It’s fast becoming a popular destination for Australian cruisers – India’s Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers are attracting a slew of holiday-makers looking for an immersive cultural experience.

Pandaw last week announced it would be launching two new expedition itineraries next year, while Avalon Waterways also revealed it would be placing ships in India in 2019. Cruise Traveller also sails the Brahmaputra, starting in Jorhat and disembarking south at Guwahati.

Pandaw’s Upper Ganges cruise from Kolkata to Varanasi is a 1,000 mile-journey, spanning over 14-nights and will be aboard the Katha Pandaw which is currently sailing in Myanmar and previously in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Indian river cruises
Varanasi which is said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet.

The cruise starts in late 2019 and includes a visit to Varanasi which is said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet.

It is the most sacred city of Hinduism and a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats.

Between the city and Kolkata lies several of the most important Buddhist sites including Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya which guests will visit. You’ll see great pilgrim sites, expanses of river teeming with bird life as well as the Gangeatic dolphin.

While on the Ganges, Pandaw is moving the much-love Indochine Pandaw to the Brahmaputra River.

The line offers a unique experience where they take guests into the parks in search of wildlife by small boat, jeep as well as on elephant-back. Highlights are sightings of the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, tigers as well as visits to tea plantations, local villages and more.

Avalon’s expansion into India starts in 2019 and includes a 13-day India itinerary which starts in Delhi and also visits Agra. Passengers then fly to Kolkata where they board the ship and travel north on the Houghly, tributary of Ganges. The river portion visits cities like Kalna, Matiari, Murshidabad and Mayapur. The cruise is aboard the Ganges Voyager.

Cruise Traveller’s seven-night journey aboard the M.V Mahabaahu is a cultural itinerary where guests visit ancient cities like Sibsagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms, shore excursions to visit Vaishnavite priests as well as wildlife tours to spot turtles, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, darters, serpent eagles and more.