Ganges River, India - Sachin Desai

My watermark is the Ganges River that flows through mainland India and pours into the Bay of Bengal. This 2,510 km river is the most sacred river in the world due to it being the most common place for Hindus to pour the ashes of the deceased into. I had the opportunity in 2014 to visit Kanpur, India, a city in which the Ganges flows through.

I enjoyed the experience immensely as I had the opportunity to travel by boat along the river and was able to see many remarkable aspects of the Ganges. I saw various people doing spiritual rituals by pouring ashes into the water which I learned afterwards, is used to signify the soul being released back to the earth. I saw the famous Ganges River Dolphin which I learned is rare due to the dolphins being majorly affected by human activity such as fishing and damn construction. I was able to wash my hands in the Ganges which symbolizes the establishment of oneself with the earth. Due to my visit being in the summer, I enjoyed the warm water and seeing other species of the river such as toads. I also enjoyed the silence as a majority of boats were moved by paddle so people can enjoy the scenery and silence.

Although I genuinely enjoyed every aspect of my visit to the Ganges, I was troubled when I saw the mass dumping and water pollution that surrounded the shores. This concerned me as water pollution is high in the entire river and can affect people who cook, clean and bathe as well as disrupt the ceremonies that occur. Furthermore, the pollution can have detrimental affects on species such as the river dolphin which was remarkable to see due to the fact that they are affected by humans daily and remain in the depth for safety. Although the people who live along the river are coping with this situation, we should remember that we are a global community and should be doing our part to preserve the species in the Ganges and stop water pollution. This was the most important aspect to me during my visit and I hope that we can work together to protect this river, so that future people will be able to experience this miraculous wonder of the world the way I experienced it.

Claire Lawson
Sachin Desai

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