Traveling Down the Ganges, From Source to Sea

Images from the documentary Go Ganges!, which we'll be screening here on Thursday, November 29, 2012, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. The film follows two friends as they travel down India’s 1,557-mile holy river by cycle-rickshaw, rowboat, and any means necessary.

“We’re floating on a river of poo,” observes filmmaker J.J. Kelley. With more than 1/3 of India’s population of 1.2 billion relying on the Ganges for water, it has also become one of the world’s most polluted rivers.

(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)
adventure film ganges dudes on media

Images from the documentary Go Ganges!, which we'll be screening here on Thursday, November 29, 2012, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. The film follows two friends as they travel down India’s 1,557-mile holy river by cycle-rickshaw, rowboat, and any means necessary.

“We’re floating on a river of poo,” observes filmmaker J.J. Kelley. With more than 1/3 of India’s population of 1.2 billion relying on the Ganges for water, it has also become one of the world’s most polluted rivers.

The headwaters of the Ganges in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India, flows out of the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier—the largest in the Himalayas—at a place called Gomukh (literal translation: “Cow face” or “the cow’s mouth”) at about 13,000 feet.

ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


The 20-square-mile reservoir formed by the Tehri Dam near the Ganges' headwaters holds water from the world’s most populated river basin.

ganges adventure film dudes on media
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


The river runs through the foothills of the Himalayas.

ganges adventure film dudes on media
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


The team’s handmade boat, which they bought in Kanpur for $100, came complete with bamboo oars, and, according to the team’s cameraman, Dave Costello, “leaked remarkably well."

ganges adventure film dudes on media
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Despite being one of the world’s most polluted rivers, millions of Indians rely on it every day for drinking water, irrigation, and even fishing.

ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Making camp: Each night, the team camped without a tent, stove, or other modern camping gear. “We wanted to travel and experience the river as the locals do,” said filmmaker Josh Thomas.

Ganges adventure film dudes on media
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Sunrise on the Ganges: J.J. Kelley and Josh Thomas halfway through their 1,557-mile source to sea down India’s National River.

dudes on media adventure film ganges
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


The filmmakers row into the ancient and holy Hindu city of Varanasi (Benares).

Ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


In the city of Haridwar Hindu worshipers come to pay their respects to the Ganges, which they believe is a Goddess that can wash away their sins and deliver deceased loved ones to Nirvana.

Ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Filmmaker J.J. Kelley roadside with the team’s cycle-rickshaw, which they used to peddle over 310 miles along the river, from Haridwar to Kanpur.

Ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Josh Thomas preparing to take his first shift of the day on the cycle-rickshaw. The three-man team switched off peddling duties each hour for nine hours a day.

Ganges dudes on media adventure film
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


After cameraman Dave Costello came down with a severe case of amoebic dysentery, the team opted to buy an old Vespa scooter to help expedite the final leg of their journey to the Bay of Bengal.

Ganges adventure film dudes on media
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)


Sunset through the grass at the mouth of the Ganges: After 45 days and 1,557-miles, Kelley, Thomas, and Costello made it to the Indian Ocean with over 80 hours of raw footage.

Watch the full film on Thursday, November 19, 2012, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET

Ganges dudes on media adventure film documentary
(Dave Costello/Dudes On Media)

Filed To: Adventure / Film / Photography / India
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