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Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Crofton, Maryland
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Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

I might be going to Varanasi and it would be so cool if I could get wet with the water from the Ganges somehow there. Is it safe for an American to do that? What would be the chance of contracting a disease?

Mumbai, India
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for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai, India
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1. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Water is very dirty; I would not suggest you go swimming. Hindus believe the water will cleanse sins; so for many the water, no matter how dirty, is still holy, and they will take a dip. It is also a practice in Hinduism - if you feel like losing your sins, that is - to sprinkle a little bit of water on your head, it is sort of equivalent to being blessed by the water.

Mumbai
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2. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

As per my understanding, no one should really be swimming in that water. However, millions do due to personal convictions and I would not sneer at them for that. I myself do stuff which others may not.

I do not know whether Americans would be worse affected than say the British or the Belgians or Australians or even Indians.

I have not done research on illnesses contracted by Americans swimming in the Ganges.

I have read some amount about Ganges pollution, so there should be plenty of data on the net.

You may decide.

Kolkata, India
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for Kolkata, Darjeeling, India
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3. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

If you really want to take a dip, I suggest you go to Haridwar or Rishikesh, where the water is much cleaner and less polluted than it is further downstream. Be careful though, the current is very strong, and many people drown every year thinking they can take daredevil chances against the river.

As Deepa said, sprinkling a few drops on your head is also a symbolic way to "cleanse your sins".

Last but not least, beware of the sharks, crocs, and piranhas. You will find a number of them around the ghats in Varanasi, insisting you do all sorts of Pujas and rituals to lighten the burden of your sins, and in due course, your wallet.

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

The contents of the Ganges waters is well known. Look at the list of the contents and you logically could not like it. I have bathed at the Sangam in Allahabad, and also in Haridwar. Haridwar is cold and refreshing, but in neither place did I 'inhale'! Millions of Indian people bathe in Ganga and you do not hear of major mass illness, I suspect there may be an immunity issue. I took a litre of Ganga water in 2001 and it sits on my dresser. With river water left standing, you would expect biomatter to degrade and yield an odour. My Ganga water is odourless, after 8 years. Technically, Ganga water is not hospitable to microbes, proven. I have been offered water to take orally and cowardice has always prevailed. A bushy beard helps. I would love to bathe at Varanasi, but I have not and will not. If religious observance is the issue, I think you might be ok, but I would really keep my mouth shut. If you just want to tick a chart and say 'been there and done that', better take a shower, say your prayers and perform a charitable act. God will understand.

New Delhi, India
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for New Delhi, India
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5. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

I was at Varanasi last year. I am a devout Hindu, but even I could not muster up the courage to even dip my hands in Ganga, leave alone bathing at Varanasi Ghats... It's not water IT'S MUCK.

A little search on Google will show you that Fecal Matter in Ganga at Varanasi is thousands time more than tolerance limit.

In one line....Just don't do it.

alleppey
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6. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Dont do it, Its not safe for human beings, Being a American it does not make any difference. The river cant differentiate between a Indian and American

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

The pollution in the ganges in Varanasi is 300x's that of normal allowances for pollution in water.

Most doctors DO NOT recommended that ANYONE be in these waters.

Holland
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8. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Bathing in the Ganges is best done in Rishikesh or further up river.

Don't swim unless you are very strong swimmer.

I talked to a Anglo Indian guy there 5-6 years ago, we had a great chat in a restaurant, a hour later he drowned in the Ganga.

1 of 5 people who drowned that week.

It was tragic to see his mother and father when they flew out from Britain.

Varanasi
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9. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Yes , it is 100% safe to swim in River Ganges but only if you are a good swimmer because you will find more deep when you will start moving towards the mid.

Yes, water is little bit dirty but as you now millions of people take bath in river ganges and do not have problems after bath.

It is saying here that if you take bath in river ganges than all your sins will be vanished and also

that if you have any small body problem like, skin,headache or fever; it clears after taking bath.

You will be surprised knowing this that if you will keep river ganges water for years then also you will not find bacteria or insect in that.This because water that flows in river ganges has radiation and this radiation is so balanced that instead of harming, it protects human body from various deceases.

Varanasi
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10. Re: Is it safe for an American to swim in the Ganges?

Yes , it is 100% safe to swim in River Ganges but only if you are a good swimmer because you will find more deep when you will start moving towards the mid.

Yes, water is little bit dirty but as you now millions of people take bath in river ganges and do not have problems after bath.

It is saying here that if you take bath in river ganges than all your sins will be vanished and also

that if you have any small body problem like, skin,headache or fever; it clears after taking bath.

You will be surprised knowing this that if you will keep river ganges water for years then also you will not find bacteria or insect in that.This because water that flows in river ganges has radiation and this radiation is so balanced that instead of harming, it protects human body from various deceases.