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Go Ganges - E6 Rowing along the Ganges

Loading their boat with food and water for two weeks, the trio from the USA set out from Kanpur to their next stop – Varanasi or Banaras. They see poverty and pollution in its worst form in and along the river, the bright spot is being able to row along the Ganges River Dolphins, now considered almost extinct.

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    J. J., Josh, and Dave land in Mumbai and meet their local contact, Vishal. They then make the long journey to Gangotri, taking a dip in the pure glacial waters at the source of the Ganges while battling altitude sickness and freezing temperatures.

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    The trio from the USA along with Vishal land up in Rishikesh where J. J. and Josh learn some basic Hindi phrases, try their hand at Yoga asanas and kriyas, and perform a puja to ask permission of Mother Ganga to traverse the length of the river safely and successfully.

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    J. J., Josh, and Dave say goodbye to their local contact, Vishal, after buying a cycle rickshaw at Rishikesh. The plan is to cycle all the way to Kanpur, 500 km away along the river. They get laughs, smiles, and encouragement from passers-by along the way, give their very first press conference and spend a night under a tree in the forest.

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    The trio from the USA fix the first puncture on their rickshaw, drawing out a crowd of close to 50 people and having to fix the tyre multiple times before it is usable again. They get people on the road wanting to join them and to take their photos. They realise a lot of locals know about their journey because of a small article in the local Hindi newspaper.

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    J. J., Josh, and Dave realise what it really means to ride their cycle rickshaw halfway across the country. Staying at small highway hotels and dealing with flat tyres every day, they finally enter Kanpur to meet the Ganga again. After a bit of haggling and shopping, they sell their cycle rickshaw and buy a small boat for the next leg of their adventure.

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    Loading their boat with food and water for two weeks, the trio from the USA set out from Kanpur to their next stop – Varanasi or Banaras. They see poverty and pollution in its worst form in and along the river, the bright spot is being able to row along the Ganges River Dolphins, now considered almost extinct.

    Read More +

    J. J., Josh, and Dave spend a night at an ashram, fix broken oars, chat up a few locals, and get a feel of what the river really means to the people living along its banks. They also get to see what the river becomes with everything that gets thrown into it, human skeletons scattered along its banks, but how the people still worship it, believe in the river goddess, and move on with their lives.

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    The trio finally make it to Benaras, considered the holiest city for Hindus. They haggle and sell their boat, buy an old Vespa scooter, and head out on the last leg of their journey. Josh and J. J. are a bit scared because they have never driven a car or ridden a motorcycle before, so this is a first for both of them.

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    The disillusionment of the trio from Alaska reaches its peak with the stress of riding their Vespa through India’s hinterland and seeing how Ganga gets more and more polluted the further downstream they go from the river’s origin to Sagar Island, where it meets the sea. They experience India at its best and wors and get to see a side of the country that few tourists ever experience.

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