World’s longest cruise’ Ganga Vilas set to sail tomorrow
The inaugural journey will have 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the cruising voyage.
Traversing the Varanasi ghats and sailing through the World Heritage sites, ruins of lost empires, national Parks, artisanal villages and cities and much more on route connecting the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, the world's longest cruise MV Ganga Vilas is all set to sail tomorrow.
The MV Ganga Vilas that has already reached Varanasi and docked at Ramnagar port, has been making waves even before the cruise begins to sail on the longest river route from tomorrow. Being launched in line with the vision to boost river cruise tourism, Ganga Vilas will unlock the huge untapped potential of river cruising in India and will herald a new age of river cruise tourism for India
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off the cruise on January 13, it will begin its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and travel around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, sailing across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh and covering visits to 50 tourist spots.
The voyage will give the tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential journey and indulge in the art, culture, history and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
The itinerary of MV Ganga Vilas has been curated in a way that showcases the rich heritage of India with stopovers planned at places with utmost historical, cultural and religious importance. According to the officials, the journey will start after witnessing 'Ganga Arti' and visit to Sarnath, which is a place of great worship for Buddhism.
The cruise will also be covering Mayong, a village considered the cradle of Tantra Kriya (black magic) and Majuli, cultural capital of Assam and largest river island in the world. Besides, the Ganga Vilas will stop at Dhubri, Goalpara (Jogighopa), Guwahati (Pandu), Pobitora, Tezpur, Silghat, Nemati Ghat before anchoring at Dibrugarh (Bogibeel) in the state.
“Ganga Vilas is a unique opportunity to connect with our cultural roots and discover beautiful aspects of India’s diversity,” Prime Minister Modi said while responding to a tweet by Union Minister, Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal yesterday.
“Ganga Vilas will open up a new vista for tourism in the country. As the cruise will spend more than ten days in Assam, the foreign tourists will be able to explore and experience a new horizon of socio-cultural hue along the river coast. From Dhubri to Dibrugarh and from Mayong to Majuli, this cruise has curated an interesting journey where the natural beauty of Assam will be relished,” added Sonowal while sharing his views on its scheduled launch.
Shipping and waterways minister Sonowal added that the success of Ganga Vilas has also opened a new avenue of investment in river cruise tourism in Assam. “We hope that its multiplier impact on the economy of the state will be manifold.”
G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture said that this launch sends out a perfect example of multi-ministry synergy and the government’s approach towards boosting cruise tourism in India.
With the underlying task of cleaning the Ganga coming under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, the policy for cruise tourism being formulated by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Ministry of Tourism provides the support in creating attractive tourism products and experiences and marketing the destination, this project is bound to succeed, said Reddy.
MV Ganga Vilas is a luxury river cruise vessel designed and curated by Antara Luxury River Cruises and features 18 suites, other associated facilities and a capacity to accommodate 36 tourists. Those willing to sail on the World’s longest river cruise can book their tickets on Antara Luxury River Cruises website.
Tent City at Varanasi to cater to increased tourist influx, boost tourism to Kashi Vishwanath
Followed by MV Ganga Vilas flag off, PM Modi will also inaugurate Tent City at Varanasi at 10.30 AM via video conferencing.
The Tent city has been built to cater to the increased tourists influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. Ever since the Kashi Vishwanath corridor has opened for visits, the numbers have jumped to manifolds, recording over 1 crore visitors in the month of Shravan, leading to the dearth of accommodation options.
To cater to this increased demand for accommodation and to tap the potential of tourism in the region, The Tent city has been conceptualised on the banks of River Ganga and developed opposite to city ghats.
It has been developed by Varanasi Development Authority in PPP mode. The tourists will reach the Tent City by boats from different Ghats situated in the vicinity. The tent city will be operational from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to rise in river water level.