 January Rajmahal boat – Train to Kolkata

After an early breakfast, you will transfer and be escorted to Farakka Railway station from the
boat, in the morning by 9 am, for a 4-hr. train (Shatabdi) journey to Kolkata. Our representatives
will meet you on arrival and will escort you to the Oberoi Hotel in Kolkata.

17 January Kolkata – Departure

Friday After breakfast, all guests will be free to depart for the airport on your own time. Breakfast
This itinerary, including cruise and approximate durations, are subject to river and weather conditions.

Facts about the boat Rajmahal

  • ABN Rajmahal is a 50m long and powered by 3 engines; her extra-shallow draught and a lower profile than conventional designs allow her to cruise further upstream.
  • Rajmahal has 22 cabins: 14 spacious twin/double cabins on the upper deck; 4 standard twin/double cabins on the main deck; and 4 single cabins on the main deck. (This will be allocated on bookings based on first come basis).
  • All cabins have en suites with W.C., French balconies, a writing desk and chair, mini-fridge, individual climate control, and storage space.
  • 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 are air-conditioned.
  • Food on board is a mixture of Assamese (milder than most Indian cuisine) and Continental cuisines.
  • Wine, beer, and spirits are available.
  • Cabin numbers will be allocated in advance as bookings come in and confirmed with guests.


  1. Spacious cabins with individual climate control.
  2. En suite shower/WC with toiletries.
  3. Generous cupboard space and under-bed storage.
  4. Hair drier in each cabin.
  5. Minibar in each cabin.
  6. In-room electronic safe.
  7. Tea/coffee making facilities in cabins.
  8. Intercommunication telephone in cabins.
  9. Quality bathrobes and slippers in cabins.
  10. Large sliding glass windows offering panoramic views of the river.
  11. Vast sundeck both open and shaded, with sun loungers or steamer chairs.
  12. Spacious air-conditioned saloon with library and recorded entertainment.
  13. Spa with choice of treatments.


Email Ibex Expeditions for details