On January 13, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially start what is reportedly the world’s longest river cruise, a journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh. The luxury boat will take 50 days to travel 4,000 kilometers through 27 river systems in India, including the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly, Brahmaputra, and West Coast Canal.
Modi encouraged the people of West Bengal to take advantage of the unique trip which will showcase the growing cruise industry in India during a video conference where he launched various projects for the region.
During the 50-day journey, the cruise will visit 50 significant tourist destinations, including historical monuments, the iconic Varanasi Ganga Aarti ceremony, and protected areas such as Kaziranga National Park and the Sundarbans Delta. The cruise will also travel over 1,100 kilometers through Bangladesh. A senior official from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the organization responsible for National Waterways (NWs), stated that the cruise, operated by a private company, will become a regular occurrence.
Officials have noted that the planning of the cruise service was heavily influenced by the growth of the India-Bangladesh Protocol route. According to an official from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), quoted by the Times of India, visitors taking river cruises will gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history and heritage, as our civilization developed along rivers.
The Prime Minister stated that the government has a goal of establishing 100 national waterways and operating world-class cruises on these rivers in addition to facilitating cargo flow. He added that the cruise’s inaugural journey would depart on January 13.