World’s longest river cruise to be flagged off on January 13
Varanasi: World’s longest river cruise with MV Ganga Vilas, a first-of-its-kind cruise service, will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 13, 2023. The 51 days cruise is planned with visits to 50 tourist spots including world heritage sites, National Parks, river Ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.
The maiden voyage will witness 32 tourists from Switzerland relishing the Varanasi to Dibrugarh journey. The expected date of arrival of MV Ganga Vilas in Dibrugarh is on March 1, 2023.
The luxury cruise is curated to showcase the rich heritage of India with stopovers in spots of historical, cultural and religious importance. The cruise will cover a distance of more than 3,200 km across 27 river systems in 5 states in India and Bangladesh. From the famous “Ganga Arti” in Varanasi, it will stop at Sarnath, a place of great reverence for Buddhism. It will also cover Mayong, known for its tantric craft, and Majuli, the largest river island and hub of Vaishnavite culture in Assam. The travellers will also visit the Bihar School of Yoga and Vikramshila University, allowing them to soak in the rich Indian heritage in spirituality and knowledge. The cruise will also traverse through the biodiversity-rich Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta, famous for the Royal Bengal Tigers, as well as Kaziranga National Park, famous for the one-horn rhinos.
The MV Ganga Vilas vessel is 62 meters in length, and 12 meters in width and comfortably sails with a draft of 1.4 meters. It has three decks, and 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the amenities to provide a memorable and luxurious experience for the tourists. The ship follows sustainable principles at its core as it is equipped with pollution-free mechanisms and noise control technologies.
“The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is a step towards unlocking the huge potential river tourism in the country has to offer,” Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, said.
With support from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under the Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways (MoPSW), the success of this service is likely to enthuse entrepreneurs to explore river cruises in other parts of the country. In India, 8 river cruise vessels are operational between Kolkata and Varanasi while cruise movement is also operation on National Waterways 2 (Brahmaputra). Tourism activities like river rafting, camping, sightseeing, kayaking and so on are operational in many spots in the country. The construction of 10 passengers terminals across NW2 is going on which will further bolster the prospect of a river cruise.
At present, four river cruise vessels are operational in NW2 while it is operating in a limited capacity in NW3 (West Coast Canal), NW8, NW 4, NW 87, NW 97, and NW 5. As the capital expenditure is pumped to build capacity in the inland waterways, the river cruise is set to grow further with systematic forward and backward linkage for the economy, especially across the banks of the rivers, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, stated today.
– global bihari bureau