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A Touch Of Luxury – India & The Ganges River Cruise & Tour from Uniworld

A Touch Of Luxury – India & The Ganges River Cruise & Tour from Uniworld

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ unique India & Ganges river cruise and tour trip is an incredible adventure. We sent one of our top cruise and travel specialists, Sam Charij, to experience a condensed 7-night version of the trip.

The luxury Indian exploration is described as a deep delve into India’s fascinating and religious heritage. Experience the enchanting sights of the “Golden Triangle”—Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. Highlights include Delhi’s majestic red sandstone marble tomb and the stirring Raj Ghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, Jaipur’s enchanting Pink City, and Agra’s mesmerising Taj Mahal.

The 12-night journey includes five luxurious nights at three prestigious Oberoi hotels, plus two opportunities to witness the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset. Then, there’s a river journey to explore the rare and serene villages along the Ganges River, complemented by an onboard Wellness Program focused on the ancient practice of yoga.

Below, Sam takes us through her itinerary and experiences on her luxury India & Ganges trip with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises:

India Golden Triangle & The Sacred Ganges – Uniworld River Cruise & Tour

Day 1  – Kolkata & embarkation

After arriving at Kolkata airport, where we were greeted by our Uniworld Boutique River Cruises representatives, we boarded our coach to take us to our luxury river ship, the Ganges Voyager II.

We were greeted by drummers and flower petals being thrown from above at the entrance of the ship. We also had a flower garland placed over our heads and a yellow mark place on our forehead – quite the greeting and warm welcome!

Once onboard we were shown to our rooms, and I can only describe this as a true WOW moment. The Colonial Suite (I had suite 315) was beautifully decorated in red and gold with pictures painted on the walls. There’s a full floor-to-ceiling window that opens up to a French style balcony. Plus, a large bathroom with a huge shower… this will definitely be well used as the heat is rather extreme outside. Good job the air conditioning works a treat!
We had a relaxing afternoon so that we could settle from the flight and travel, and get familiar with the ship.
The welcome dinner was absolutely fantastic!

Day 2  – Kalna

Today we were up early for a 6:45am excursion to Kalna. There is so much history and culture here, it’s hard to explain how special it feels being so close  to these sacred places. 

A fun and exhilarating start to the day… India’s electric rickshaws! Passing cows, dogs and goats – that roam freely – we journeyed to the stunning Rajbari Temple Complex, site of the terracotta temples. The drivers go around the sleeping animals who barely blink an eye!

We learnt about the Pancharatna Temple. Raised on a low platform these atchala brick- built temples of varying sizes in a town are popularly known as Pancharatna temple, which were built in the 10th century AD. Our guide talked about all the different gods they have and in particular Krishna.

We then were taken, again by rickshaw, to the fish and vegetable market. A fabulous bustling vibrant market that was not for those with a weak stomach. This is where the locals are busy buying their daily food.

Believe it or not… it was then time to return to the ship for breakfast (and a cool down!).  

We had a cooking demonstration by the head chef on board. He made the most amazing curry I have ever eaten! It definitely inspired me to do a cooking class to understand more about the marriage of flavours.  

This afternoon we took a boat over to Chandernagore, a French colonial town. We saw monkeys and lots of local life, and we visited museums along the way. It was a very strange feeling being asked to join the locals in a selfie photo.

Day 3 – Kumartuli & Mother Teresa’s home

This morning was another very early start (due to the extreme heat).  

We took a small boat across the river to a landing spot – not the normal place that Uniworld use.

This was where the locals were going about their daily business washing in the Ganges – a humbling experience to be sure.
We moved on to the flower market where the scent of the flowers was incredible. The flowers are used in offerings to the Gods, and for weddings and welcome gifts.

We then visited Kumartuli, a traditional potters quarter where we saw them making the clay idols for various festivals. The clay they use is taken from the floor of the Ganges river.

We also made a visit to the children’s rescue centre. Here a small selection of the poorest  children are taken to be educated and looked after, in order to have a better life. There is a board showing the achievements of past students and what jobs they now do. It’s really inspiring. The children here are so welcoming and well mannered, standing and wishing us a good morning as we entered.  After this we went to Mother Teresa’s home and final resting place. This was a very interesting and  humbling experience.  

This evening we were treated to a fantastic cultural dance performance.  

Day 4 – Jaipur

Today we flew to Jaipur and transferred to the Oberoi Rajvilas.  

Jaipur has a very different feel… the buildings are a little better kept and are a little more opulent than in Kolkata.  

The hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels and is the epitome of luxury. The room has a four poster bed and a sunken bath looking out to our own little garden. The grounds are beautiful and is home to around 150 peacocks who roam freely in and around the gardens. I could definitely, easily, spend a week here…

This afternoon we had the opportunity to check the swimming pool’s temperature, which I have to say was very pleasant. After a quick dip we went to get henna decorations, and I chose to have it on my ankle.  

