Cruising success

Published : Feb 15, 2008 00:00 IST

Mv Paramahansa of Vivada Inland Waterways Ltd. - SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

Mv Paramahansa of Vivada Inland Waterways Ltd. - SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

Mv Paramahansa of

THE Kolkata-based Vivada Inland Waterways Ltd, established in 1966 as bunker-providers to ocean-going vessels, has grown to be one of the largest inland waterways companies in the country, offering a variety of services. The company, which was mainly engaged in carrying petroleum products along the Hooghly river over a year ago, diversified into marine tourism, including a luxury cruise to the Sunderbans. The project is a joint venture of Vivada and the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation.

The 53-metre-long liner mv Paramahansa has 20 deluxe rooms on the main deck and 12 luxury rooms on the first deck. All the rooms are air-conditioned and have attached baths. The three-deck vessel also contains a gym, massage parlours complete with sauna facilities, a library and a lounge. It has a multicuisine restaurant, an open-sky deck and a coffee shop. There are special packages for corporate meetings; the vessel has conference rooms with multimedia projectors, Internet and fax facilities.

Vivada also offers a heritage tour along the Ganges. The round trip which starts from Milennium Park Jetty in Kolkata covers 400 km, spanning four days and three nights. At the end of the first day, the vessel reaches Chandannagar, which was a French colony until 1950. Following a tour of the area, the night is spent at Triveny in Hooghly district. On the second day, the vessel reaches Mayapur for a tour of the ISKCON temple. On its western bank lies the twin town of Nabadwip, a centre of learning in ancient times. At night the vessel halts at Lal Bagh in front of the Hazaar Duari palace (palace with thousand doors) in Murshidabad.

Murshidabad was the capital of the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, who lost his throne to the British East India Company in the Battle of Plassey (1757). The third day of the trip is essentially a tour of Murshidabad.

The last day of the trip includes a visit to the ancient terracotta temples at Kalna in Bardhaman district. A major attraction is Nava Kailash, a complex of 108 temples, built in 1809. On the way back, the mv Paramhansa passes the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura and the Portuguese Church at Bandel.

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay
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