River cruise, or spiritual education? This new tour in Ayodhya will give you both

Devotees visiting Ayodhya will soon be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of its ghats in an indulgent new way. India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has announced that a new, luxury cruise service will be started along the Saryu River in Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya is situated on the right bank of the Ghaghara River, whose lower region is known as the Saryu. 

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The Ram ki Paidi ghats on the Saryu River after sunset. Photo by Ruhi/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

The Ram ki Paidi ghats on the Saryu River after sunset. Photo by Ruhi/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Travelling on National Waterway-40, the cruise will feature luxury amenities and essential security features at par with global standards. An 80-seater vessel, it will be fully air-conditioned, and will travel approximately 16 kilometres. The entire service, dubbed the ‘Ramcharitmanas Tour’, will last for up to 1.5 hours.

The interiors and boarding point of the cruise will be themed on the Ramcharitmanas, the epic poem composed by saint and poet Goswami Tulsidas. Large glass windows will allow devotees to savour the Saryu’s spiritual beauty, and several activities and selfie points inspired by stories from the Ramayan will be available on board. Each ticket will also cover a 4560 minute film made exclusively for the cruise. The tour will conclude with a ‘Saryu Aarti’. 

See | Ayodhya Travel Guide

Kitchen and pantry facilities will also be available for passengers. To improve the environmental footprint of each journey, the cruise will be fitted with bio toilets and hybrid engine systems. 

A tentative launch date for this cruise has not been provided yet, but Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways chaired a review meeting for the implementation of the tour on December 1, 2020. You can view his tweet about the announcement here:

According to Uttar Pradesh Tourism, 20 million people visit Ayodhya every year. The best time to visit is from October to March. The city is the first of the Sapta Puris, or the seven holy pilgrimage centres for Hindus in India.