1. "I wished I had renounced the faith, taken a rosary in my hand, put a sectarian mark on my forehead, tied a sacred thread round my waist and seated myself on the bank of the Ganges so that I could wash the contamination of existence away from myself and like a drop be one with the river."
- Pavan K. Varma, Ghalib: The Man
2. "So abased, so monotonous is everything that meets the eye, that when the Ganges comes down it might be expected to wash the excrescence back into the soil. Houses do fall, people are drowned and left rotting, but the general outline of the town persists, welling here, shrinking there, like some low but indestructible form of life."
- E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
3. "Even if you have mountains of jewels and as many servants as there are grains of sand along the Ganges, you see them when your eyes are open. But what about when your eyes are shut?You should realize then that everything you see is like a dream or illusion."
- Bodhidharma, The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma
4. "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden
5. "We cannot see Beauty till we let go our hold of it. It was Buddha who conquered the world, not Alexander - this is untrue when stated in dry prose - oh when shall we be able to sing it? When shall all these most intimate truths of the universe overflow the pages of printed books and leap out in a sacred stream like the Ganges from the Gangotrie?"
- Quote by Rabindranath Tagore
6. "...yet, unbeknownst to him, it had been kept alive - and it was only now, in listening to Deet's songs, that he recognized that the secret source of its nourishment was music: he had always had a great love of dadras, chaitis, barahmasas, horis, kajris - songs such as Deeti was singing. Listening to her now, he knew why Bhojpuri was the language of this music: because of all the tongues spoken between the Ganges and the Indus, there was none that was its equal in the expression of the nuances of love, longing and separation - of the plight of those who leave and those who stay at home."
- Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies
7. "Delhi is not just a national capital, it is one of the political ultimates, one of the prime movers. It was born to power, war and glory. It rose to greatness not because holy men saw visions there but because it commanded the strategic routes from the northwest, where the conquerors came from, into the rich flatlands of the Ganges delta. Delhi is a soldiers' town, a politicians' town, journalists', diplomats' town. It is Asia's Washington, though not so picturesque, and lives by ambition, rivalry and opportunism."
- Quote by Jan Morris
8. "He has spent weeks on the pristine, frosty shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia. He has drunk himself stupid in the fairy-tale blood brothels of old Dubrovnik, lounged in red-smoke dens in Laos, enjoyed the New York blackout of 1977, and more recently, feasted on Vegas showgirls in the Dean Martin suite at the Bellagio. He has watched Hindu abstainers wash away their sins in the Ganges, danced a midnight tango on a boulevard in Buenos Aires, and bitten into a faux geisha under the shade of a shogun pavilion in Kyoto."
- Matt Haig, The Radleys
9. "English literature, from the days of the minstrels to the Lake Poets—Chaucer and Spenser and Milton, and even Shakespeare, included—breathes no quite fresh and, in this sense, wild strain. It is an essentially tame and civilized literature, reflecting Greece and Rome. … Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? ... I do not know of any poetry to quote which adequately expresses this yearning for the Wild. ... The West is preparing to add its fables to those of the East. The valleys of the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rhine having yielded their crop, it remains to be seen what the valleys of the Amazon, the Plate, the Orinoco, the St. Lawrence, and the Mississippi will produce."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walking
10. "A far cicada rings high and clear over the river’s heavy wash. Morning glory, a lone dandelion, cassia, orchids. So far from the nearest sea, I am taken aback by the sight of a purple land crab, like a relict of the ancient days when the Indian subcontinent, adrift on the earth’s mantle, moved northward to collide with the Asian landmass, driving these marine rocks, inch by inch, five miles into the skies. The rise of the Himalaya, begun in the Eocene, some fifty million years ago, is still continuing: an earthquake in 1959 caused mountains to fall into the rivers and changed the course of the great Brahmaputra, which comes down out of Tibet through northeastern India to join the Ganges near its delta at the Bay of Bengal."
- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard