Arrive at New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to your hotel, the beautiful Oberoi New Delhi Hotel. Its sophisticated comfort will offer you the perfect launching pad for your exploration of the city.
India’s sprawling capital city is colorful, confounding and completely captivating, an exhilarating mixture of ancient and modern, sacred and secular. Your perfectly paced, expertly-led city tour provides a soft landing, an ideal first foray into this fascinating land.
The capital of modern India, New Delhi is not one city but many. Sprawling, home to 17 million people, inhabited for at least 2,500 years, New Delhi has been built and destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and all of its conquerors have left traces. Your panoramic tour today will show you some of its most remarkable landmarks.
New Delhi, Transfer to Agra
To gaze upon the Taj Mahal is a moment at the top of countless travel bucket lists, as well it should be. Widely considered one of the most beautiful monuments ever created, this “elegy in marble” is guaranteed not to disappoint—especially when viewed at the magical hour of sunset, as you are fortunate enough to see it today.
This morning you will check out of your New Delhi hotel and head south via motorcoach to Agra. Once known as Akbarabad, Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire for 100 years, until Shah Jahan moved the government back to Delhi—but Agra was the site of his best-known building project, the exquisite Taj Mahal, which draws visitors from all over the world.
Agra, Transfer to Jaipur
Is the Taj Mahal best seen at sunset or sunrise? It’s an impossible question to answer, so Uniworld guests have the rare pleasure of experiencing both. Wake up early this morning for a second visit to this unforgettable site, so you can see the white marble monument aglow with the rosy tinge of dawn.
Pink is the color of hospitality in Rajasthan, which gives you an idea of what to expect in the “Pink City” of Jaipur. You’ll see some marvelous things here, including the City Palace complex and Jantar Mantar, an ancient observatory still used by local astrologers to determine the position of the stars. What do the stars reveal about your destiny? You can find out today.
Jaipur, Fly to Kolkata (Embark)
Settle into your beautifully appointed suite aboard the Ganges Voyager II in Kolkata (a city formerly known as Calcutta), the gateway to your journey along the world’s holiest river.
You leave Jaipur early today and fly to Kolkata, India’s second-largest city, the longtime capital of the British Raj, and the city many Indians consider their nation’s intellectual capital. Like Jaipur, it is young compared to the millennia-long history of the subcontinent; it was founded by the East India Company late in the 17th century. You’ll board the Ganges Voyager II, your supremely comfortable traveling hotel for the next seven nights, and settle into your suite. Enjoy dinner and a cultural performance will cap your day.
The city of Kolkota is virtually synonymous with the enduring legacies of Mother Teresa— recently canonized as a Catholic saint—and the colonial-era British Raj, both of which you will get better acquainted with today.
As incredible as it sounds, India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions (including Buddhism and Hinduism), and Kalna—India’s “Temple City”—has some of the most magnificent examples of Hindu temples on the entire subcontinent.
Kalna, once an important trade port on the river, is best known today for the magnificent Hindu temples built by the maharajas of Bardhaman in the late 18th and 19th centuries. They are your destination today.
Your ship serves as a time machine today, transporting you hundreds of years into the past, as we travel to an artisan village where craftsmen use materials and techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries.
Matiari, a West Bengal village nestled above the banks of the river and surrounded by farms, is also home to a thriving metal-working tradition that you will see in action today.
Curiosities abound in India, and that includes the country’s eclectic architectural styles. But a palace with a thousand doors? Such a thing does indeed exist, as you’ll see for yourself today, along with some famous terra-cotta carvings, the ruins of a mosque and yet another cultural curiosity—the game of cricket, India’s beloved (and rather complex) national sport.
Today’s adventures take you to a duo of Bengali towns - Murshidabad and Baranagar - each one boasting surprising and beautiful architectural monuments closely linked to the ruling families of the area.
Few places of worship exist on such a head-spinning scale as what you will witness today in Mayapur, the center of the international Hare Krishna movement and home to the new Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, still under construction.
Today the ship heads back toward Kolkata, cruising past lush fields of rice, sugarcane, tomatoes and eggplant, among many other crops, but your river adventure is not over. You still have some fascinating locations to visit; they lie on the opposite bank of the river from your upstream ports of call. Your stop is in Mayapur, sometimes called the spiritual capital of the world.
Bandel, Chandannagar, Kolkata
Most students of history know a thing or two about the British colonial powers in India, but few are aware that the French had colonies here, too—including one that existed as late as the 1950s. You’ll visit this former French outpost today, as well as a famous Shia pilgrimage center.
You’ll continue to cruise toward Kolkata today, stopping en route in Bandel and Chandannagar, a little piece of France that survived in India for a couple hundred years.
Your incredible Indian adventure ends early this morning, as you disembark and transfer to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport for your flight home—or extend your journey with an optional extension in Varanasi.