The Ganges Expedition
The expedition will take about 30 days and is scheduled to begin in September 2009. This is the end of the rainy season and the time of the year when the river carries a lot of water, helping us master the tricky passages with rapids and sand bars. The details of our route planning will depend very much on the tasks awaiting us along the way.
Here is a rough description of the three major stretches – as we work our way down in to the Delta.
The river Ganges takes its source in this remote massiv, at the secret shrine of Gangotri, and rushes down to the plains in a torrential fury. This part we will be trekking until we are able to water our rafts.
The first 200km we will use 3 Whitewater rafts through its narrow Himalayan valley, rafting the Ganges until the pilgrimage town of Haridwar. At Haridwar, the expedition will change to the well tested inflatable boats with outboard engines. A dam diverts some of its waters into the Ganges Canal, The Ganges, whose course has been roughly southwestern until this
point, now begins to flow southeast through the plains of northern India.
Further, the river follows an 800 km curving course passing through the city of Kanpur before being joined from the southwest by the Yamuna at Allahabad. This point is known as the Sangam at Allahabad. Sangam, is a sacred place in Hinduism. According to ancient Hindu texts, at one time a third river, the Sarasvati, met the other two rivers at this point.
After entering Bangladesh, the main branch of the Ganges is known as the Padma River until it is joined by the Jamuna River the largest distributary of the Brahmaputra fanning out into the 350 km wide Ganges Delta, it finally empties into the Bay of Bengal. Only two rivers, the Amazon and the Congo, have greater discharge than the combined flow of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Surma-Meghna river system.