Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the world’s longest river cruise ‘MV Ganga Vilas’ from Varanasi on Friday. This information was given in an official statement. It will cover a distance of more than 3200 km. The luxury cruise will cover a distance of more than 3,200 km across 27 river systems in 5 states of India and Bangladesh, the statement said.
The statement quoted Union Port Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as saying that MV Ganga Vilas will put India on the river cruise map of the world.
River cruise tourism will start
“The launch of the world’s longest river cruise named MV Ganga Vilas at Varanasi on January 13 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will usher in a new era of river cruise tourism for India,” Sonowal said. will grow further on the global stage as tourists will be able to experience the spiritual, educational, wellness, cultural as well as biodiversity richness of India.”
The Union Minister said, “From Kashi to Sarnath, Majuli to Mayong, Sunderbans to Kaziranga, this cruise offers an experience of a lifetime. I believe this wonderful initiative, under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi, marks the beginning of a new era in river cruise tourism in India.’
51 days cruise plan
MV Ganga Vilas Cruise is designed to showcase the best of the country to the world. Cruise planned for 51 days with visits to 50 tourist destinations including world heritage sites, national parks, river ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam Is.
The MV Ganga Vilas vessel is 62 meters long and 12 meters wide. It has three decks and 18 suites with a capacity of 36 tourists, all equipped to provide a memorable and luxurious experience to the tourists. It is equipped with pollution free mechanism and noise control technologies.
32 tourists from Switzerland will make the first trip
In the maiden voyage of MV Ganga Vilas, 32 tourists from Switzerland will enjoy the journey from Varanasi to Dibrugarh. The expected date of arrival of MV Ganga Vilas at Dibrugarh is Mar 1, 2023. The itinerary of MV Ganga Vilas has been designed to showcase the rich heritage of India with stops at places of historical, cultural and religious importance.
From the famous ‘Ganga Aarti’ at Varanasi, it will stop at Sarnath, a place of great reverence in Buddhism. It will also cover Mayong, known for its tantric crafts, and Majuli, the largest riverine island and the center of Vaishnava culture in Assam.
Will get a chance to get acquainted with Indian heritage
Yatris will also visit Bihar School of Yoga and Vikramshila University, giving them an opportunity to immerse themselves in Indian heritage rich in spirituality and knowledge. The cruise will also pass through the biodiversity-rich World Heritage Sites of the Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal Delta, home to the Royal Bengal Tigers, as well as the Kaziranga National Park, home to the one-horned rhinoceros.
Employment opportunities will be created
Highlighting the need to develop river cruise tourism in the country, Union Minister Sonowal said that the development of this sector would generate employment opportunities in the hinterland. The government is making capital expenditure to build capacity for the success of river cruise tourism in the country. He said that riverine tourism circuits would be developed and integrated with the existing tourism circuits for maximum exposure and rapid growth of this sector in the country.
MV Ganga Vilas cruise is the first cruise service of its kind. With the support of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under the Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways (MoPSW), the success of this service is likely to encourage entrepreneurs to explore river cruises in other parts of the country.
The global river cruise market has grown by 5 percent over the past few years and is expected to account for 37 percent of the cruise market by 2027. In India, 8 river cruise ships operate between Kolkata and Varanasi, while cruise movement also operates on National Waterway 2 (Brahmaputra). Tourism activities like river rafting, camping, sightseeing, kayaking etc. are conducted at many places in the country.