This evening we had a fantastic meal and a semi-early night. 

Day 5 – Amber Fort & Rajasthan 

Today we visited the Amber Fort and the beautiful Pink City, located in Amer, Rajasthan. The architecture is beautiful, and with cobbled paths and its series of gates, it’s a fantastic spot for wedding photos. The Fort overlooks the Moato Lake, the main source of water for the Amber Palace.

We then went to the observatory Jantar Mantar, where we saw the world’s largest stone sundial, and the instruments that allow us to see the astronomical positions with the naked eye. Lunch was a fine affair at the City Palace complex, and we passed the Hawa Mahal – the iconic landmark that looks like honeycomb.  

This afternoon we headed out to the bazaar. Wow, what an experience! Hawkers come out of their shops to entice you in, to buy their wares. Once you get the hang of haggling it’s great fun, although a little daunting at first. I definitely needed the help from my group as they were very good at this!  

Day 6 – The Taj Mahal 

Today is the day we get to see the majestic Taj Mahal.  

We departed early for our air conditioned coach transfer to Agra, and our luxury hotel. Stopping en route at Bharatpur-Brij Nagar for a coffee break, we were greeted by a musical montage with  accompanying dancers, all dressed in traditional costumes to show us the way.

Resuming our journey to the gorgeous Oberoi Amarvilas, and passing the Agra Cantt Township along the way. Here we saw the beautiful murals on the wall both sides of the road and noticed how the area became more cosmopolitan. 

As expected for a hotel of its caliber, we were greeted with flower garlands, cold flannel  and a refreshing drink. The one thing that struck me about the Oberoi Amarvilas was that every window you look out of you have a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal.  

After a fabulous lunch (the pounds are definitely piling on as all the food is incredible!) we headed to our rooms and boy! Was it ever fabulous!!! The room was incredibly spacious and beautifully decorated. Our view was over the gardens, and beyond that was the magnificent Taj Mahal. We had just enough time to check the pools temperature before a quick glam up for our sunset visit to the Taj Mahal. 

This Is How You Taj Mahal!

We took the golf buggy to the entrance where we went through security and out to the entrance gate – no queues for us, in true Uniworld VIP style! Walking through the East Gate is the most iconic way to first lay eyes on the Taj Mahal. WOW! Words can’t adequately describe the feeling when you first lay eyes on this magnificent place. Truly a once in a lifetime experience. I sat on the famous Princess Diana bench for a photo while trying to take it all in. It was a proper “pinch me” moment.

The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site constructed in 1648. It made from white marble inlaid with semi precious stones, red sandstone was used for other buildings in the complex. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of Mumtaz. She was Shah Jahan’s third, and favourite, wife and their love story is legendary. The Taj changes its colour three times a day, being seen depending on the light and time. The Taj Mahal looks pink in the morning, milky white in the evening, and golden in the moonlight. 

This evening we had an al fresco meal with music and a little dancing.

Day 7 – Sunrise at the Taj Mahal & Off To Delhi

Today we had an early start 4:30am. Why? For a very special experience…
We took the coach to the other side of the river at dawn, where we had a spot in front of the Taj Mahal all to ourselves. We watched the sun rise and experienced a completely different view of the Taj Mahal. Definitely worth the early morning start!

There was chance to catch a quick nap, after breakfast, on the coach to Delhi.


The Oberoi New Delhi hotel is in the heart of the city and has a totally different feel to it. The room (as now expected!) was fabulous. There was even an interactive screen in the mirror in the bathroom, as well as an iPad that controls everything from lights to curtains etc.  

Exploring Delhi

After lunch, we explored Humayun’s Tomb, a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The intricate designs and historical significance left us in awe.  

We then had a brief visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s sacred crematorium grounds. This was so special, and the history is amazing. 

I was then whisked away to the very busy and hectic centre of Delhi in a rickshaw, and it was brilliant, scary and so much fun all at the same time! Basically, I was pulled along by a lovely driver on his bike (poor man!) through the bustling streets with many shops, people and markets. It wasn’t for the faint hearted as we merged with cars and motorbikes on the main roads… an experience I’m glad to take away with me. 

After a lovely meal in the Oberoi New Delhi, we all enjoyed (another) cocktail on Delhi’s only rooftop terrace bar, soaking in the breathtaking views.  

The Oberoi hotels are India’s highest quality hotels and, sincerely, they are gorgeous. Each one has a unique style that compliments the area of India you’re in. 

It’s time to say goodbye to this magnificent place, but I will never forget this incredible experience. 

If you would like to experience Uniworld’s 12-night India’s Golden Triangle & The Sacred Ganges trip for yourself, please call our luxury cruise specialists on 0800 810 8481. Or, see more details of the full itinerary here, and enquire online.

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