Indian tourist cruise launch MV Ganga Vilas, considered to be the world's longest river cruise, reached the Mongla port on Saturday with 30 tourists on board.
The luxury five-star ship anchored at jetty no 7 of Mongla port at 2pm.
Mongla port authority organized a warm reception to welcome the tourists on board the launch.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahamud Chowdhury was present at the reception as a chief guest while Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma was present as a special guest.
Mongla Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral Mir Ershad Ali presided over the welcoming ceremony.
Besides, Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping Md Mostafa Kamal, BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq and other officials were also present at the reception program.
Ganga Vilas river cruise demonstrates the endeavour to boost river cruise tourism between Bangladesh and India, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka
In its journey to Bangladesh, the cruise also provides a unique opportunity to study the natural diversity and rich culture of Bangladesh, he said.
In his welcome remarks, Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma said that the Ganga Vilas river cruise is a historic development that demonstrates the power of rivers to connect India and Bangladesh and their people.
He hoped the cruise would unlock the new potential for heritage and ecotourism in India and Bangladesh, including the Sundarbans.
Ganga Vilas started its journey from Baransi, Uttar Pradesh, India, on January 13.
On that day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the cruise.
Most passengers on the cruise launch are citizens of Switzerland. They will visit various places including the shrine of Khan Jahan Ali by road from Mongla port. Later they will return to the port jetty.
Then via Barisal, the launch will stop at Meghna Ghat, will travel to Sonargaon and Dhaka, then visit Chilmari in Kurigram and Rangpur via Tangail and Sirajganj and enter India from Chilmari.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) will give full assistance throughout the period.
Over a period of 51 days, MV Ganga Vilas will cross through 27 different river systems in five states in India as well as Bangladesh.
It will also cover a distance of 3,200km between Varanasi and Dibrugarh via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route – an inland water transit and trade protocol that exists between India and Bangladesh, under which inland vessels of one country can transit through specified routes of the other country, according to Indian media.
The luxury cruise launch has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the amenities.
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 price of MV Ganga Vilas cruise per day will be around 25,000 to 50,000 rupees. The overall cost of the entire trip is around 20 lakh rupees per passenger, reports Livemint.
Source: Dhaka Tribune