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Be it the lathmar Holi of the Braj region, Rajasthan's royal-style celebrations in Udaipur and Jaipur, the cultural extravaganza of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab or West Bengal's Holi with a springtime twist in Santiniketan and Purulia—the festival is kind of a big deal in most parts of the country.
But if we told you about an experience that you may have never imagined on your own, would you believe us? Well, this year, you could spend the long Holi weekend at a river cruise, surrounded by the serene waters of the Ganga.
The cruise, called Europe on the Ganges and with a three-day itinerary, will sail from Kolkata on March 27, to the island of Mangaldeep for a unique Holi celebration. The tour will continue with a visit to the pre-colonial city of Serampore that is located on the banks of the Ganges. The walk will take one and all through the historical delights of the place including its fascinating Danish taverns.
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The cruise experience is based around the colourful Radha-Krishna-style celebration of Holi, and will include traditional elements such as organic gulaal, scented water for pichkaaris, marigolds, for the guests. This cruise will be undertaken aboard the Ganges Voyager II with limited operational suites to ensure social distancing and stringent health protocols.
You could also expect to come across the awe-inspiring Kalna Rajbari complex and the Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagar, a city in which traces of a French past are still alive. Likewise, Serampore is known for its unique Danish legacy. This sailing experience, in that sense, takes travellers through the colonial history and resulting architectural heritage of these settlements on the banks of the river.
Interestingly, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, river cruises have emerged as one of the frontrunners among new alternatives to become the shot in the arm for the severely impacted travel and hospitality industry. Last year, Odisha, too announced river cruises for five of its water bodies.
The Europe on the Ganges, Holi Special is priced at Rs 25,000 per person per night (all-inclusive). The ship will depart from Kolkata port on 27 March and dock back at the Kolkata port on 29 March.
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