Most travellers to India only visit the main attractions. Hidden from view there is a very different story. Like most developing countries India is a land of extremes. Huge wealth and appalling poverty rub shoulders. Ripping off the tourists and selfless generosity confuse the visitor. There is nowhere like India.
Our Ganges expedition allows a peek at all of India’s faces. Starting off from Delhi visiting Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and finishing off in Agra viewing the Taj Mahal the river allows us to visit some famous landmarks. The other side of India is seen from our canoes.
Travelling in the tradition of early Canadian voyageurs, we will carry all our kit and food with us, finding supplies along the way. We can all take part in the survey being carried out on the Susu, Gangetic dolphin, and other wildlife. Everybody will have the opportunity to become a proficient boat handler and learn some basic Hindi.
However, this small review cannot do justice to this holy waterway. Have you ever watched a dog gnaw on a human corpse? For Hindus having one’s ashes scattered on the holy water assures freedom from the mortal life. Sadly many cannot afford the cost of cremation and relatives throw bodies straight in. Starving dogs aren’t fussy about where the next meal comes from! At first this can be upsetting, but the realisation that this is part and parcel of India soon overrides the emotional impact.
Most days start and finish with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Wildlife and bird life are abundant. Susu (Gangetic dolphins) break the surface hissing in air. Holy men chant mantras. Ornate abandoned temples loom out of the haze. Dogs and vultures compete for the different meals that the river washes up.