The Ganges: Introduction (01:59)
This segment orients viewers to Simon Reeve's adventures along three rivers. In this episode, he will travel over 1,000 miles of the Ganges and experience the cultures and religions along the river.
Devprayag, India (02:09)
Reeve begins his journey where two local rivers combine to create the Ganges. The Ganges river basin covers nearly one third of India and has one of the largest populations; Hindus worship the Ganges.
Holy Man, Babaji (01:58)
Reeve meets a holy man who provides blessings for pilgrims. Babaji meditates next to the river every day; he has lived in a cave for 12 years. Reeve receives a blessing.
River Rafting (03:36)
Reeve travels toward Rishikesh and joins a guided river run; they traverse rapids. Many Indians camp along the river.
Rishikesh, India (04:31)
In 1968, the Beatles visited a local religious retreat. Reeve stays at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram; he joins a large group praying on the banks of the Ganges.
Revering Shiva (02:13)
Shiva is most revered and most feared. Abhra Bhattacharya explains the connection between Shiva and the Ganges.
Service to the Ganga (04:16)
Every 12 years, Rishikesh hosts the Kumbh Mela. Reeve and Bhattacharya join travelers as they pay homage to the goddess Ganga and give offerings.
Bathing in the Sacred River (01:25)
Reeve and Bhattacharya immerse themselves three times in the River Ganges; Bhattacharya explains the significance.
Kanpur, India (02:22)
India has a population of over 1.2 billion; Kanpur is one of India's most polluted cities. Indians revere cows, but India is one of the largest exporters of beef and leather. Tanneries claim the hides are from water buffalo.
Animal Rights Activists (02:28)
In Kanpur, India, Reeve and Bhattacharya meet with a PETA member at a rescue center. Some British and American companies have banned Indian leather.
Leather Business (04:18)
Reeve discusses the environmental pollution from tanneries; he observes a waste water pumping station. An environmental campaigner discusses the health of the River Ganges; tanneries shift the blame.
Varanasi, India (02:00)
Varanasi is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the world; religious practices remain virtually unchanged. Reeve quotes Mark Twain.
Funerals are Big Business (02:46)
Reeve discusses the Hindu belief of escaping reincarnation. At the main cremation area, Reeve talks with a man who makes a good living controlling funerals--a family business.
Caste System and Cremations (02:47)
A citizen's job or role is often determined from birth. Bhattacharya discusses the lingering caste system. Cremations are public, ritual events; remains are put into the Ganges.
Patna, India (03:16)
In impoverished villages, movies and sports provide a welcome relief. Reeve and Bhattacharya admire a statue of Sachin Tendulkar holding the Cricket World Cup. Locals worship Tendulkar. Hear a song the villagers created in praise.
Farakka Barrage (02:31)
Reeve explains the controversy surrounding the dam and reflects on its religious connotations.
Pilgrims travel to where the Ganges enters the sea. Ferries to Sagar Island are crowded; Reeve talks with fellow passengers. India has more than 3 million places of worship but a shortage of hospitals and schools.
End of the River Ganges (01:42)
Reeve walks along the beach where the river enters the sea and reflects on its meaning. Pilgrims bathe in the water. See a preview of an upcoming episode featuring Reeve's travels along the Yangtze River.
Credits: The Ganges (00:44)
Credits: The Ganges
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