24-27 Sep 2014....Pittsburgh PIT — Washington Dulles IAD — Istanbul IST — New Delhi, India DEL

                        — Varanasi, India VNS...Embark R/V Rajmahal

28 Sep.............Varanasi...Chunar...Ramnagar

29 Sep.............Varanasi...Sarnath

30 Sep.............Varanasi...Jaunpur

  1 Oct..............Ghazipur

  2 Oct..............Buxar

  3 Oct..............Maner Sharif

  4 Oct..............Patna...Bodh Gaya

  5 Oct..............Patna

  6 Oct..............Nalanda...Pawapuri

  7 Oct..............Munger...Sultanganj

  8 Oct..............Vikramshila

  9 Oct..............Rajmahal...Farakka Barrage

10 Oct..............Farakka Barrage...Disembark R/V Rajmahal...Train to Kolkata

10-12 Oct.........Kolkata


Two pages of photos to keep you interested...

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  Another cruise through rural India; this one on the central section of the Ganges River as it meanders through Bihar Province—and another remarkable experience. This was a special two-week itinerary offered by the British company, Noble Caledonia, and operated by the Assam Bengal Navigation Company aboard their ship, R/V Rajmahal. Larger but similarly equipped than the R/V Sukapha which took me down the Hooghly River (a distributary of the Ganges), this ship was equally well run by Western standards, with decent and safe food, air-conditioning, comfortable if not luxurious cabins, and attractive public spaces...and, wonder of wonders, it actually had dedicated single cabins! My cabin was one of the singles, but right next to the anchors and the bridge, thus it was very noisy. All of my fellow travelers were Brits of one sort or another, and most had been to India previously, so we were more or less prepared for the challenges of Indian travel.

  Stops along the river included Hindu ceremonies and festivals, Muslim Mughal forts and palaces, Buddhist places of pilgrimage, an enormous Sikh temple, and cemeteries of the British Raj. And all in the context of largely rural India and two of the crowded mega-cities. Transport from the river landings to the sites was by local vehicles: mostly cars and mostly not air-conditioned...one can't avoid the Indian roads, though these were not quite as gut-wrenching as others I've traveled.

  I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise: the Indian population was friendly and welcoming, the sites and sights were varied in their history, and we had well-informed guides. Yes, the weather was beastly hot and humid, and the river landing points were usually wet and muddy, but it's all part of travel in India.

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Places I've visited are marked in red