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Slowly Down The Ganges, Eric Newby; 1966

Slowly Down The Ganges, Eric Newby; 1966
slowly-down-the-ganges-eric-newby-1966
I read this classic book first in 1985 while in my mid 20s just before I started (rather late) studying Landscape Architecture.   This book is about a 1200 mile journey made by Eric Newby and his wife down the Holy Ganges from Hardwar to the Bay of Bengal.  there is something very satisfying in the written accounts of following a river from its source to its outpouring to the sea and many books are based on this kind of journey.  The Ganges is obviously highly significant both spiritually and in many other ways to many people in a number of countries.  Newby's writing seems quite clipped to me now, but this book provides an indication of the vastness of the influence and significance of the Ganges. 

In the mid-1990s I took a trip on a very slow boat through the Indian Sundarbans area, which is a Mangrove forest at its mouth.  It was this trip that was the genesis of a research project funded by DfID/British Council in Bangladesh (the Indian-Bangladeshi border cuts through the Sundarbans) looking at the impact of the shrimp industry on the landscape.  

'In almost any bazaar in India one can by a little, oblong paperback book......it contains two works, bound up together.  They are the Gangastottara-sata-namavali and the Ganga-sahasra-nama-stotra.  They enumerate the 108 and the 1,000 names of the Ganges, all printed metrically and in columns so that they can be chanted devotionally......She is The Pure, The Eternal, The Light Amid the Darkness, The Cow Which Gives Much Milk, The Liberator, The Destroyer of Poverty And Sorrow, The Creator of Happiness, to give only a few of her names' (p. 14, Introduction, 1983 Picador Edition)

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