When you think of the name of the river, you can almost picture the legendary Bhupen Hazarika’s deep voice calling out to it and the conscience of those who live off its amazing body. The body of the Ganga holds within it both cosmologies of meanings and material sources of livelihoods – it feeds and drains human life, and over the years, has come to be imagined as mother, companion, destroyer and several other things within the expanse of literatures in South Asia.
We take you for a journey down this enormous river to show you exactly what gives it such endurance in one of the most populated regions of the world. From its source, where five smaller rivers, melting off glaciers, meet and the famed Gangotri glacier, the most accessible origin point, we will take you all the way to the Sunderbans where the Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal. This journey will show you how the Ganges supports myriad forms of aquatic life and forms part of a historical heritage while at the same time ranks among the worst polluted rivers in the world. Since the pollution levels at Varanasi are more than hundred times worse than the maximum limits set by the government, we will stop and delve into the complexities of such a reality. From the economies of the small villages that line the banks of the river to the wildlife – especially the Royal Bengal Tiger – that lives amidst the Sundari trees, you will experience what is indeed extraordinary.
Centuries ago, the famous sculptor, Bernini, made the Fountain of Four Rivers – amongst which the Ganga represents the symbolic worth of Asia. To see what it means today and what it could have meant back then, sail with us.