Taking a long walk along the Ganges

Traversing over 3000 km course of Ganges on foot, Filmmaker Siddharth Agarwal documents the stories & myths from the people dwelling in the proximity of the mighty river.

Walking has the capacity to evoke a sense of togetherness and an experience of harmony with strangers and nature alike.

Undertaking the project of documenting the lives around the Ganges some years back,  Agarwal started the trip with a film crew travelling alongside in a car. Towards the end of a month in the journey, they departed and he was on his own shooting his footage with a DSLR and a GoPro.He was joined by one of his pals from Bihar during the last stretch of journey.

Running  a non-profit organisation, the Veditum India Foundation, focused on environmental research and documentation. He raised the fund for  his walk and film through three crowdfunding campaigns that raised a total of ₹6 lakh.

Earlier on a 700-km walk across Rajasthan, he was awakened to the ambitious idea of tramping along the length of one of the world’s mightiest rivers.

He came across with the local activists and fishing communities lamenting their hardships to  find the hilsa in certain months of the year and their apprehensions about the decision to use the course from Haldia in West Bengal to Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh as National Waterways 1, a major route for cargo ships, stands to further endanger the already endangered Gangetic river dolphin which uses sonar or sound waves to navigate, communicate and hunt.

Walking along the Ganga he realised that because of its ecological profile and the terrains it drains the muddy nature of the river is innate but the dumping of swell of plastic and other toxic industrial waste is disconcerting and hazardous to mankind.

Time and again many Environmental activists, film makers and journalists have come together to stir up the conversation on renewable energy sources and pollution control through technology, public policy and cooperation.

Ganga is scheduled to be  screened at the Science Film Festival in Kerala and then at a series of festivals across the country.

Cover image: Crossing the Ganga with pilgrims at Sultanganj, Bihar. (PC: Siddharth Agarwal)

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