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  • A Ganges voyage by riverboat gives you unmatched access to Bengal’s idyllic villages, picturesque temples and colonial outposts.
  • Walk among the ruins of Gaur — once a powerful city, its palaces and arched gateways are being reclaimed by the jungle.
  • View the exquisite Taj Mahal at sunset then return the next morning to step inside its ornate halls.

This trip has been discontinued. Instead see

India: Splendors of Central India

Northeast India: Tribal India

The Spirit of India

India’s vivid environments, exquisite monuments and complex history unfold before you on this voyage. Begin in the state of Bengal, where you follow the Ganges River’s meandering course through mango groves and mustard fields, going ashore to discover Hindu temples, colonial architecture and timeless villages. Then experience the icons Delhi, Jaipur and Agra including the incomparable Taj Mahal.

Flights & Transport
  • Internal airfare and ground transport
Rivers & Seas
  • Ganges River

Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
93% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 0
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.5 Transportation
4.6 Meals
Royal India: Bengal, the Ganges River and the Golden Triangle

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Does Not Recommend


  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
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Operator Road Scholar


Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar



Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar



A peaceful and green country with lots of history revealed by motor coach travel. January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
The trip was a good overview of the country. The Road Scholar guide was very knowledgeable. The motorcoach was very comfortable. The accommodations and meals were fine. Couldn't ask for a better overview of the place.
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Operator Road Scholar



Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism. January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Operator Road Scholar


Day 1: Depart for India

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Day 2: Late Evening Arrival in Kolkata

Accommodation: The Oberoi Grand

This is a forced overnight in Kolkata. The group flight is arriving late at night, around 10 pm (subject to change). Nothing is planned on this day, just a hotel room for the night.

Day 3: Bengali Kolkata / Mother Teresa's Project

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: The Oberoi Grand

Experience Bengali Koltata with a visit to the Jain Temple. Continue to explore Kumartuli, a Potters colony where large Hindu Gods are created by the community there. Then explore the Sova Bazar area, a fascinatingly cosmopolitan blend of the seemingly incongruous architectural forms that made up the old world dwellings of the city’s wealthier Bengalis.

Spend the afternoon learning about Mother Teresa and her mission in India. Visit the Mission of Charity Foundation and gain a deeper understanding of this unique woman and her cause.

Day 4: Free Time / Transfer to Board Ship

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Free morning until you transfer to board your ship. Or enjoy a walk in the book market near the hotel with your group leader.

Transfer to board the ship and cruise past the Danish colony of Serampore, towards Barrackpore, your first stop on the Hugli River. Barrakpore is known for a couple of Indian independence movement and the town itself might be named for the barracks during the British time. On land, explore the Government house, the Temple of Fame, a memorial to French and Dutch soldiers those who had died in the conquests of Mauritius and Java during the Napoleonic Wars and the Flagstaff House which house many British statues

Day 5: Chandernagore / Chinsura / Kalna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cruise to the city of Chandernagore, that was under French possession until 1950. In this city, visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House and the Sacred Heart Church, that marks the beauty of the architecture during the French period.

In the afternoon, cruise to the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura. Disembark and visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly, a two story structure. The mosque in the complex is engraved with intricate designs and texts from Quran. The interior of the mosque is decorated with marbles, candles and hanging lanterns. Return to the ship and cruise towards Kalna.

Day 6: Kalna / Mayapur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Morning: This morning, onshore in Kalna, take a cycle rickshaws ride to explore some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. Then return to the ship.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, continue on through the countryside to Mayapur, where headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is located. This sector of Hinduism has special significance to followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, regarded as a special incarnation of Krishna in the mood of Radha. Visit the new ISKCON temple and learn a little about the significant of this religion and its importance to Mayapur.

Day 7: Matiari / Hazarduari

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning visit the village of Matiari, known for their brass work. Learn how villagers make brass water pots and other utensils using local techniques.

In the afternoon, on a shore excrusion, coach to the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of Indian history, finally mooring at Murshidabad.

Day 8: Khushbagh / Hazarduari Palace

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Morning: This morning’s excursion takes you to Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Then return to the ship and continue upstream towards Hazarduari Palace. Take a short 10 minute walk to Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837, which dominates the waterfront. Inside are an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects.

This afternoon, board a motorcoach to explore the great Katra Mosque and the Nashipara Palace and the Katgola Palace, built in the late 18th century,. Both were built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represent the other side of the coin of the “White Moghul” period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Overnight on the riverbank across from town.

Day 9: Barangar / Cruise to Farakka

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Morning: Moor at the delightful sleepy riverside village of Baranagar. Walk in the village to discover three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic.

Continue up the Hooghly, here a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage. Presentation by SL, topic TBA - cooking class this afternoon.

Day 10: Guar / Farakka Lock

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

During breakfast we cruise to a mooring by the Farakka lock. Disembark for a full day excursion on motorcoach to the ruined city of Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening at Farakka.

Return to the ship at Farakka Lock in the afternoon.

Day 11: Disembark / Transfer to Farakka Train Station / Train to Kolkata / Fly to Delhi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Suryaa New Delhi

Early train transfer to the train station at Farakka. Train ride is approximately 6 hours.

Upon arrival in Kolkata, transfer to airport for your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, check into your hotel before going to dinner.

Day 12: Old Delhi / Rickshaw ride / New Delhi / Qutab Minar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Suryaa New Delhi

Begin with a program orienation. Then conintue to Discover Old Delhi. Drive by the Red fort and then take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk that ends in Jama Masjid with a visit to the Mosque.

Explore Qutub Minar, a great masterpiece of Mughal architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has survived the ravages of time impressively.

Day 13: Delhi / Drive to Jaipur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Trident Hotel Jaipur

Check out of the hotel and coach transfer to Jaipur. En route, learn about “The Rajputs of Rajisthan." The Rajputs, descendants of the ancient Aryan fighting caste and invaders who settled down and intermingled with them, gave Rajasthan its name and character.

Continue onto Jaipur. Upon arrival time permitting, explore a local market.

Day 14: Jaipur / Amber Fort / Janta Manar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Trident Hotel Jaipur

This morning, drive past Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). This five storied wonder has a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Continue on to Amber Fort, a example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. The interiors of the fort have various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings.

Continue your exploration of Jaipur with City Place and Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. Then continue to the city Bazaar and take in the hussle and busy of Jaipur city.

Day 15: Jaipur / Coach to Agra

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Trident Hotel Agra

Then, check-out of hotel and depart for Agra. En-route, engage in a presentation on “Mugul History” by your group leader

Continue to hotel for check in. Then in the late afternoon, view the Taj Mahal from Metab Bagh.

Day 16: Taj Mahal / Agra Fort / Coach to Delhi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Before breakfast, set out in the early morning to explore the Taj Mahal. Take some time to explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Then continue to Agra Fort. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace. Then head off to Jaipur.

Program ends after Lunch. Group transfer to Delhi for your flight home. There will be a free day room provided for those who has a late night flight out of Delhi.

Day 17: Arrival Home

Arrive To: Arrival home.

Dates & Pricing

Price From


Price Per Day:

NA per person
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Trip Includes
  • 14 nights of accommodations
  • 41 meals: 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners
  • 4 Expert-led lectures
  • 25 Field trips
  • 2 Hands-on experiences
  • 1 Flights during the program
  • Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
  • An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
  • The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, which is purchased on behalf of every participant and provides 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance services coverage.
  • Taxes
  • State-of-the-art QUIETVOX listening devices, so you won't miss a word
Trip Excludes
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals that are not mentioned in the itinerary
Flights & Transport
Internal airfare and ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Start City
End City

Trip ID#: RoyIndRoa


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