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Pilgrimage to the Source of the River Ganges     2000
The journey was made passing through Haridwar, Rishikesh, Uttakarshi and Gangotri to Gaumukh - the source of the river Ganges as she flows from the glacier under the towering Shivling mountain.


Haridwar old city

Massage by the Ganga

Haridwar temple

The name Haridwar means `The gateway to God`.  It is at the point where the river Ganges flows from the Himalayas onto the north Indian plain.
Haridwar is an ancient city and of great importance to Hindus, being one of the sites of the Kumbh Mela when millions of Hindu pilgrims come to bathe in the river. 
Every evening aarti takes place on the banks, attended by thousands of pilgrims.  There is a carnival atmosphere but with great devotion.  Leaf boats are floated down the river as prayers are said.  The banks are lined with sellers and masseurs offering food and relief to tired visitors.

Haridwar street

Lotus boy at Sati Kund, Haridwar

Haridwar railway station

Many sadhus are to be found here.


Rishikesh, made famous in the west when the Beatles came here, but famous for centuries among the holy men and women of Indial as a great pilgrimage destination.  In the few days I stayed here I was able to experience the vast diversity of life here.  My hotel, one of the best in Rishikesh at the time, by western standards was relatively modest but very clean and comfortable with good food served in the restaurant.  That was an advantage because at the end of a long day exploring with Sanjeev Mehta, my guide and friend, all I wanted to do was to collapse, eat simply and go to bed.  The great benefit for me was that the hotel was on the banks of the Ganges  with my second floor room looking down onto the river and across to the forested foothills .of the Himalaya.

Two outstanding memories for me were 1 - the first night I was there.  I was sooo excited I could not sleep.  Almost every hour I was up and standing at my open window listening to the sounds of the night.  At 3.30am the first call of a bird and at 5.00am watching the first rays of dawn lighten the sky, and soon after the distant sound of chanting coming from the ashram just up river.  At 6am the first man appeared on the river bank for his morning puja to Ma Ganga, and soon after that the whole valley seemed to burst into life.

The great experience howeverwas of course meeting my guruji - Nagababa Mahesh Giri which is described in detail in this section of the site.  That realy was a life changing experience.  Although there are those who dismiss Rishikesh and the `charlatans who peddle spiritual advantages the important thing is that rather like any medicine - placebo or not - if it works in the right way for you then it is right.  Certainly meeting Mahesh Giri sent me off to the source of the Ganges a very different person to the one who had arrived in Rishikesh only a few days earlier.

On Ganga`s bank. Rishikesh. All of life seems to happen here.

The bank of the Ganga and Divine Life ashram Rishikesh

Footbridge to Swarg Ashram

To The Source of the Ganges