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Visualizing the News - Taking readers on journey down the Ganges River

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The Ganges (IPA: /ˈgænʤiːz/, also Ganga pronunciation (help·info), Devanāgarī: गंगा, IAST: Gaṅgā in most Indian languages) is a major river in the Indian subcontinent flowing east through the eponymous plains of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km (1,557 mi) river begins at the Gangotri Glacier in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the central Himalayas, and drains into the Bay of Bengal through its vast delta in the Sunderbans. It has enjoyed a position of reverence for millennia among India's Hindus, by whom it is worshipped in its personified form as the goddess Ganga.  The Ganges and its tributaries drain a large – about one million square kilometres – and fertile basin that supports one of the world's highest-density human populations. It should be noted that almost half of the population of India proper live on one-third of the landscape within 500 km of the Himalayan range along the Gangetic plains.

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Reference points:   Ganga: A Journey Down the Ganges River, Island Press, $25.95 Not since Eric Newby made his own way Slowly Down the Ganges (1966) has a writer made India's great river and its goddess the subject of such a riveting travelogue. While Newby loaded his river journey with irony and understatement, journalist and National Public Radio commentator Julian Crandall Hollick takes a more serious, but ultimately more wondrous, approach. As the Ganges sweeps down from its source in the high Himalayas and flows across India, it is worshiped, pillaged, poisoned, siphoned off and diverted, until, in Hollick's vivid phrase, it "staggers exhausted into the Bay of Bengal." The river Hollick follows is both dying and eternal, exploited yet sacred. For visitors making their own way down the Ganges, this book is the ideal fellow passenger.

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