Didn’t think India had anything to offer when it came to cruises in stunning locations? Think again! By Satyaki Sarkar
When we talk about cruises, our minds automatically wander to wide-open international waters and picturesque locales from around the world. But love them as we may, international cruises are not the only options you have when planning your next vacation. India is known for its majestic scenery, and has quite a few cruise destinations that will leave you completely spellbound. Here are five of these amazing spots!
1. The Golden Triangle Cruise
Covering the trio of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, the Golden Triangle Cruise is an incredibly luxurious 12-night cruise vacation in India. The trip starts from New Delhi and down the River Ganges, which is dotted with countless heritage sites. This one is likely to be a mix of a land and water tour, where you get to explore some of the country’s most beautiful legacies like Delhi’s red sandstone and marble tomb, Raj Ghat, a black granite memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, Jaipur’s Pink City, Agra’s Taj Mahal, as well as the Rajbari Temples devoted to the Hindu god Shiva.
2. Andaman Islands – Glass Bottom Cruise
Probably one of the best cruise destinations in India, the Andaman Islands have long been known for their exquisite natural beauty and water sports that attract travellers from all over the world. It’s a haven for beach lovers and divers, embarking on a glass bottom boat cruise is a great way to explore the waters. The boats offer a magnificent view of the vibrant corals that the islands are known for, as well as the rich and diverse collection of marine life and dolphins! With several attractions like snorkelling and sea-walking to keep you mesmerised, it is quite easy to get transported somewhere else entirely as you gaze into the pristine turquoise blue waters, while sailing across the strong waves to exotic islands like Jolly Buoy and Neil Island.
Photograph: Ritiks/Creative Commons
3. Brahmaputra River Cruise
A popular destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Assam is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species. It’s also situated at the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. A cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra River takes you on one of the most spectacular river journeys you have ever been on in your life, where you can take in the enchanting countryside, the rural villages, and the marvellous bird life, while occasionally spotting fun dolphins. The cruise also covers Kaziranga National Park, which is famous for its elephant tours and is home to the one-horned Indian rhino and Royal Bengal Tiger.
Photograph: Donvikro/Creative Commons
4. Sunderbans Boat Cruise
The largest delta in the world with the biggest estuarine national park in existence, the Sunderbans has always been a popular tourist destination for the sheer diversity and breath-taking beauty of the tiger reserve. A cruise on the serene winding rivers cutting through the lush mangrove forests will give you a mesmerising view of several of Kolkata’s Ghats, and quaint little fishermen’s coves. There’s also the crocodile project at Bhagabatpur, the deer rehabilitation centre at Dobanki, and a thrilling forest walk on Lothian Island. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the 300-year-old temple at Netidhopani, or spend a night at the tiger spotting watchtower at Sudhanyakhali.
Photograph: Dibyendu Ash/Creative Commons
5. Kerala Backwater Cruise
The backwaters of Kerala definitely need no introduction. Known as God’s own country, a cruise on the pristine blue waters of Kerala takes you on a voyage of lush green mazes of waterways and rice paddies, while offering you a chance to visit rice cultivating villages, and enjoy authentic south Indian cuisines. The area is renowned for being an oasis of calmness and serenity, and cruising along the riverside, one cannot help but fall in love with the place. While you lose yourself in the midst of the beautiful riverside locales and sights and sounds of mudskippers, kingfishers, turtles, frogs and crabs, make sure to cover the three most popular backwaters of Alleppey, Kuttanad, and Kumarakom.
Photograph: Kish/Creative Commons