The world’s longest river cruise — Ganga Vilas — with 32 Swiss tourists on board on Friday entered Assam waters on the Brahmaputra river on the 39th day of its voyage from Varanasi through Bangladesh, which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 51-day voyage from Varanasi to Bogibeel is scheduled to be completed on March 1 when it anchors at Bogibeel in Dibrugarh.
Shipping minister Sarbananda Sonowal described the voyage so far as “a watershed moment in the inland waterways transportation of northeast India towards progress and development.”
The luxury cruise vessel arrived at ‘zero point’ on the Indo-Bangladesh border morning at 10.30am after which it sailed further 32km to reach Dhubri port at 4pm. The cruise vessel is being escorted by survey vessel SL Subansiri throughout its journey from the ‘zero point’ up to Pandu port.
Sonowal said, “Today is a historic day for the people of Assam and for the northeast. Our endeavour towards reclaiming the glory of Assam’s trade and commerce got a tremendous boost with the successful passage of Ganga Vilas. This watershed moment of inland water transportation will unveil progress and development in the northeast region, as it prepares to propel itself as the engine of growth of India under the powerful leadership of PM Narendra Modi ji.”
He said that the positive response from the tourists onboard the ship bears testament to the possibility of bright days of river cruise tourism on the Ganga and Brahmaputra.
The cruise set sail from Varanasi on January 13, 2023 and traversed through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Bangladesh before arriving at Dhubri.
On its arrival at Dhubri, the ship was anchored on the Brahmaputra and the guests were taken via MV Pratima to the jetty at Dhubri Customs Port for immigration clearance. The tourists relished local delicacies, and got a glimpse of the local crafts such as products made of jute, artefacts made of terracotta, and kuhila in the stalls put up by local self-help groups. A dance troupe also performed the traditional Koch Rajbongshi dance as the tourists enjoyed a relaxing evening by the Brahmaputra.