Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage Up the Ganges River to the Source of Hindu Culture
This is an account of a journey taken in India. The destination is the source of the Ganges, the holy and most famous of Indian rivers. It is a physical journey, involving train rides across the vast plains and passages on foot far into snow-covered valleys and mountains. It is also a spiritual journey, taking a man deep into the heart and soul of the ancient religious culture of India.
Stephen Alter, who was born in the Himalayan foothills, crosses many miles, and several millennia, to search for the source of Indian religion. Along the way, as he reaches one holy spot after another, meeting grounds for pilgrims, remote towns, and forgotten temples, he delves into the myths and traditions of an antique land. He explores the tales of heroic derring-do, evil and good, and recounts the great stories of death, warfare, passions, and sacred wisdom that animate the vibrant history and religious traditions of India. As every pilgrim learns, a spiritual search involves travel but ultimately returns to the inner self. Sacred Waters is a richly told narrative of a beautiful land and of a man's interior journey, and is for readers everywhere who seek to plumb their own spiritual sources.
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This is one of my all time favorite books. The part of the India where he traveled is really fascinating as every place has meaning in the Hindu mythology and he talks about that as he travels around on the "char dham yatra". It makes me want to follow in his same path even though it has changed a lot since he made the pilgrimage.