Last June, as part of our Moving Upstream series of projects, Siddharth started walking along the river Ganga from Gangasagar, West Bengal. Moving from the ocean to the glaciers at 14000 feet, the attempt was to present a very personal narrative of the Ganga and stories of the people who affect and are affected by it. This was the first in a series of research and documentation journeys that we are undertaking at Veditum along different rivers of India. The Moving Upstream projects aim to understand, document and impact the condition of riverine ecosystems in India through first hand participatory projects and knowledge banks. We’re very excited about bringing this opportunity of immersive experiences to more young individuals across the country.
Supported by an initial crowdfunding campaign and after forming partnerships with multiple organisations, the journey began in early June. As planned, the documentary crew (film makers and researchers) traveled in a car, researching and documenting the journey and the river. Unfortunately, restricted by personal reasons and security concerns, the crew decided to drop out at the end of the first month, after after covering the stretch in West Bengal. Though this affected the design of the project as envisioned and also induced a fair bit of mental agony, it helped us re-emphasize our belief that the only limitations are the ones that we put on ourselves. Siddharth continued the walk alone and went on to walk across the states of Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh along the river.
Siddharth completed walking 80% (2000kms) from Ganga Sagar, West Bengal to Garhmukteshwar, Uttar Pradesh over the course of the 4 months (June-October), but was then forced to pause due to an injury in the lower back & right shoulder. After recovering from the injury and waiting for the winters to pass, he will be resuming the journey from the last point (Garhmukteshwar) around the 18th of February 2017. Making our way to Gaumukh, we’re attempting to complete the walking trail and also the promises made to all contributors.
Like in every case when we submit ourselves to accomplishing something, there’s some learning that comes out purely as a result of the constant tussle within us, apart from the inputs through multitudes of knowledge banks and visuals floating around. We are working tirelessly to make this project more impactful through multi-media outputs for the stories collected during the journey. You can read some stories about the project written by the media here: Media Coverage and some publications in other media here: Published Stories
We’re elated in the fact that the people joined us on this journey for small stretches and have taken back with them a new perspective of the river ecosystem. Others chose to take inspiration and headed out on to their own journeys, along the Ganga and other smaller rivers. If you’re excited about this project, come join us by the banks of the river, let’s walk together! The next leg is expected to last for about 6 weeks, Mid-February to Early April, details below:
The walk tentatively starts on the 18th of February from Garhmukteshwar, Uttar Pradesh and then we move upstream along the river towards Haridwar. We expect to cover this stretch between Garhmukteshwar & Haridwar in about 7-10 days, crossing the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary and the Bijnor Ganga barrage en route. From Haridwar (early March), it should take about a month to reach Gangotri, walking as close to the river as possible. On this stretch we intend to document the effect of the many hydropower dams on the lives of the locals & the local ecology. We will head out from Gangotri to Gaumukh as soon as the route is opened up by the Forest Department.
Please consider contributing to our fund raiser, we’re a young non-profit organisation trying to create impact through field level research. You can contribute here: www.veditum.org/crowdfunding
If you want to join us on this journey or if you have any questions, write to us at: [email protected]
Moving Upstream is our homegrown project, a four-month walk along the Ganga from the sea to the source being undertaken by Siddharth Agarwal. We are working to create a multifaceted experience revolving around the river. For more from the project visit: www.veditum.org/moving-upstream, and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more frequent updates.