PM Modi flags off World’s Longest River Cruise in Varanasi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, January 13, flagged off the much awaited World’s Largest River Cruise- MV Ganga Villas and inaugurated the Tent City at Varanasi through video conferencing.
PM also inaugurated and laid foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worthmore than Rs. 1000 crores.
“In line with the Prime Minister’s endeavour to boost river cruise tourism, the huge untapped potential of river cruises will get unlocked with the launch of this service and it will herald a new age of river cruise tourism for India,” an official release stated.
MV Ganga Vilas’s starting point will be from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and will travel all the way to Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh. The whole journey is around 3,200 km and will take 51 days to complete the journey till Assam, sailing across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh.
The cruise has three decks, 18 suits on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the luxury amenities such as spa, salon, gym etc. Apart from these, the cruise has accomodation for 40 crew members and is 62 metres in length and 12 metres wide and requires a draft of 1.4 meters.
The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the journey.
“The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is curated to bring out the best of the country to be showcased to the world,” another official press release stated.
The 51 days cruise is said to visit 50 tourist spots which will include the 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.
“The journey will give the tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh,” the release stated.
According to the cruise’s Director, Raj Singh, the cost of the travelling on the cruise will cost Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 a day, hence, the total cost for the 51 day journey will cost around 20 lakh for each passenger.
The cruise is equipped with a pollution-free system and noise control technology, Singh further said.
The Director further stated that, there is also a Sewage Treatment Plant on the cruise so that no sewage is drained out to the mighty Ganges, then there is also a filtration plant which will purify the river water for bathing and other purposes.
PM Modi said with the flagging off the cruise will attract and benefit many tourist places of Eastern India.
“With this cruise, many places of Eastern India will now figure in World tourism map,” PM added.
PM Modi addresses the international passengers on board river cruise that, “India has everything you can imagine. It also has lot beyond your imagination, India can’t be defined in words. India can only be experienced from the heart because India has opened her heart for everyone.”
"The journey will give the foreign tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh," Union Minister for Port Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal told news agency ANI.
The booking for the cruise can be done from the official website of Antara Luxury River Cruises. Currently, the bookings cannot be done as the current voyage has already begun. The next one is likely to open in September.