Awaiting the Kanpur River Show!

Kanpur River Show The team is very excited for the TERI-BAE River Show in Kanpur, the second of our Access Water Expedition! The Ganges holds a high level of economic and cultural value to Kanpur’s residents. It reminds us of water’s importance and our mission to make clean water universal. To learn more about how […]

Education Challenge: Kanpur

This week’s education challenge will focus on topics in the city of Kanpur. Challenge: Where is your T-shirt made? How is it made? What is it made of? Where does it go when you don’t want to use it anymore? Are there other alternatives? How can you influence (production, consumption, etc)   Teaching resources:   […]

Safe water made possible by Water.org

Feature Friday: Water.org

Water.org: “It’s about more than water” For 25 years, Water.org has challenged the traditional approach to assisting people in developing countries and paved the way for developing solutions for the water crisis. Their vision is “the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.” Fast facts: Globally, women and children […]

Our Weekend Raft Trip

This past weekend we had the chance to do some rafting down the Ganga river. Here is a recap of our journey in photos!

The River Ganga
The River Ganga
Jiaojiao (Cindy) posing for a pic on the river
Jiaojiao (Cindy) posing for a pic on the river
Taking a lunch break
Taking a lunch break
The team rafting
The team rafting
Our team in the Northern part of the Ganges where the River Bhagirathi and Alaknanda intersect
Our team in the Northern part of the Ganges where the River Bhagirathi and Alaknanda intersect
Prepping for our rafting trip
Prepping for our rafting trip
And we're off!
And we’re off!

 

Ulfat taking a break from rafting
Ulfat taking a break from rafting

Our Trek to the Gangotri Glacier

“To have a moment to touch the waters of the Ganga, after all this time, is like dipping your hands in pure sunshine ” – Lisa te Heuheu

Earlier last week we made our trek to the Gangotri Glacier. We started in a little mountain town, which we arrived at after hours of driving up mountain roads. As we began our hike, we were accompanied by porter, which we’ve never had before. They helped us carry everything to Bhojwasa, which was our basecamp for that day. We each had a 30 liter pack and gained a lot of altitude that day. As we were climbing, some of our team was hit with altitude sickness so we had to keep an eye on everyone and go slow.

Fortunately, our camp was set up by the time we got there and we were able to cook a hot meal and settle into the tents for a cold night. Camping right next the Ganges was absolutely amazing! It was the land of rock and water and we were blessed with the beautiful sight of the mountain ranges as the sun set.

Our view as the sun was setting in the valley
Our view as the sun was setting in the valley

The next day we packed up and hiked out to the glacier. The team was getting better adjusted to the altitude sickness, but we still took it slow regardless. As we hiked we saw everything from blue sheep to rock cairns. Finally we saw the edge of the dirty ice, hiked a bit further, and reached the beginning of the Ganges. It was so cool and everyone was really excited. A few of us took off our boots and dipped our feet in the freezing glacial water. Deep breaths and deep thoughts enhanced our gratitude for being in this special place. It is hard to express the emotions exactly, but it is a powerful place and one we fought hard to get to. Now that we’re here, we feel like our trip has finally begun!

Our team at GomukhOur team at Gomukh

 

We've made it to Gomukh!
We’ve made it to Gomukh!
Blue Sheep on our hike up to the glacier
Blue Sheep on our hike up to the glacier
Liv enjoying some fresh water at Gomukh
Liv enjoying some fresh water at Gomukh

Education Challenge: Rishikesh

This week’s education challenge will focus on the city of Rishikesh. Challenge: Beagle: Explore local trees and be part of European scientific research project discovering our impacts on the planet. Extreme weather: The students are challenged to talk about measures that have been made in their own local community to prevent natural disasters. Have the students […]

City Background: Rishikesh

We are now in Rishikesh which is located in part of the Indian state Uttarakhand. At this point the Ganges emerges from the mountains and enters the Gangetic Plains.

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, Rishikesh is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and Yoga Capital of the World. It is an old spiritual city, and houses the path to the four holy places of the upper Himalayas. Several holy temples can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. The whole town is considered to be sacred and it’s believed that meditation there leads to salvation.

The Ganga at Rishikesh

The Ganga at Rishikesh /Photo Credit: Richard A. Lois

 

 

Article in the Economic Times

One of our partners, TERI – The Energy and Resources Institute, shared this on their Facebook page today. Thanks for sharing! We are happy to have you as a partner on this journey. “Starting today 8 women explorers will hike along the Ganges from Gangotri on an over 2400 kms 55-day expedition to initiate conversation and […]

Traveling to Uttarkashi

Roadside friends along the way up to Uttarkashi

Roadside friends along the way up to Uttarkashi

Sticker on the back of our van.

Sticker on the back of our van.

Road is tough. Landslides from earthquake are being repaired. Little margin for error.

Road is tough. Landslides from earthquake are being repaired. Little margin for error.

Roti.

Roti.

In the mountains, water is not scarce. Farms of many sizes terracing, irrigation, washing, etc.

In the mountains, water is not scarce. Farms of many sizes terracing, irrigation, washing, etc.

 

 

A Refreshing Dip in the Ganges

We were thrilled to have arrived at the Ganges at Rishikesh near Bulls Landing. We enjoyed taking a refreshing dip in its crystal waters, and will be rafting this portion of the river. Today we are in Uttarkashi and traveling towards Gangotri. Keep checking back for more updates on our journey down the Ganges!    

