Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access November 22, 2020

Experiencing the Riverscape: An Eco-Spiritual Decoding of Gangetic ‘Triveni-Sangam’ in select writings of Neelum Saran Gour

Chhandita Das and Priyanka Tripathi EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies


Contemporary times have triggered for an interdisciplinary cusp between disciplines that were conventionally read in a hinged academic encore. The Gangetic ‘Triveni-Sangam’ near Allahabad city where three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati converge, is believed to be the holiest riverscape as one drop of amrit (nectar) during ocean churning by Gods and demons fell into its water and therefore, bathing and dipping in this sangam or confluence is considered auspicious. It is not that people only experience such spiritual values, rather internalize the same, even sometimes beyond religious restraints formulating a holistic human and ecological bonding. Therefore, river or for that matter riverscape like sangam transcends the environmental physical boundary to the living one as it shapes people’s experiences and accordingly adds meaning in their lives. Indian English author Neelum Saran Gour’s fictional representation of the riverscape of Gangetic ‘Triveni-Sangam’ in her select writings like Allahabad Aria (2015), Invisible Ink (2015), and Requiem in Raga Janki (2018) are woven within the interdisciplinary framework of ‘eco-spirituality’. The present research will examine how riverscape as an eco-spiritual entity shapes individuals’ experiences and helps them to locate the ‘self’ both in vyashti (the individual) and samashti (the collective) scale.

Woks Cited

Agarwal, Guru Das. “A Critique of Loharinag-Pala, Pala-Maneri and Other Hydroelectric Projects on R. Bhagirath.” Indiawaterportal, 26 Oct. 2008, Accessed 8 October 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Baker, Tora. “A 10-Year Photographic Journey along the Ganges that Shows the Effects of Climate Change.” Creative Boom, 29 Mar. 2019, Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Bharadwaj, Surinder Mohan. Hindu Places of Pilgrimage in India: A Study in Cultural Geography. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1999.Search in Google Scholar

Bharati, Radhakant. Rivers of India. National Book Trust, 1985.Search in Google Scholar

Bhattacharya, Deben. The Mirror of the Sky: Songs of the Bauls from Bengal. Allen and Unwin, 1969.Search in Google Scholar

Chapple, Christopher Key, and Marry Evelyn Tucker. Hinduism and Ecology. Harward Divinity Publication, 2000.Search in Google Scholar

Czaya, Eberhard. Rivers of the World. Cambridge University Press, 1981.Search in Google Scholar

Dai, Mamang. “Small Towns and the River”. Dalitweb.Org, Accessed 11 Jan. 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Dange, Sadashiv A. Encyclopedia of Puranic Beliefs and Practices. Navarang, 1989.Search in Google Scholar

Darian, Steven. “The Ganges in Indian Art.” East and West, vol. 23, no. 3/4, 1973, pp. 307-325. JSTOR, Accessed 13 Jan. 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Darian, Steven. The Ganges in Myth and History. The University Press of Hawaii, 1978.Search in Google Scholar

Dimmitt, Cornelia. Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas. Temple University Press, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Doniger, Wendy. Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism. University of Chicago Press, 1990.Search in Google Scholar

Drew, Georgina. River Dialogues: Hindu Faith and the Political Ecology of Dams on the Sacred Ganga. The University of Arizona Press, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Eagleton, Terry. “Postcolonialism and ‘Postcolonialism’.” Interventions, vol. 1, no. 1, 1998, pp. 24–26.10.1080/13698019800510071Search in Google Scholar

Eck, Diana L. “India’s “Tirthas”: “Crossings” in Sacred Geography.” History of Religions, vol. 20, no. 4, 1981, pp. 323–344.10.1086/462878Search in Google Scholar

Eck, Diana L. “The Goddess Ganges in Hindu Sacred Geography.” Devi: Goddesses of India, edited by J. S. Hawley and D. M. Wulff, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1998, pp. 137–153.10.1525/9780520916296-010Search in Google Scholar

