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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

Sunrise over River Ganges, Varanasi, India

India – Ganges River Cruise with William Dalrymple

Departure dateDuration
Prices Start from
Tour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
14/02/2111 Days £4,995 ex. flightsWilliam Dalrymple52 AVAILABLE Reserve your place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

William Dalrymple 1

William Dalrymple

Travel in the company of acclaimed author and historian, William Dalrymple.

Signature Suite, Ganges Voyager, India 2

Private boat charter

Travel aboard the exclusively chartered, high-end river cruiser, Ganges Voyager I.

Sadhu Praying at the Ghats, Varanasi, India 3

A unique perspective

Reach fascinating parts of Bengal inaccessible by road, as featured in William Dalrymple’s latest book, The Anarchy.

Hazarduari Palace Museum, Murshidabad, West Bengal, India 4

Discover Murshidabad

Reach Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem with dramatic colonial-era structures.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Arrive Kolkata
  • Day 2
    Embarkation in Kolkata - Kalna
  • Day 3
    Kalna to Matiari
  • Day 4
    Matiari to Murshidabad
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
    Murshidabad to Cossimbazar
  • Day 7
    Cossimbazar to Mayapur
  • Day 8
    Mayapur to Chandernagore
  • Day 9
    Chandernagore to Serampore, Barrackpore and Kolkata
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
    Disembarkation in Kolkata
Temple, Kolkata, India, Exotic Heritage
Kolkata, India
Church, Kolkata, India, Exotic Heritage
Kolkata, India
Rajmahal under the bridge, Calcutta, India
ABN Rajmahal, Kolkata, India
Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, India
Kolkata, India
Oberoi Grand, Calcutta, Kolkata, India
Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, India


The journey begins in Kolkata, considered by many to be the country’s cultural hub. The former capital of the Raj, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) still retains much of its dramatic colonial architecture. Its legacy lives on in the imperious Victoria Memorial in the heart of the city, today home to an impressive collection of British colonial historical artefacts, and the churches of St John and St Andrew.

At the end of the cruise, you will explore this fascinating city; stroll through the early morning flower market, pass the bookshops on College Street, watch the world come to life in the institutional coffee shops, sample Bengali cuisine and explore some of the colonial monuments.

Kalna Temple Complex, India, Exotic Heritage
Kalna , India
Temples, Kalna, India, Exotic Heritage
Kalna , India
Temples, Kalna, India, Exotic Heritage
Kalna , India


The town of Kalna has the most extraordinary concentration of temples in the region. The Rajbari Temple Complex includes a diverse mix of temple architecture. Built-in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja, the complex contains 108 slope-roofed temples, 74 in an outer circle and another 34 in the inner circle. Terracotta plaques depict themes of Hindu epics, the mythical lives of saints, gods and goddesses and various aspects of day to day life in the region. It’s a remarkable site to visit.


The cruise sails past the battlefields of Plassey, where the British East India Company, under the leadership of Robert Clive, had a decisive victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies in June 1757. The battle helped the Company seize control of Bengal. Over the next hundred years, they seized control of the entire Indian subcontinent and Myanmar.

Hazarduari Palace Museum, Murshidabad, West Bengal, India
Hazarduari Palace Museum, Murshidabad, West Bengal, India, Murshidabad, India
Katra Mosque, Murshidabad, India
Murshidabad, India
Archway, Murshidabad, India, Exotic Heritage
Murshidabad, India


The ship continues along the Lower Ganges, twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards to arrive at Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem with dramatic whitewashed colonial-era structures.

During your visit to Murshidabad, visit the Katra mosque. Built by the first Nawab of  Murshidabad – Murshid Quli Khan in 1724-25, this mosque has distinctive minarets from which the muezzin calls the faithful to Friday prayers. Continue to the Hazarduari Palace which dominates the waterfront, built during the reign of Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah (1824-1838
AD) by an English architect, Duncan McLeod, in the Greek “Doric” style. The palace has
more than a thousand real and false doors in the vast corridors and is filled with colonial-era antiques, artwork and manuscripts.

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Light Activity
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.


To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf and the above is an indication of the cost, based on return flights departing from London. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by William Dalrymple for five days
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in Kolkata for one night
  • Shared group transfer on arrival - airport to hotel
  • Two shared group transfers by deluxe AC coach - hotel to port and port to airport
  • Welcome meal on first night in Kolkata
  • Accommodation aboard the Ganges Voyager
  • Full board meals on the boat include mineral water, tea/coffee
  • Services of three English speaking guides (one per 15-20 passengers) for shore excursions during cruise
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, porters, crew
  • All shore excursions during cruise
  • £25 to help fund the communities, conservation agencies and NGOs that we work with
  • £25 contribution to ‘Trees and Science’ in mitigation of your carbon emissions
  • 24-hour assistance while travelling
  • Wi-Fi access while on board the boat

What is excluded

  • International flights
  • Drinks on board (other than mineral water, tea and coffee)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa Fees


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Ganges Voyager £££££

  • India

Gain an in-depth perspective of one of the most culturally significant parts of India onboard the Ganges Voyager. This all-suite boat has just 28 cabins offering spacious, high-ceilinged suites, with beautiful hand-painted murals, inspired by the grace and elegance of the British Colonial period.

View Boat

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Like-minded travellers

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people; interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours, usually consisting of eight to ten travellers, aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

4.Peace of mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

3.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 01285 601 784

Departure dateDuration
Prices Start from
Tour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
14/02/2111 Days £4,995 ex. flightsWilliam Dalrymple52 AVAILABLE Reserve your place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

Why Steppes

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