Stretching some 1,500 miles from its origins in the Himalayas to its mouth in the Bay of Bengal, the river is worshiped by many Hindus and is a water source for an estimated 400 million people.
Those who worship the river believe that it has curative powers and that immersion in its waters can absolve them of sins.
Shortly after Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, he pledged to spearhead an effort to clean up the Ganges, building more treatment plants and moving more than 400 tanneries away from the river. But that estimated $3 billion cleanup plan has faltered.
Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui traveled along the sprawling course of the Ganges, exploring the conditions that have led some people to say that the storied river is dying. Here’s some of what he saw.
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