Edgeworth, Matt. Fluid Pasts: Archaeology of Flow. Classical Press (Bloomsbury Academic), 2011.Search in Google Scholar

Erb, Cynthia. “A Spiritual Blockbuster: Avatar, Environmentalism, and the New Religions.” Journal of Film and Video, vol. 66, no. 3, 2014, pp. 3–17. JSTOR, Accessed 16 Jan. 2020. 10.5406/jfilmvideo.66.3.000310.5406/jfilmvideo.66.3.0003Search in Google Scholar

Gour, Neelum Saran. Allahabad: Where the Rivers Meet. Marg Publications, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

Gour, Neelum Saran. Invisible Ink. Harper Collins Publishers India, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Gour, Neelum Saran. Allahabad Aria. Rupa Publications India, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Gour, Neelum Saran. Requiem in Raga Janki. Penguin Viking, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

Gupta, Agam. Unfolding Faith: A Journey to the Kumbh. Partridge Publishing, 2013.Search in Google Scholar

Haberman, David L. River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India. University of California Press, 2006.10.1525/9780520939622Search in Google Scholar

Heise, U. K. Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global. Oxford University Press, 2008. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335637.001.0001.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335637.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Huggan, Graham, and Helen Tiffin. Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2015. doi:10.4324/9781315768342.10.4324/9781315768342Search in Google Scholar

Indian Institutes of Technology. “Cultural-Religious Aspects of Ganga Basin”, 2013, Accessed 15 Jan. 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Jamison, Stephanie W., and Joel P. Brereton. Introduction. The Rigveda: The Earliest Religious Poetry of India. Translated by Jamison and Brereton. Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 1–84.Search in Google Scholar

Kumar, Dilip. “River Ganges – Historical, Cultural and Socioeconomic Attributes.” Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, vol. 20, no. 1-2, 2017, pp. 8–20. doi:10.1080/14634988.2017.1304129.10.1080/14634988.2017.1304129Search in Google Scholar

Love, Glen A. Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment. University of Virginia Press, 2003.Search in Google Scholar

Maclean, Kama. Pilgrimage and Power: The Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, 1765-1954. Oxford University Press, 2008. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338942.001.0001.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338942.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Madan, P. L. River Ganga: A Cartographic Mystery. Manoharlal Publishers and Distributors, 2005.Search in Google Scholar

Manzo, Lynne C. “For Better or Worse: Exploring Multiple Dimensions of Place Meaning.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, 2005, pp. 67–86. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2005. in Google Scholar

Olivelle, Patrick. The Early Upanisads. Oxford University Press, 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Paz, Octavio. Alternating Current. The Viking Press, 1973.Search in Google Scholar

Prasad, R. U. S. River and Goddess Worship in India: Changing Perceptions and Manifestations of Sarasvati. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2017. doi:10.4324/9781315209401.10.4324/9781315209401Search in Google Scholar

Quayson, Ato. Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process? Polity Press, 2000.Search in Google Scholar

Rocher, Ludo. The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 1986.Search in Google Scholar

Rössler, Mechtild. “World Heritage Cultural Landscapes: A UNESCO Flagship Programme 1992–2006.” Landscape Research, vol. 31, no. 4, 2006, pp. 333–353. doi:10.1080/01426390601004210.10.1080/01426390601004210Search in Google Scholar

Roy, Arindam. “Where Nectar Split.” Allahabad: Where the Rivers Meet, edited by Neelum Saran Gour, Marg Publications, 2009, pp. 31 – 44.Search in Google Scholar

Sivananda, Swami. Mother Ganga. The Divine Life Society, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

Sivaramakrishnan, Murali. “Echoing Eco-Spiritual Values for a New World.” Ecological Criticism for Our Times: Literature, Nature and Critical Inquiry, edited by Murali Sivaramakrishnan and Ujjwal Jana, Author Press, 2011, pp. 27–42.Search in Google Scholar

Swanson, Peter. Water: The Drop of Life. North Word Press, 2001.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2020-08-08
Accepted: 2020-10-13
Published Online: 2020-11-22

© 2020 Chhandita Das et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 31.1.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow