Traveling around 3,200 kilometers in 51 days, and its maiden voyage was on the Ganges River
Billed as the “world’s longest river cruise” by covering around 3,200 kilometers in 51 days, the MV Ganga Vilas was flagged in India for her maiden voyage from the Ganges River to the holy city of Varanasi.
The luxury cruise, which has three decks and suites with capacity for 36 people, starts in the city of the northern state of Uttar Praddesh and concludes its journey in northeastern Assam, sailing through 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh.
“The start of the cruise service on the Ganges River is a historic moment. It heralds a new era of tourism in India,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said by video conference during the launching ceremony of sailing. “The waterways are the new strength of India,” he added.
The maiden voyage began today and will conclude on March 1. The ship is carrying 32 tourists from Switzerland who have signed up to make the full tour, according to the government.
The cruise foresees visits to fifty tourist places, including world heritage sites, national parks and visits to the Indian cities of Patna, Sahibganj, Calcutta, continuing to Dacca in Bangladesh, before returning to conclude the journey in Guwahati India, from Assam.
“The cruise will give tourists an opportunity to embark on a journey of experiences and enjoy the art, culture, history and spirituality of India and Bangladesh,” the government said in the statement.
The launch of the cruise ship made in India is part of the plan to boost river tourism, hitherto almost unexplored in the country. The MV Ganga Vilas is 62 meters long, with luxurious interiors comprising a spa room, a 40-seater restaurant and bar, among other amenities.
According to the Indian media, tickets could be around $400 per night.
“This decade of the 21st century is a decade for infrastructure transformation in India,” Modi said.
The prime minister also inaugurated the City of Tents, made up of a system of luxury tents for accommodation on the banks of the Ganges, on the opposite side of the “ghats” or steps that line the river.
“Tourists will come to the Tent City by boats from the different ghats in the vicinity. The Tent City will be operational from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to rising river water level in the rainy season,” detailed the Indian government.
The complex will also have more than 200 shops and will offer a panoramic view of the holy river bank, live music, yoga sessions and the traditional Hindu ritual or “aarti” at night.