Ride the Hooghly RiverKolkata, India
The sacred River Ganges has long been a massive tourist drawcard because of its immense significance – both spiritual and practical – to the people who live along it. Fittingly, the vast majority of visitors keen to have an encounter with the river god tend to head to the city of Varanasi to glimpse its grey waters and the throng that surrounds it. But this arm of the river, called the Hooghly, is just as fascinating.
Take a cruise along the water and pray for a sighting of one of the river’s resident Gangetic dolphins as you take in the crumbling edifices of the British Raj, the Howrah Bridge, the funereal burning ghats and temples such as the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. You can also take in some fascinating scenes of daily life – the vibrant fabrics laid out to dry on the river banks, the bullocks wading through the khaki shallows or the mischievous children splashing their way through bath time.
Many boats depart from the jetty in Millennium Park, a 2.5-kilometre-long public green space set alongside the river, which is just a short walk from the city centre of Kolkata.
Prices of cruises vary significantly, depending on which company you go with and how long you decide to go for. Look for local companies for the best prices and most authentic experience.
The monsoon season arrives with a splash during the summer months, so a boat trip at this time of year can be less enjoyable.