Compass Blog

Brett On The Water: Ganges River, Part I

Locations: India

Explorer in Residence, Brett Rogers, has led expeditions on the Mackenzie, Yukon and Mississippi Rivers. Over a total of 10 months, he spanned a total distance of 9,000 kilometers without burning a tank of gas. The focus of these expeditions was never about being the first, the fastest or to re-enact past expeditions. Rather, the goal has always been to capture the unforgiving experiences of the modern day journey; propelled by the compelling people, secrets and dangers encountered along the way.

Brett believes storytelling can change the world.

His latest expedition took him to the Ganges River, on a three week trip to discover the real story of India’s sacred river. The expedition began at the meeting of the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers, the two holiest rivers in Hinduism, in the city of Allahabad. Here, a traditional wooden boat was purchased and a local boatman hired to undertake the expedition. Brett and his crew then traveled 10 days on the Ganges River from Allahabad to Gazipur.  During the expedition, all food and water was purchased along the river and every night, camp was set up on shore. Brett's ultimate goal was to travel the Ganges through an unfiltered lens – not as a western tourist. “Many people go to India but very few travel by row boat down the river Ganges. Having traveled North America's rivers for a total of 9 months it is safe to say that 3 weeks on the Ganges will be as powerful as all my river travels combined. If rivers have taught me anything it's that the most interesting people live at the river's bank; the Ganges will be no different!

In his blog series, Brett shares his adventure of paddling the Ganges River as an intrepid explorer and story teller. From his arrival to the bustling city of Delhi and travels to the foothills of the Himalayas to his introduction to the Ganges, Brett brings this holy river to life with the enriching experiences and new friends he gained along the way. As Brett would say, “See you on the riv!”

December 9, 2012

Long story short, Matt and I had  a major delay in Europe thanks to plane problems. The good news is 13 hours later we made it to Delhi and united with Doug and Cliff.  The bad news is our bags are somewhere in Europe.  Aside from that minor bump in the road our first day in India was incredible.

A big special thanks to Kensington Tours who has truly done an incredible job connecting us with their best guides in India.  We toured Old Delhi today which was an incredible first impression of India. To top it off were staying in the best hotel in Delhi, the Taj Mahal City Centre which redefines what a 5 star hotel is all about. Yes… were spoiled.

Enjoy these pics. I am jet legged and ready for bed. And let’s hope our bags can make it before we head out on the Ganges.  Either way this trip is going to be one for the ages.

December 10, 2012

All is great. We took the train from Delhi to Haridwar and then took an hour drive to Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalayas. Most of the pictures are from Rishikesh. This city reminds me of Laos with a hint of Peru. So far I can’t say that I have been overwhelmed (culture shocked), just plenty impressed by the beauty of India.

December 11, 2012

Today Cliff and myself washed away a combined total of 65 years of sins. Hindu’s believe that if one dips themselves into the Ganga all the sins they have acquired throughout life will be washed away. This was honestly one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

We continued to be blown away by India. For the past few days we have taken refuge at a beautiful resort called Hotel Ganga Kinare. Nestled snugly on the banks of a tranquil River Ganges, Hotel Ganga Kinare is a charming retreat in the sanctum of Rishikesh, a land where spirituality and Mother Nature blend into a heady concoction. We have enjoyed the many friendly smiles, great food and the beautiful view of the Ganga. We will be said to leave tomorrow but a new adventure awaits as soon we will begin our journey on the Ganga herself.


As a filmmaker, Brett has been mentored by Les Stroud, (Survivorman), who has helped guide Brett into becoming a storyteller. Les is the Executive Producer of Brett's last two expeditions, the Yukon and Mississippi Rivers. The Yukon documentary, 100 Days, is a firsthand account of Brett's expedition down the Yukon River from Whitehorse, Yukon to the Bering Sea. The Old Man River Project, was a 110 day undertaking on the Mississippi River from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in a historic York Boat that was constructed specifically for this expedition.

Aside from his own projects, Brett has worked in television on Survivorman, Les Stroud’s Beyond Survival, Megaworld, Mighty Ships and Top Chef Canada. As an instructor of TV Documentary at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario Brett continues to emphasize that passion and creativity are the fundamental elements required to tell compelling stories. Brett has undertaken camera assignments in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Peru, Chile, Antarctica, South Georgia Island, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and throughout the 10 States that boarder the Mississippi River.

Brett is a recent and proud member to The Explorers Club. Founded in New York City in 1904, The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore.

Brett has been featured on Breakfast Television, Daily Planet, Canada AM, The Weather Network, ABC News, the National Post, KW Record, Toronto Sun, Advocate of Baton Rouge, Hamilton Spectator, Waterkeeper Magazine, CBC Radio, and National Geographic Traveler, The Documentary Channel & more.



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