To talk about the Ganges River in India and the current contradiction between the spiritual beliefs and rituals carried out on her river banks and the toxic levels that are fast killing her, presents conceptual challenges.

Located on the banks of the Ganges is the holy city of Varanasi, described by some as “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend. Hundreds of millions come to the city from all over the country to pray, bathe and to celebrate their divine river goddess. But many others come here to cremate their dead. Most Hindus believe that by burning the corpse of their loved ones, they liberate their souls from the perpetual cycle of rebirth, enabling them to attain moksha, which is Sanskrit for liberation. It is estimated that about 32,000 human corpses are cremated in Varanasi each year.

Unfortunately though, the Ganges is now a toxic river. Its levels of pollution are terrifying. It is not only the human waste and the ashes of burnt bodies (and sometimes semi cremated bodies due to many poor families unable to afford or pay for enough wood to fully cremate the body) that pollute this river, but also industrial effluents and untreated urban sewage.

The river has become one of the most polluted on the planet, denying hundreds of millions access to clean water.

At some point, religious traditions and economical dependence on this holy river need to find a balance with Mother Nature.

Varanasi from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.


  1. Roy and Darlynn gillrie

    We were there 2 yrs. ago. Most polluted filthy place I have seen on the whole planet- and we have travelled a lot.
    Was very upset with all the hype- young handsome priests wearing gold jewel roy and Rolex watches giving a ceremony every night while people collect trays of money from poor people!
    Saw many bodies not completely burned being dumped in the river- couldn’t believe it. Not only that but it happens all over India as the people believe every little river or stream ends up in the Ganges.

  2. Jorge Morato

    Impresionante, otra cultura. La suciedad y Liga pobreza son parte de la mística religiosa.
    Me gusta la fotografía y la edición.
    No está en mi plan de viaje varnasi, por lo que aprecio mucho este video.
    Saludos y buena estadía en.buenos Aires y Australia!

    1. Gaby Post author

      Gracias Jorge, India es todo una experiencia y presenta muchos desafíos y contradicciones , que lastima que no pudimos juntarnos hubiéramos tenido unas conversaciones muy interesantes ….. sera en Australia ! un abrazo

  3. Ana

    Me uede sin palabras, seguramente el mejor video de sus viajes …pero las imagenes y la gente ya dicen todo. No se…..muy fuerte…impacta. En un momento pensé ue era una película…lo vi varias veces …y cada vez encuentro algo nuevo. Gracias por compartir.


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