Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the world’s longest river Cruise, MV Ganga Vilas in Varanasi via video conferencing on Friday. He also inaugurated the tent city at Varanasi and laid the foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worth more than Rs 1,000 crore.
MV Ganga Vilas is the first-ever cruise vessel to be made in India. The river cruise will go through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bangladesh till Dibrugarh. It will begin its journey from Varanasi in UP and travel around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, sailing across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh. MV Ganga Vilas has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the luxury amenities. The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the journey.
The 51 days cruise is planned with visits to 50 tourist spots, including World Heritage Sites, National Parks, River Ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Guwahati in Assam. The journey will give the tourists an opportunity to experience the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
The Tent City, developed by Varanasi Development Authority, has been conceptualised on the banks of the River Ganga, opposite to city ghats to provide accommodation facilities and cater to the increased tourist influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. The tourists will reach the Tent City by boats from different Ghats situated in the vicinity. The city will be operational from October to June every year and dismantled for three months due to rise in river water level in the rainy season.