A Cruise Through History Along the Hooghly River

28 Feb - 11 Mar 2022
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

The Hooghly River is the main artery running through the history of Bengal. Bengal was the richest province in India for a time, its lush soil producing indigo, opium and rice crops and its exquisite textiles were known as ‘woven wind’. This progressive, wealthy and cultured land drew people from all over the world - Islam, Hinduism, Jainism and Christianity all flourished here. The long history of this province leaves a legacy of magnificent temples, buildings and parks.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Toby Sinclair

Toby Sinclair

A London-born Scot, Toby first drove out to India in 1974 and by late 1975 he joined the Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Nepal’s Royal Chitwan National Park. In April 1977 he moved to Delhi and helped establish both Mountain Travel India and an office for Tiger Tops. Toby has trekked extensively in the western Himalayas. He helped establish the Kipling Camp in Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh Jungle Camp. He has been on the Advisory Committee of the Bombay Natural History Society and is today on the Government of India Steering Committee on Protected Area Management. He is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the EcoTourism Society of India. He was the recipient of the 2007 Zeiss Award for Conservation and is a trustee of Global Tiger Patrol.

For the last 20 years his main work has been handling the Field Production of BBC Natural History Unit filming in the wilderness areas and parks of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. These films get broadcast on Discovery, Animal Planet and National Geographic in addition to the BBC.

Toby has edited and contributed to a series of books on different parts of South Asia including a series of Insight Guides to India; Indian Wildlife; India’s Western Himalaya, South India, Calcutta, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra; and Rajasthan.

In addition to his own photography, he has been consultant to and handled logistics for numerous photographic projects including The Western Ghats (National Geographic, Jan 2002), Tigers (National Geographic, Dec 1999), The Monsoon (Geo, Dec 1998), Snow Leopards(National Geographic, 2008), Kaziranga (National Geographic 2010), Tigers (December 2011) etc. He has also handled the logistics for photographers such as Richard Avedon, Tom Mangelsen, Nick Nicolls, Steve Winter, Frans Lanting, and Art Wolfe among others.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Contact us

Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Kolkata (Mon, 28 Feb)
    Arrive and transfer to the Oberoi Grand Hotel and at leisure. Optional stroll along the Colonnade to the Park Street Oxford Bookstore and to visit the Museum of India. In the evening board the boat at Prinsep’s Steps for a river trip through the city. Toby Sinclair will talk on the early history of Kolkata.
  • Day 2: Kolkata (Tues, 1 Mar)
    Optional early morning sightseeing walk through old Kolkata, including the Writer’s Building. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Visit the Victoria Memorial and the Maidan. Visit the Anglican Cathedral, Park Street Cemetery, Mother Theresa Museum, the office of Warren Hastings and St John’s Church. Welcome dinner.
  • Day 3: Kolkata (Wed, 2 Mar)
    Visit the flower market and Kumatali, the pottery village. See Bazar Rajabarim Tagore House and museum, the Marble Palace, and the double courtyarded palace on both sides of the road of Raja Nabakrishna Deb in Shobabazar. Continue the tour of the Bengali palaces of North Calcutta and the Tipoo Sultan Mosque, or at leisure at the hotel and pool. Dinner at Zaranj.
  • Day 4: Kolkata / Farakka / Cruising (Thur, 3 Mar)
    Morning at leisure. Transfer to Kolkata train station for a scenic four hour train journey to Farakka. Transfer to the river and board the ABN Rajmahal to commence your cruise on the Hooghly.
  • Day 5: Cruising (Fri, 4 Mar)
    Disembark for full day excursion to Gaur, near the town of Malda, once one of India’s great cities with many remains of mosques, palaces and gateways. Rejoin the ship and continue down a scenic stretch of the Hooghly to a mooring at Baranagar.
  • Day 6: Cruising (Sat, 5 Mar)
    Visit the sleepy village of Baranagar and walk through fields to three elegant miniature terracotta temples. Reboard and continue on down past Azimganj, boasting some fine riverside mansions, to Murshidabad where the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. The palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects. Visit the great Katra Mosque before driving out to see the Katgola Palace, built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants in the eighteenth century. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town.
  • Day 7: Cruising (Sun, 6 Mar)
    Sail downstream a short way before disembarking to walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden. Continue downstream to the battlefield of Plassey, where Clive’s victory in 1757 changed the course of Indian history. Cruise on to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars.Evening discussion about William Dalrymple’s book, “Anarchy”.
  • Day 8: Cruising (Mon, 7 Mar)
    Visit the brassworking village of Matiari and watch traditional methods. Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the vast ISKCON temple.
  • Day 9: Cruising (Tues, 8 Mar)
    Disembark at Kalna and take cycle rickshaws to see some of Bengal’s distinctive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temples. Sail on and arrive at the outskirts of Kolkata. Land at Hooghly to visit the imposing Imambara. Sail downstream past fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura to moor at Chandernagore.
  • Day 10: Cruising (Wed, 9 Mar)
    At Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, visit the eighteenth century church and Dupleix’s house and museum. Land and take a walk through the cantonment – past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff. Cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Kolkata.
  • Day 11: Cruising / Kolkata (Thur, 10 Mar)
    Disembark and transfer to the Oberoi Grand Hotel. At leisure in the afternoon until a farewell dinner in the evening.
  • Day 12: Kolkata (Fri, 11 Mar)
    Transfer to the airport or extend at the Oberoi Grand Hotel or a palace hotel.

Tour cost

Ground only price excluding international flights and transfers: $4,855

Book now

Coronavirus Update

Updated information on our response to COVID-19.

Read more