Soak in the beauty of Ganges onboard The Bengal Paddle, India's only Imperial-age paddle steamer

The 75-year-old vessel has two enormous open decks, a one-of-a-kind Riverine Museum, and an excellent F&B area for a totally sensory experience

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, January 19, 2023, 04:34 PM IST
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The Bengal Paddle steamer | The Barge Company

’Tis the season of celebration and travel. While we all look forward to celebrating the year end and welcoming 2023 on a high note, most of us are on the internet checking for a best place to celebrate the year end. If you are one of those who wants doesn't aim to travel abroad and explore India's rich culture, heritage and history of ancient colonial glory, The Bengal Paddle – India’s longest surviving Paddle Steamer from 1945 is ready to sail in Hooghly River in Kolkata, a city which was home of Britishers for 200 years.

The steamer is offers a truly exhilarating river cruise experience. The vessel, which once lay in ruins at the Kidderpore Docks, has been restored to its lost imperial times' glory by The Barge Company in partnership with Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (formerly Kolkata Port Trust).

Commissioned originally by the East India Company in 1945, the defunct paddle steamer had been under restoration for over two years. Bringing the boat in its element, you can witness the paddle steamer’s resplendent ancient glory and reminisce about the golden age of river transportation in the Bengal Delta this winter.

Mallika Singhee

The Barge Company

With a capacity to house 500 people, the boat offers an immersive experience of Hooghly’s grandeur. One of the key attractions of the boat is the first-of-its-kind Riverine Museum which has been curated in the vessel’s erstwhile boiler room presenting the history of the Hooghly and the paddle steamers that sailed on it. In its restored skin, the boat has three decks – namely Top Deck, Middle Deck, and Lower Deck that emanate bespoke vintage luxury. A dedicated F&B space - both indoor and outdoor – the boat is equipped with global cuisines to aid to tantalise every taste buds as you enjoy the expansive river’s view.

“With its paddles and vintage machinery being repaired and re-calibrated and now in working condition, the Bengal Paddle is the last surviving Paddle Boat from the colonial Era in Asia, offering a singular river cruising experience to all of India. Designed thoughtfully, its Heritage Restoration, Naval Architecture, Structural Engineering, and Events and Lifestyle Space help one fathom the ancient luxury to its entirety. Spotlessly timeless, it has been an honor for us to restore the vessel to its original form. Equipping the paddle steamer with a staggering 320 tones of steel, and 8 tonnes of teak, we trust the heritage paddle steamer is set to revolutionize river cruising in India,” said Rishika Das Roy, lead marketing and outreach at The Barge Company.

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