New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the world’s longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, and inaugurate a ‘Tent City’ on the banks of the Ganga river in Varanasi on January 13 via video conferencing. His office said in a statement that he will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worth more than Rs 1,000 crore during the event.
MV Ganga Vilas will begin its journey from Varanasi and sail around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, traversing across 27 river systems in the two countries, it said.
Modi said the 51-day river cruise is a unique opportunity to connect with the country’s cultural roots and discover beautiful aspects of its diversity. The cruiser has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of carrying 36 tourists and having all luxury amenities. The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the journey, it noted.
The PMO said the cruise has been curated to bring out the best of the country to be showcased to the world. The 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 embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
In line with the prime minister’s endeavour to boost river cruise tourism, the service will help unlock the huge untapped potential of the sector and herald a new age of tourism for India, it said.
The ‘Tent City’ at Varanasi has been conceptualised on the banks of the River Ganga to tap the potential of tourism in the region, the PMO said.
The project has been developed opposite city ghats which will provide accommodation facilities and cater to the increased tourists influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
It has been developed by the Varanasi Development Authority in PPP mode. The tourists will reach the ‘Tent City’ by boats from different ghats situated in the vicinity. The ‘Tent City’ will be operational from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to rise in river water level in the rainy season.