Varanasi: Modi to inaugurate world’s longest river cruise


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the world’s longest river cruise–Ganga Vilas–remotely around 10:30am on Friday before it leaves for a 51-day journey from Varanasi to Dibrugarh (Assam) via five Indian states and Bangladesh with 32 Swiss nationals on board.

The ship will make pit stops at 50 places, including world heritage sites. “It will pass through national parks and sanctuaries, including the Sundarbans and the Kaziranga National Park,” said an official.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called the inauguration the beginning of a new era. “…it is a big day for the people of Varanasi.”

Brigitte Reichlin, a Swiss national, said they initially planned to take a flight but then came to know about this cruise. “As I wanted to make my trip to India a memorable one, I opted for Ganga Vilas.”

The ship has a capacity for 80 passengers and has 18 luxury suites. “Ganga Vilas blend culture and modern amenities with minimalist designs and defines the boutique experiences on the water,” said a second official.

Modi will also inaugurate a “tent city” in his parliamentary constituency on the lines of the one in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch. Spread over a 100-hectare area opposite the Ghats of Varanasi, it includes cottages.

Officials said the tent city has enough space to meet the shortage of accommodations during the peak season.

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