Day One: First View of the Ganga (Ganges) River on the Road to Rishikesh

Arrival in Dehli and Press Conference

The team arrived and gathered in Dehli on Friday! We are so pleased to be together after so many challenges. We met at the Norwegian Embassy for our press conference. Featured above is our team with our sponsor Google India and our support team Mercury Himalayan Explorations.

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Tomorrow our expedition begins! Follow our journey here on YourExpedition.com. To be a part of this important project, #comewithus and donate here: beyondtheriver.tv.

Education Challenge: Drinking Water, Clean Water

As the Access Water team journeys down the Ganges, we’ll be doing weekly posts with educational topics related to their journey that can be done with students in the classroom. The first topic is Drinking Water and Clean Water. Here are the questions:   How many people on earth lack access to clean drinking water? […]

Kim Smith

Expeditioner Highlight: Kim Smith

Bio: At only 30 years old, Kim Smith is embarking on the Access Water Expedition with a variety of experiences under her belt. Her resume includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences, a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Industrial Psychology and she is currently pursuing her masters in Developmental Studies.

Kim was born in Bishop Lavis, a predominately black community on the Cape Flats in South Africa, and she was extremely active in her community while growing up. She spent a lot of time working in soup kitchens, hospitals and old age homes.

It was through these experiences that Kim developed a desire to make a difference in the world.

Read more

Photo of and Indian citizen in water

The Story of Water in India

Water is a pressing topic in India which is one reason we’ve chosen to start our journey on the Ganges. Check out the infographic below to learn more about the story of water in India and what the Columbia Water Center is doing to address this topic. The Columbia Water Center is committed to understanding and addressing both the role and scarcity of fresh water in the 21st century. The Water Center was established for the purpose of studying the diminishing levels of fresh water and creating innovative sustainable and global solutions.

Infographic on the state of water in India today and in the future

Olfat Haider

Expeditioner Highlight: Olfat Haider

Bio: Born and raised in Haifa, Israel, Olfat Haider spent many years managing the tensions involved in her Arab identity. She faced discrimination from both the Jewish and Arab populations growing up, and played on the Israeli National Women’s team as its only Arab member. These experiences inspired Olfat to promote peaceful co-existence between Jewish […]

Women in India

Learn More About India

Curious to learn a bit more about India? Here are a few fun facts about one of the world’s largest countries.

India was derived from the River Indus

Map of the River Indus

In ancient times, “India” initially referred to those regions immediately along the east banks of the River Indus. By 300 BC, Greek writers began applying the term to the entire subcontinent that extends much farther eastward.

India was once an island

Aerial view of the Himalayan mountain range

More than 100 million years ago, India was its own island. About 50 million years ago the India continental plate collided with Asia, and created the Himalayan mountain range. The plate on which India rests continues to press slowly north, which is why the height of Mount Everest increases slightly every year.

India is a country of many different languages

Women in India

The 1961 census of India listed 1,652 languages, though some of these may have been dialects and smaller languages that have died out since then. There are 6 big languages spoken in India – Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Urdu.

India has three of the world’s top ten megacities

Picture of Delhi

According to the UN, Delhi is now the second-largest urban agglomeration in the world, with Mumbai ranked seventh and Calcutta tenth. In Delhi alone, the annual growth rate is over 3%, about 700,000 people.

India is mango heaven

An Indian vendor selling mangoes

India is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of mangoes. Did you know it takes roughly 28.5 gallons of water to grow an ounce of this tasty fruit? India’s official national fruit comes in several hundred varieties, and more than 30 varieties are available commercially. More than 40% of the world’s annual output of mangoes are grown in India.

 

Sources:

BBC News: Ten ‘big facts’ about India

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-25881705

Interesting Facts About India

http://knowindia.gov.in/myindia/myindia_frame.php?id=10

How Much Water Does it Take to Grow America’s Favorite Foods

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-much-water-does-it-take-grow-americas-favorite-foods-180954941/?no-ist

 

What You Can Do to Conserve Water

Rivers are commonly associated with recreational activities such as kayaking or swimming, sacred rituals such as baptisms or generating energy and electricity. But did you know that there is much more to rivers than the things you physically do in or around them? National Geographic outlines the importance of rivers and calls them “the veins of […]

Town along the ganges river bank

Ganges Background

The Ganges river, also referred to as the Ganga, is known as the sacred river of India. Starting in the Himalayan mountain range, the Ganges stretches 2,700 km through northern India and Bangladesh before reaching the Bay of Bengal.

Ganges River

Ganges River

Source: Britannica Kids

The Ganges is described is sacred texts as the ‘best of rivers, born of all the sacred waters’. It is an important part of Hindu pilgrimage and is a common site to spread ashes of the cremated or perform ritual bathing.

In addition, the Ganges has been providing hydration for centuries. Its fertile soil is beneficial for agriculture, and its water serves as a source of irrigation to the surrounding area. Rice, sesame, sugarcane and millets are some among the varieties of crops that can be grown along the river. Today, the Ganges is a source of life for the nearly 400 million people living near its basin. It is a valuable source of water for drinking, food, irrigation, and manufacturing.

 

World map with water on white backdrop

Do you know your fresh water facts? The importance of fresh water

Are you an expert on water or could you stand to learn more? For instance, how much of Earth’s water is fresh? How much fresh water do clouds hold? How many people in India have been displaced by large-scale dams? Check out National Geographic’s “Freshwater 101” quiz to test your smarts (and to learn how […]