The Hooghly River is the main artery running through the history of Bengal. Kolkata was founded on the banks of the river in 1690 as a British trading outpost of the Mughal Empire. Not only was Kolkata the centre of the Raj until 1911, when the capital moved to Delhi, but it has long been a hub of Bengali literature, music and philosophy. Bengal was the richest province in India for a time, its lush soil producing indigo, opium and rice crops, among others, and its exquisite textiles were known as 'woven wind'.
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 long history of this province leaves a legacy of magnificent temples, buildings and parks, often of astonishing size. A visit to Kolkata combined with a cruise along the mighty Hooghly offers an unparalleled vision of the rich history and culture of the great province of Bengal.
Katie Hickman will be the specialist speaker throughout this cruise (talks TBC). Her talks will address the theme of ‘Travellers, Traders and Truth Seekers in India.’ She will be accompanied by local guides and a full-time national guide, who will also provide talks.
Katie Hickman is a British historian, novelist and travel writer. Her highly acclaimed history of British women in pre-Raj India was published in 2019.
She is the author of nine other books, including two bestselling works of non-fiction: 'Daughters of Britannia', about the lives and times of British diplomatic wives (which was in the Sunday Times bestseller lists for ten months and a twenty-part series for BBC Radio 4) and 'Courtesans', about English eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women of pleasure. Her most recent work, 'Brave Hearted: The Dramatic Story of Women of the American West', was the winner of the 2023 WILLA Award for Nonfiction.
Her other works include a trilogy of historical novels - 'The Aviary Gate', 'The Pindar Diamond', 'The House at Bishopsgate' - which between them have been translated into twenty languages.
Born into a diplomatic family, Katie Hickman had a peripatetic childhood, growing up in Spain, Ireland, Singapore and South America. She lives in London on a converted barge on the River Thames.
Extend your time in North India and stay at the historic Rajbari Bawali Hotel, a beautiful heritage hotel in the outskirts of Kolkata, dating back 250 years. It has been lovingly restored by the current owner with décor that mingles traditional antiques with chic contemporary amenities.
The cost of the tour is USD $5,579 per person sharing. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is USD $6,804.