Gifting cruise enthusiasts – both domestic and international – an age-old yet new indulgence that showcases the ancient Colonial glory, The Bengal Paddle – India’s longest surviving Paddle Steamer from 1945 is ready to sail in Hooghly River (Kolkata). Offering a truly exhilarating river cruise experience, the vessel – 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 by The Barge Company for over 2 years. Bringing the boat in its element, the sailing patrons can witness the paddle steamer’s resplendent ancient glory and reminisce about the golden age of river transportation in the Bengal Delta this winter.
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 the patrons to tantalize their tastebuds as they enjoy the expansive river’s view.
Speaking on the launch of The Bengal Paddle, Rishika Das Roy at The Barge Company, Lead marketing and outreach said, “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 tonnes of steel, and 8 tonnes of teak, we trust the heritage paddle steamer is set to revolutionize river cruising in India.”