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Ganges

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Filmed in stunning high definition and coming to DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Ganges is a sumptuous series that tells the story of the most extraordinary river in the world. The Ganges runs through the heart of India. For millions of Hindus it is India’s sacred river, but they share its banks and waters with a rich variety of wildlife. In a kaleidoscope of color and energy, this amazing series reveals how the Ganges has shaped the wildlife, culture and beliefs of India. The journey begins at the source of the river, high in the cold peaks of the Himalayas. It heads down past tigers, otters, peacocks and wild herds of elephants before reaching Varanasi, one of the oldest and most sacred cities in the world. Arriving at the delta, where the Ganges meets the sea, modern cities such as Calcutta join with the ancient swamps of the Sunderbans. This amazingly diverse wetland, rarely filmed before, is home to giant lizards, man-eating crocodiles and forests full of monkeys. Here the tiger is still king, and man is on the menu.

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Watching Ganges, one might be inclined to hit the pause button every now and then so as to ponder and absorb the images that have just passed by, so breathtakingly beautiful is nearly every frame of this extraordinary film. This is the kind of production that was born to be viewed in High Definition, and one that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the groundbreaking Planet Earth. But while both series were made by the BBC, there are notable differences between the two. For one thing, Ganges is considerably shorter (its three parts total about two and a half hours); for another, while its focus is largely on nature and wildlife, it has a much more prominent human presence (no surprise, considering that the river wends its way through India, the world’s second most populous nation, and that nearly a tenth of all people on Earth live within the Ganges’ basin).

Regarded as a goddess, described as the nexus of the natural and spiritual worlds, and variously known as "The Daughter of the Mountains," "The River of Life," and "Ganga Ma" (Mother Ganges), the river begins in the Himalayas (the exact source is uncertain; four sacred sites are visited by Hindu pilgrims). Fed by numerous streams, snowmelt, glaciers, and rain, it makes its way westward across the plains of the Indian subcontinent, passing through Rishikesh, Varanasi (known as the holiest city on the river), the teeming metropolis of Calcutta, and the forbidding delta forest known as the Sunderbans before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, we see an astonishing variety of animals: snow leopards, hawk-like lammergeiers with their ten-foot wingspans, langurs and macaques, mahseer (the world’s largest carp, weighing up to 50 kilograms), peacocks, otters, cranes, tigers, rhinos, and on and on. Meanwhile, the Hindu reverence for nature is constantly apparent--especially in a village where deadly cobras roam freely in the streets, virtually ignored by the residents (who consider themselves virtually immune; bites are frequent, but no one seems to die from them, a strange anomaly in country where twenty thousand people are killed by snakes every year). The cinematography is never less than gorgeous, whether it’s a closeup of a rhododendron or a panoramic mountain vista; frequent use of time-lapse photography only adds to the grandeur (cf. an incredible sequence depicting the arrival of the summer monsoon). Expertly narrated by Sudha Bhuchar, Ganges combines bravura technique and sheer artistry to create a genuinely inspiring viewing experience. Extras include a "making of" mini-doc and deleted scenes. --Sam Graham


Special Features

  • Special Features: Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, English, Hindi and Bengali Narration.

Product Details

  • Directors: Tom Hugh-Jones
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014VPFQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Casan on April 26, 2009
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After watching this film, I fully appreciate the beauty and scope of the River Ganges. This production brings you from the Himalyas to the Bay of Bengal, where the Ganges ends. The photography of animals, birds, fish, and whatever else nature has put by the Ganges was beautiful. I expected to see more of the religious side of India, but India is made up of many religions, Hinduism being only one. This DVD is about the Ganges.

It depicts the climate changes, the monsoons, and some of the people. Cobras get some good footage, as they slither through homes, and traffic.
You don't get an in depth study of the Indian people, but a terrific film about the Ganges.
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Ganges

Great photography, unusual insight into Indian culture, history, agriculture and the like. This DVD is a good product-the average American actually knows very little about India. Who would have thought that the river was/is revered as a god entity? Who knew that the rich northern plains of India have soil 3 miles thick in some places? Who knew about the massive deforestation that took place during the Raj?
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The incredible photography and the informative comment make this film a Collectible. The Holy Ganga herself, her many moods, her significance in the Hindu culture and religion, the Hindu temples along her banks, all life forms in and around her, the climates and seasons, and her course from the beginning to culmination are portrayed so well. The narrator's calm but effective voice adds to the beauty of this program.

This is a realistic presentation which does not shy away from the modern problems of pollution and the concerns about Ganga's cleanliness, as well as the human and animal welfare along her shores, in the present and future.

One drawback is that the overall map shown does not identify the places commented on.

Excellent program.
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This is a spectacular documentary of a river and area little known to most westerners. From the Himalayas to the delta this video covers the birds, fish, animals, plants and people who live in and around the Ganges.

The video would have been better if the places covered were more clearly identified on a map. While a topographical map is shown throughout the video, cities and places are never identified on it. The narration is stunningly boring. The information given by the narrator is informative and of interest; however the voice is one unchanging monotone.

Nevertheless this is an important video, presenting wildlife, settlements, people and of course the river, not frequently covered elsewhere.
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This film depicts the history of the holiest river in India...the Ganges. The very interesting cultures that honor it. The videography is fantastic and makes you feel that you are there.
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By K.W. on March 31, 2010
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This is an outstanding video, easily one of the better 'wildlife documentaries I've seen. It is extreemely well filmed, informative, and the voice over is pleasant and well done. The soundtrack is excellent as is the over all quality (visual and audio). Wildlife is the main focus of this film, however there is a significant amount of human life documented in this film, generaly whence the two meet, such as with the wild honey farmers. If you are interested in Northern India, or wild life in general, this is definately worth picking up.
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The story of the Ganges, in three parts corresponding to the three difference geographies of the river: mountain source, clear water, and delta drainage. I have lived in southern India but not visited the Ganges basin. This video gave me a good idea of the land and a really great view of the people. Young/old, rich/poor, gender roles: all there in a well photographed and well integrated presentation. For such a quality product, the price is right!
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A very good work. Tracing the river from its orgin, giving substantial facts about the river, the life, the mythology, the wild life, the history associated with it. The way the river shapes the life in the plains of north India, while having a great religious impact over the Indian sub continent, is well documented.
A commendable work.
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