The cruise, 'MV Rajmahal' has been launched by the state-based Assam Bengal Navigation Company (ABN). The cruise carrying Indian and foreign tourists began its seven-day cruise from Patna and reached the holy city sailing down the ghats of Varansi and the nearby historic city of Chunar on Friday, the company's Managing Director Ashish Phookan told PTI today.
"It is an honour for our company to be the first to bring luxury river cruising to Varanasi", Phookan said.
Over 55 metres long, the 'MV Rajmahal' has been specially designed with a shallow draught to enable the river cruise and has 22 luxurious cabins with all modern amenities, he said.
The Patna-Varanasi-Patna sector has generated much interest from tour operators all over the world with the 'MV Rajmahal' booked by tourists among others from Japan, the UK, the US and Australia, he said.
The Ministry of Shipping, particularly Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Ministry of Tourism, are closely involved in promoting the cruise, added Phukan, who intends to promote the historic route on a regular basis every year. 'MV Rajmahal' is the third vessel of the Assam Bengal Navigation Company which pioneered long-distance river cruising in the country since 2003, he said.
The Indian Tourism Award for Innovation winner, the Indo-British joint venture, ABN has been promoting river cruising with the vessel 'MV Charaidew' on Brahmaputra and with 'MV Sukapha' on rivers Hugli and Ganga, Phookan said.