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Posted 03/08/2022 in Discount Offer by Deanne Scanlan

Enticing India Adventures - The Artisans of Bengal

Expires 31/12/2022
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Enticing India Adventures - The Artisans of Bengal

Experience the Artisans of Bengal with Antara Cruises 
and Enticing India Adventures

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Artisans of Bengal, Antara Cruises, Deanne Scanlan Travel and Enticing India Adventures

The Artisans of Bengal Cruise

7 nights / 8 days Cruise

Kolkata – Bandel – Kalna – Mayapur – Guptipara – Fulia – Chandernagore – Kolkata

Departure: 02 – 09 March 2023 (Holi Festival)

Day 1 / Thursday, 2nd March 2023

Kolkata Embarkation (L/D)

Arrive Kolkata in the morning and transfer to the jetty to embark the ship. Lunch onboard.

Visit the Weaver’s Studio, a Textile Study and Resource Centre for an introduction to some of the fabulous fabrics and weaves we will encounter on our travels. Weavers Studio’s creations are inspired by historical textiles, Indian trade cloths, seasons, ethnic tribes, across the border cultures and contemporary techniques. Their collection comprises of specialised fabrics, stoles, scarves, shawls, patch scrolls, art textiles, sarees and garments.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 2 / Friday, 3rd March 2023

Kolkata – Bally Bridge (B/L/D)

This morning after breakfast, embark on a Panoramic Tour of Kolkata, featuring a view of the well preserved British colonial buildings in Kolkata: Writer's Building, General Post Office, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), Town Hall, Council House, Treasury Building, Reserve Bank of India and Dalhousie Square. We proceed to visit St. John's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Kolkata, built in 1756. The tour features the oldest functioning pipe organ in India, a painting of the Last Supper by German artist, Johann Zoffany, and several tombs of British Generals who died during the Siege of Kolkata by Nawab Shriaj Ud Daula in 1756. Then we visit the grand Victoria Memorial Museum, which houses the largest collection of British colonial historical artefacts.

Return to the ship for lunch and start sail upstream passing below the cantilevered Howrah Bridge and seeing various colonial buildings along the Ganges River. We moor for the night on the outskirts of Kolkata city near the Bally Bridge.

Overnight on onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 3 / Saturday, 4th March 2023

Bally Bridge – Bandel (B/L/D)

This morning we set sail upstream to Bandel, meaning port in Bengali was founded by Portuguese settlers who built the Church and a Monastery around 1660.

We visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centres in West Bengal, built in 1841 by Haji Mohammad Mahasin. The two-story building and surrounding rooms provide housing for pilgrims as well as classrooms, or Madrasa that teach the Koran. The structure contains a Victorian-era clock with a winding key weighing 20kg. Large Persian chandeliers and lamps light the Imambara's stunning hallways and passages.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 4 / Sunday, 5th March 2023

Bandel – Kalna (B/L/D)

Today we sail further upstream to the temple town of Kalna. Ride rickshaws to the enchanting Rajbari Temple Complex, which has the highest concentration of temples in the region. Visit the Nabakailas Temple, built in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja, which contains 108 eight slope-roofed shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other temples in the complex feature diverse architecture and terra cotta plaques depict themes of Hindu epics, mythical life of Sree Chaitanya, images of Durga, and various aspects of day-to-day life in the region.

We also visit a local Weaver’s home to see the traditional Weaving of Muslin Cloth. Muslin or “malmal” is a cotton fabric of plain weave made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. Early muslin was handwoven of uncommonly delicate handspun yarn. Return to the ship walking through the local market.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 5 / Monday, 6th March 2023

Kalna – Nabadwip – Mayapur (B/L/D)

Early morning, we sail towards Nabadwip, arriving by the afternoon. Literally meaning New (Nab) Island (Dwip), it is the birthplace and abode of Saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Hindu Vaishnav religion and a great social reformer. Once the capital of the Sena Dynasty under King Lakshman Sena who ruled during the 12th century, the town was an important centre of education, religion and culture. Post lunch we will explore the riverbank village by walk to see the local people engaged in Handloom Weaving of Cotton fabric, mainly saris and stole/scarves and other activities.

