Monday, December 17, 2007

The X-factor in Ganga jal

"The mughal king Akbar believed that the water of Ganga was the elixir of life, and carried it with him during his campaigns"

"Ganga-jal was the only water carried on British ships bound to Britain, since it was the only water that would not get spoilt"

So says NPR's latest post on the Ganga [Ganges for the english-speaking ones :-) ]. Their correspondent talked to a whole bunch of people to ask two questions:

1. Why does Ganga water hold so much more oxygen than the other waters?
2. Why don't we get water-borne epidemics although so many people bathe in its waters, esp. in occasions like the kumbh mela?

During my years in ITBHU, the ganga was always a big part of life, it being Varanasi and all, but I guess I have begun to appreciate it more when "outsiders" [read NPR] showed an interest in it. I still don't completely understand what their fascination with the river is -- maybe it is the X-factor?

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