Today is a proud day for Indian tourism it taps into the potential of Indian river cruise tourism. The MV Ganga Vilas Cruise ship has been inaugurated today at Varanasi by The Prime Minister of the country. The ship’s route traverses through 27 different river systems with 50 tourist spots including the World Heritage Sights, National Parks, river Ghats, and major cities like Patna, Sahibganj, Kolkata, Bangladesh's capital Dhaka and Guwahati, covering a distance of 3,200 km between Varanasi in UP to Dibrugarh in Assam through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route.
The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is curated to bring out the best of the country to be unveiled to the world. The MV Ganga Vilas vessel is 62 meters in length, 12 meters in width, and comfortably sails with a draft of 1.4 meters. It has three decks, and 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the conveniences to provide a memorable and luxurious experience for the tourists. The ship abides by sustainable principles as it is equipped with pollution-free mechanisms and noise control technologies. On the maiden voyage of MV Ganga Vilas 32 tourists from Switzerland will be onboard, enjoying the Varanasi to Dibrugarh journey. The expected date of arrival of the ship in Dibrugarh is on 1st March 2023.
The itinerary of MV Ganga Vilas has been curated in such a way that it showcases the rich heritage of India with stopovers at sites of historical, cultural, and religious importance. From the famous ‘Ganga Arti’ in Varanasi to Sarnath, a reverential site for followers of Buddhism, the cruise’s route portrays the secular nature of our country. It will also cover Mayong, known for its Tantric craft, and Majuli, the largest river island and hub of Vaishnavite culture in Assam. The travelers onboard will also visit the Bihar School of Yoga and Vikramshila University, providing them with the opportunity to experience Indian spirituality and knowledge. The cruise will also travel through the biodiversity-rich World Heritage Sites of Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta, famous for its mangrove forests and Royal Bengal Tigers. The ship’s route also covers Kaziranga National Park, famous for its one-horned rhino.
The world’s largest river cruise puts India on the map in terms of river tourism. Expansion of the river tourism industry will also generate employment opportunities in the hinterland. The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is a first-of-its-kind cruise service in India. With support from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under the Ministry of Shipping, Ports, and Waterways (MoPSW), the success of this service will inspire entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in river cruise tourism in other parts of the country.