Day 1: New Delhi
Arrive at New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to your hotel, the beautiful Oberoi New Delhi Hotel. Its sophisticated comfort will offer you the perfect launching pad for your exploration of the city.
Day 2: New Delhi
India’s sprawling capital city is colorful, confounding and completely captivating, an exhilarating mixture of ancient and modern, sacred and secular. Your perfectly paced, expertly-led city tour provides a soft landing, an ideal first foray into this fascinating land. The capital of modern India, New Delhi is not one city but many. Sprawling, home to 17 million people, inhabited for at least 2,500 years, New Delhi has been built and destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and all of its conquerors have left traces. Your panoramic tour today will show you some of its most remarkable landmarks.
Day 3: New Delhi, Transfer to Agra
To gaze upon the Taj Mahal is a moment at the top of countless travel bucket lists, as well it should be. Widely considered one of the most beautiful monuments ever created, this “elegy in marble” is guaranteed not to disappoint—especially when viewed at the magical hour of sunset, as you are fortunate enough to see it today. This morning you will check out of your New Delhi hotel and head south via motorcoach to Agra. Once known as Akbarabad, Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire for 100 years, until Shah Jahan moved the government back to Delhi—but Agra was the site of his best-known building project, the exquisite Taj Mahal, which draws visitors from all over the world.
Day 4: Agra, Transfer to Jaipur
Is the Taj Mahal best seen at sunset or sunrise? It’s an impossible question to answer, so Uniworld guests have the rare pleasure of experiencing both. Wake up early this morning for a second visit to this unforgettable site, so you can see the white marble monument aglow with the rosy tinge of dawn.
Day 5: Jaipur
Pink is the color of hospitality in Rajasthan, which gives you an idea of what to expect in the “Pink City” of Jaipur. You’ll see some marvelous things here, including the Amber Palace and Jantar Mantar, an ancient observatory still used by local astrologers to determine the position of the stars. What do the stars reveal about your destiny? You can find out today.
Day 6: Jaipur, Fly to Kolkata (Embark), Cruising the Ganges River
Settle into your beautifully appointed suite aboard the Ganges Voyager II in Kolkata (the city formerly known as Calcutta), the gateway to your journey along the world’s holiest river. You leave Jaipur early today and fly to Kolkata, India’s second-largest city, the longtime capital of the British Raj, and the city many Indians consider their nation’s intellectual capital. Like Jaipur, it is young compared to the millennia-long history of the subcontinent; it was founded by the East India Company late in the 17th century. You’ll board the Ganges Voyager II, your supremely comfortable traveling hotel for the next seven nights, and settle into your suite. Enjoy a Welcome dinner and a cultural performance to cap your day.
Day 7: Kalna
As incredible as it sounds, India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions (including Buddhism and Hinduism), and Kalna—India’s “Temple City”—has some of the most magnificent examples of Hindu temples on the entire subcontinent. Kalna, once an important trade port on the river, is best known today for the magnificent Hindu temples built by the maharajas of Bardhaman in the late 18th and 19th centuries. They are your destination today.
Day 8: Matiari
Your ship serves as a time machine today, transporting you hundreds of years into the past, as we travel to an artisan village where craftsmen use materials and techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries. Matiari, a West Bengal village nestled above the banks of the river and surrounded by farms, is also home to a thriving metal-working tradition that you will see in action today.
Day 9: Murshidabad, Baranagar
Curiosities abound in India, and that includes the country’s eclectic architectural styles. But a palace with a thousand doors? Such a thing does indeed exist, as you’ll see for yourself today, along with some famous terra-cotta carvings, the ruins of a mosque and yet another cultural curiosity—the game of cricket, India’s beloved (and rather complex) national sport. Today’s adventures take you to a duo of Bengali towns - Murshidabad and Baranagar - each one boasting surprising and beautiful architectural monuments closely linked to the ruling families of the area.
This evening, following dinner onboard, take in a lively and fun-filled Bollywood-style show, complete with music and dancing.
Day 10: The Ganges
One of the world’s most sacred bodies of water, the Ganges River flows through a myriad of small villages and highly populated cities throughout India and Bangladesh. Take in the remarkable scenery as you sail and be on the lookout for a rare sighting of the endangered Ganges river dolphin.
Wellness: You may choose to relax and unwind with a body massage or treatment onboard at the soothing Voyager Spa.
Day 11: Mayapur, Chandannagar, Kolkata
Few places of worship exist on such a head-spinning scale as what you will witness today in Mayapur, the center of the international Hare Krishna movement and home to the new Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, still under construction. Most students of history know a thing or two about the British colonial powers in India, but few are aware that the French had colonies here as well. You’ll visit this former French outpost today.
Day 12: Kolkata
The city of Kolkota is virtually synonymous with the enduring legacies of Mother Teresa— recently canonized as a Catholic saint—and the colonial-era British Raj, both of which you will get better acquainted with today.
Enjoy a Farewell dinner tonight.
Day 13: Kolkata (Disembark)
Your incredible Indian adventure ends early this morning, as you disembark and transfer to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport for your flight home—or extend your journey with an optional extension in Varanasi.
India—profoundly mysterious and gloriously exotic.
Complex and beguiling, India is a country unlike any other. Wondrous sights rich in romance and intrigue come alive in the “Golden Triangle”—Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Delhi’s immense red sandstone marble tomb, commissioned by Emperor Humayun’s grief-stricken wife, will capture your heart, while Raj Ghat, a black granite memorial to the “Father of the Nation,” Mahatma Gandhi, will stir your soul. Jaipur’s Pink City and Agra’s Taj Mahal, a grand tribute to love, will leave you forever mesmerized.
