PM Modi flags off ‘world’s longest river cruise’ Ganga Vilas from Varanasi

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The Ganga river cruise was set off Friday from Varanasi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 51-day journey billed as the longest river cruise in the world is scheduled to arrive in Assam’s Dibrugarh on March 1.

“The start of the Ganga River Cruise Service, the longest river cruise service in the world, is a historic occasion.” In his virtual video conference to officially launch the cruise, Prime Minister Modi declared that it would usher in a new era of tourism in India. He continued by saying that the boat service would increase tourism and open up new job prospects.

The cruise ship, MV Ganga Vilas, will depart from Varanasi and travel 3,200 kilometres over 51 days, passing through 27 river systems and a number of states before arriving at Dibrugarh. The itinerary includes stops at 50 popular tourist destinations, including World Heritage sites, national parks, river ghats, and important towns like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Guwahati in Assam.

It will stop briefly to cover the well-known Varanasi Ganga Arti, Sarnath, a Buddhist pilgrimage site, and even Majuli, the largest river island in Assam. Additionally, the tourists will go to Vikramshila University and the Bihar School of Yoga. Along with the Kaziranga National Park, the voyage will pass via the Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta.

With a capacity for 36 passengers and 18 suites on board, the ship has three decks and all the luxuries. 32 Swiss visitors have signed up for the entire duration of the inaugural expedition. The price per person per day will be around Rs 25,000.

The project has received backing from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), which is a division of the Ministry of Shipping, Ports, and Waterways, even though it will be run by private operators. The operator has informed The Indian Express that they have already scheduled the MV Ganga Vilas’s upcoming trip for the month of September this year and that reservations will soon be available. The Antara River Cruises website offers the ability to purchase tickets.

Union Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal stressed the need for growing river cruise tourism in the nation, pointing out that the industry would create jobs in the surrounding areas. According to him, river tourism circuits would be created and connected with the already-existing tourism circuits for maximum exposure and quick growth of this industry in the nation.

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