THE GANGES SUP
GangesSUP is a record-breaking, world’s first descent of the entire length of the river Ganges by stand up paddleboard. An expedition for purpose, the vision and mission of this journey are to empower awareness and advocacy for cleaner water, via adventure.
On 3rd October 2016, the expedition kicked off on foot in Gaumukh, the ‘visible’ source of the Ganges at the altitude of 4100m in the Indian Himalayas. On 11th January 2017-101 days and 2977 kms later, the team paddled to the mouth of the Ganges at GangarSagar
The expedition also marks a world record- Shilpika Gautam broke the world record for the longest continuous stand up paddle boarded distance by a female in 1 journey, source to sea – current Guinness world record is 2231 kms while Shilpika covered well over 2500 kms!
WHY – the aims of the project?
The idea was first conceived by Shilpika Gautam (Shilps) in late 2015 – a deep desire to reconnect with her roots in India, a propensity for following through on slightly mad adventurous instincts and wanting to combine the novelty of the SUP sport with the purpose of raising an imminent and serious environmental issue led to the birth of Gangessup. Ironically at this point, Shilps had only SUP’ed for a few hours.
The issue of water pollution is certainly not unique to the Ganges alone – in fact, as one of the greatest rivers in the world which supports well over 500 million people, the Ganges symbolizes the scale and urgency with which we must all be engaged in saving our water bodies – be it ponds, canals, rivers or oceans. Conversely what is unique to the river is the vast chasm between its essence and its physical form – the fact that the river which is sacred and holy and a goddess to hundreds of millions are suffering at the very hands of those it nurtures.
The media often use negative examples to describe the ongoing efforts to clean our water bodies – we, however, wanted to highlight the positive stories from this river-of-life, of the challenges that the least connected and underprivileged living along its banks face on a daily basis, and how public/private efforts are transforming their quality of life, one village at a time.
About Shilpika Gautam
Shilpika Gautam is an India born, global living, world record breaking adventurer for Purpose. Having swapped her corporate life of Banking and consulting for the pursuit of ‘adventurous activism’, she is a passionate advocate for ‘doing good better’, the environment and the empowerment of women.
Shilpika is now working on a number of international projects to channel her finance, technology and entrepreneurial experience to create businesses for social and environmental impact.