The Source of the Ganges

Barely settled into their new life in Ludhiana, my brother and his family joined me from Punjab towards the end of my time in Uttarakhand. We met in Rishikesh, spent a night in Uttarkashi and, after another arduous jeep journey, reached the very end of the road in Gangotri. The trailhead for the source of the Ganges leads east from there.

After a bit of wrangling at the permit office over the mandatory guide (it was finally admitted that guides are not mandatory), the permits (Gangotri's power was out across town until late afternoon so that the town's sole photocopier was out of commission; only Billy's Hindi persuaded them to allow an exception in processing our papers) and Billy's camera (confiscated after a threatened bag search and refusal to pay the Rs1500 fee which came on top of our Rs600 permits), we were relieved to be on the trail late the next morning. I was even more relieved when my own camera magically came back to life after I beat it against a rock. The shutter had stopped functioning back in Rishikesh and I hadn't had time to get to the Nikon shop in Dehra Dun. Luckily, I managed to keep it alive for most of our trek.

Gear trouble and Indian bureaucracy aside, our luck couldn't have been better: we'd arrived at the very end of the monsoon. Rain had come every day since I'd touched down in India, and heavy clouds filled most the sky during our 14km upward trek to the camp, just straddling the tree line about 4km from Gaumukh glacier. But stepping outside our tent the next morning in the barren valley of Bhojbasa, the icy peaks of Bhagirathi (6856m/22624ft) rose in full view, the entire sky above the baby Ganges cyrstal clear and deep blue.




Billy Jackson said...


ann said...

Who are those beautiful children???? Thanks for being so talented!

Brooke said...

These pictures are stunning. Just took my breath away sitting at my boring old desk.

Also, as I drooled down through some previous posts I noticed that you nomitated me for the color contest but I only just realized it! First, I'm beyond flattered. Second, sorry I was lame and didn't notice it until now!

Anyway, take care and keep on taking these amazing pictures. No, amazing sounds silly. They mean something. They tell such incredible stories about people and places that, at least in the West, we never see. So thanks.

Anonymous said...

Some of the most stunning shots I have ever seen!!!