Sacred Waters by Stephen Alter
A Pilgrimage up the Ganges River to the Source of Hindu Culture

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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.


About Stephen Alter

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Stephen Alter is writer-in-residence in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT, and was the director of the writing program at Cairo's American University. He is the author of four novels and a memoir, All the Way to Heaven, as well as the recently published Amritsar to Lahore.
Published October 17, 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 384 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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The New York Times

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The sacred waters of Stephen Alter's travelogue flow through the gorges of northern India's Himalayan country where the Ganges River begins.

Jan 13 2002 | Read Full Review of Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage u...

Publishers Weekly

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In his latest travel memoir, Alter (Amritsar to Lahore) tracks the inexorable path of "progress" and various human responses to it.

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India Today

THE PILGRIM: Stephen Alter's trip is an exercise in humility In the course of these journeys, Alter traversed roughly 600 km at altitudes ranging from four to 14,000 ft.

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