Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the world’s longest river Cruise, MV Ganga Vilas in Varanasi via video conferencing on Friday.
The prime minister 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.
Union minister for ports, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath were present at Varanasi on the occasion.
Speaking at the occasion, Sonowal said, “Today will be written in the history of the world’s river cruise as it will be the longest journey in the world. It will go through UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bangladesh up to Dibrugarh. Through this journey, not only the path of tourism but also the path of trade will open.”
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, “In the last three days, tourists of the river cruise MV Ganga Vilas visited Varanasi and nearby places and experienced the culture. PM will inaugurate five new jetties in the state today. Kashi is moving ahead with a new identity today.”
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma who joined the ceremony virtually thanked PM Modi for flagging of river cruise connecting Kashi to Assam.
“Passengers who will come on this cruise will get the opportunity to visit Maa Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga National Park and other place,” chief minister Sarma said.
Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav also joined the event virtually. He said the river cruise MV Ganga Vilas will visit Buxar, Chapra, Patna, Munger, Sultanganj and Kahalgaon in the state.
“The tourists will be accorded a traditional welcome at each port and taken to visit historical places,” Tejashwi Yadav said.
An official of Port, Shipping and Waterways told ANI that the world’s longest River Cruise MV Ganga Vilas is the first-ever cruise vessel to be made in India.
MV Ganga Vilas will begin its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh 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 MV Ganga Vilas cruise is curated to bring out the best of the country to be showcased to the world. 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 embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
Further, Tent City has been conceptualised on the banks of the River Ganga to tap the potential of tourism in the region.
The project has been developed opposite to city ghats which will provide accommodation facilities and cater to the increased tourist influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
It has been developed by Varanasi Development Authority. 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.