Ride the country boat across the river to visit Mayapur, the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Guests can experience the fascinating culture of these followers and their ornate, colourful decorated statues of Krishna. The new temple built to commemorate the Jubilee year of ISKCON in 2016 and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great grandson of car-maker Henry Ford, can be compared to the Vatican. It also contains a 75- foot domed planetarium. Meet Krishna followers and walk through the pilgrim’s bazaar.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 6 / Tuesday, 7th March 2023

Mayapur – Guptipara – Fulia (B/L/D)

Festival of Dol-Jatra, Bengali Holi:

This morning a short sail brings us to Guptipara, a rural town, renowned for its paddy fields and the Himsagar mango. Explore the town visiting the Vaishnav temples that contain some fantastic terracotta works. All the structures bear characteristics of the Bengal school of architecture, with carvings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics. The Ratha-Yatra (Chariot Festival) is Guptipara’s greatest festival and the temple chariot is one of the tallest and oldest in West Bengal. Visit a Potter’s home (potter may not be working due to Holi festival) to see and interact with the artisans creating various clay items.

In the afternoon, we sail across to the opposite riverbank and visit the weaving village of Fulia (weavers may not be working due to Holi festival). After the partition of India and the division of Bengal into West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), many skilled weavers from Bangladesh, came and settled here and the region become a renowned centre for hand-woven fabrics. With government encouragement and support, the talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished. Fulia specializes in a combination of Jacquard and Jamdani Saree Weaving. Jamdani is typically handloom woven fabric using a mixture of cotton and gold thread. It is one of the most time and labour-intensive forms of handloom weaving, and the most artistic textile rich in motifs.

Dol-Jatra is based on the legend of Krishna and Radha in which Lord Krishna expressed his love to his beloved Radha on this full moon day (Purnima). Like Holi, coloured powder is a key part of festivities, and is known as phag in Bengali. The application of phag starts with a degree of reverence as the powder is applied to pictures of deceased family members, then on the feet of elders as a mark of respect. From then on, it is open season, with everyone up for being given a 'mark of respect' - basically to get covered in colour. The festival is also known as the 'Swing Festival' as idols of both Krishna and Radha are paraded on highly decorated palanquins (a type

of open sedan chair), which are swung around. Women will sing songs while the men spray coloured powder at the idols. Dol-Jatra also has an added significance for Bengalis, as it marks the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a great 16th century Vaishnava saint and poet, regarded by some as an incarnation of Krishna.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 7 / Wednesday, 8th March 2023

Fulia – Chandernagore – Kolkata (B/L/D)

Festival of Holi

This morning we sail further downstream to Chandernagore, which was established as a French colony in 1673. The French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal to establish a trading post on the riverbanks of this city, which became a permanent French settlement.

We will celebrate Holi festival when we reach Chandernagore. You will be invited on the Sun Deck and celebrate this festival by playing with colors and with music and dancing. So, do not miss a chance to make it an unforgettable memory of your life.

Explore the French colonial buildings walking along the promenade, including the former French governor's residence, now converted to a museum (No inside visit as will be closed due to Holi festival) that features an exhibition of items that depict life during this period. Also visit the Sacred Heart Church, designed by French Architect Jacques Duchatz. The church was inaugurated in 1884 and stands for over two centuries to mark the beauty of the architecture during the French period.

Return to the ship and continue our journey back to Kolkata en route we halt to visit the Serampore College (visit from outside as will be closed due to Holi), the oldest university in India to be in continuous operation. It was founded in 1818 by the English missionaries known as the Serampore Trio whose aim was to give an education in arts and sciences to students of every "caste, colour or country" and to train people for ministry in the growing church in India. Also visit the St. Olav’s Church, locally known as the Danish Church, it was one of the 100 buildings that were constructed by the Danish Management between 1755 and 1845. The church is not particularly Scandinavian, but reflects the designs of contemporary churches in British India, in particular those in Calcutta, which were inspired by contemporaneous designs popular in Britain, such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

Continue sail to Kolkata and moor for the night.

Evening farewell dinner.

Overnight onboard Bengal Ganga.

Day 8 / Thursday, 9th March 2023

Kolkata Disembarkation (B)

Following breakfast guests will disembark the vessel and transfer to the Kolkata Airport.

Important Note:

The itinerary maybe readjusted due to local conditions and days of the week, in order to avoid closure of monuments/museums. Last minute sailing adjustments may also occur. The schedule may shift due to the weather or to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. The exact time for each activity will be announced or posted by the onboard tour staff. The letters in parentheses denote the meals provided that day: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner.

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