This adventure by land and river will touch all of your senses, from Kolkata, where Mother Teresa’s humble home and tomb provide a place of pilgrimage, to the Rajbari Temples devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. Your Ganges voyage delves deeply into India’s fascinating historical and religious heritage, working its charm in myriad ways and leaving you with memories that will forever endure.
Start your trip with five luxurious nights at three different award-winning Oberoi hotels. Enjoy a rare opportunity to see the Taj Mahal two times—once at sunrise and once at sunset. Once onboard, travel to villages lining the Ganges River that only a few people get to see each year and experience our new Wellness Program, centered around the destination’s ancient tradition and practice of yoga.
Available on every sailing, the complimentary Wellness Program – led by a certified and resident yogi – will celebrate the holistic health benefits of yoga with daily sessions introducing the different types of yoga, group lectures and classes as well as individualized meetings, so that guests at every stage of their practice can participate in this culturally immersive program comfortably. An accompanying “Nutrition and Wellness Food” menu has also been developed especially for this program. Featuring organic items and guidelines for eating healthy, the menu will be available daily during breakfast, lunch and dinner service.
A swirl of color and ritual and oddities galore, Varanasi may very well be the most ethereal and exotic place you will ever visit. Considered the holiest spot on India’s holiest river, it is also one of the world’s oldest cities—as ancient as Babylon and Thebes. It is the goal of every devout Hindu to come here at least once to purify body and soul in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Your visit includes a fascinating tour of this otherworldly and intoxicating city, followed by a private boat ride to observe a Ganga Aarti ceremony. Led by a Hindu priest at sunset, this spellbinding devotional ritual is performed in honor of the goddess of the river, a spectacle you’ll remember the rest of your days. You will also have an opportunity to take a boat ride along the river at sunrise, when hundreds of sari- and dhoti-clad Hindus can be observed bathing, washing laundry, performing yoga asanas, and making respectful offerings to Mother Ganga along the broad stone ghats lining the Ganges. Magical and mystical, surreal and deeply spiritual, Varanasi is a city that is truly unlike any other.
Included in your 3-day stay:
• 1 night at the Taj Gateway Ganges, Varanasi (or similar)
• 1 night at the Trident Hotel, Gurgaon (or similar)
• Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
• Complimentary house wine or local beer during dinner
• All service charges, taxes and porterage
• Panoramic city tour of Varanasi
• Private boat ride to witness a Ganga Aarti ceremony at sunset
• Private sunrise boat ride along the Ganges
• All transfers, transportation and intra-India flights
$1,199 per person (for 2 guests)
For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $299.
Note: This extension is for cruise/tours that end in Kolkata.
Day to Day:
2019 Varanasi Post-Cruise Extension: Day to Day
DAY 1: Kolkata, fly to Varanasi
Disembark and fly from Kolkata to Varanasi (with a brief stop en route), one of the seven holy cities in the Hindu faith. The faithful believe that dying in Varanasi breaks the cycle of rebirth and frees the soul, and every good deed done here confers special blessings on the doer. It draws an unending stream of Hindu pilgrims, who lend the city a special flavor.
A panoramic tour shows you some of the highlights of the city. As befits a city legendary for its place in Hinduism, temples abound. Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Shiva and built in 1776, has pinnacles sheathed in gold. Whitemarble Tulsi Manas, erected in the 1960s, stands amid lovely gardens; ocher-stained Durga Temple, sacred to the goddess Durga, is sometimes called the monkey temple because of the many monkeys frolicking on the premises. But perhaps the most famous sights of all are the ghats, the broad steps that offer access to the sacred Ganges. Here the faithful come to wash away their sins in the river and to cremate their dead.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Aarti ceremony
You can experience one of Varanasi’s most famous religious observances after you check in to your luxurious hotel. You’ll take a private boat out onto the water just as the sun sets and remain afloat for a marvelous view of an Aarti ceremony. This ritual, an offering to the goddess of the Ganges, takes place every evening on the banks of the river. Hindu priests light heavy brass oil lamps and perform a set of highly stylized and choreographed movements to an accompaniment of meditative chants. Though thousands may gather to watch this ceremony, reverent quiet prevails among the spectators, so the ringing of bells and the sounding of horns carries clearly over the water as flame, smoke and incense drift through the air.
DAY 2: Varanasi, fly to New Delhi
FEATURED EXCURSION: Sunrise on the Ganges
Experience a magical moment on Mother Ganga at morning’s first light. Step aboard a rowboat and drift quietly along the serene water as the sun rises, listening to the call of birds and the soft splash of the paddle as it dips into the river. All along the ghats, the faithful bathe in the river, murmur prayers and perform private Aartis. As daylight brightens, more people gather on the ghats, washing clothes, practicing yoga, eating breakfast— gradually the pace of daily life picks up, and the sacred merges into the mundane, showing you how closely the two are linked by the holy river.
OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Silk workshop visit
One of the world’s great silk-weaving traditions has flourished in Varanasi for more than 500 years, ever since Mughal rulers first encountered the development of the craft in the 15th century. Varanasi artisans still use traditional Mughal motifs as they weave featherlight silk scarves and lustrous brocades. It can take as long as six months for an artisan to weave the six meters of fabric required for the finest sari, which is often embroidered with gold or silver threads and embellished with beading; brides in particular seek out these gorgeous and unique – and costly – sari fabrics. Discover a range of lush and colorful silks as you visit a silk workshop, where the clack of the Jacquard loom keeps alive a craft handed down from generation to generation, and learn a little about the traditional processes used to create these work of art.
You’ll return to the hotel for breakfast and then have time to explore a little on your own, before transferring to the airport for your flight to New Delhi, where you will check into your luxury hotel for your last night in India.
DAY 3: New Delhi
You’ll check out of your hotel and transfer to the New Delhi Airport. Though your Indian adventure has ended, the memories will last you a lifetime.
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.