Swami Sundaranand (born 1926 in India) is a Yogi, photographer, author and mountaineer who lectures widely in India on threats to the Ganges River and the loss of Himalayan glaciers due to global warming. As an ascetic, he took the brahmacharya sadhu vow over 59 years ago and daily devotes his life to rigorous meditation and other spiritual practices. He continues to be a principal advocate for the ecological preservation of the Himalayas, the Ganges and its source at Gangotri.

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  • Swami Sundaranand (born 1926 in India) is a Yogi, photographer, author and mountaineer who lectures widely in India on threats to the Ganges River and the loss of Himalayan glaciers due to global warming. Sundarananda was a student of the reclusive yoga master Swami Tapovan Maharaj (1889–1957), who wrote in the late 19th and early 20th centuries about yogic life in the Himalayas in the classic yoga book Wanderings in the Himalayas (Himagiri Vihar). Sundaranand lived with Swami Tapovan in the then inaccessible area of Gangotri, at the source of the Ganges, which is considered one of India’s most sacred places. Since 1946, he has lived by the Ganges in Gangotri, at 10,400 feet, in a modest hut (kuti) which his master Swami Tapovan bequeathed to him on his death. There, Swami Sundaranand has lived in solitude and through the severest of winters without any comforts or conveniences. He has witnessed up close the gradual shrinking of the Gangotri Glacier from which the Ganges springs forth, and has chronicled his devotion to the natural beauty of the Indian Himalayas as an accomplished photographer. A museum devoted to environmental protection and spiritual guidance, containing Swami Sundaranand's Himalayan photography, is now in the planning stages. It will be located in Gangotri on the property of Sundaranand and his master. As an ascetic, he took the brahmacharya sadhu vow over 59 years ago and daily devotes his life to rigorous meditation and other spiritual practices. He continues to be a principal advocate for the ecological preservation of the Himalayas, the Ganges and its source at Gangotri. He has taken more than 100,000 photos, over a 50-year period, of the shrinking Gangotri glacier in the Indian Himalayas. He now travels India raising awareness of the Gangotri's rapid decline. Nicknamed "the Sadhu Who Clicks" because of his photography, he is also a noted mountain climber, having scaled over 25 Himalayan peaks, and climbing twice with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Sir Edmund Hillary paid his respects to Swami Sundaranad in the 1980s at his Gangotri hut. Of the Gangotri glacier, Swami Sundaranand says: "In 1949, when I first saw the glacier, I felt as if all my sins were washed away and I had truly attained rebirth. But now, it is impossible to experience that Ganga of the past." Swami Sundaranand is the author of the book Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sadhu with over 425 photographs spanning 60 years of his work. The book also contains a letter of endorsement from the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He sought to capture the Eternal in Nature and to document the region as it once was with a special emphasis on planting the seeds of hope and inspiration to solve the environmental concerns of the area. A lookout point and plaque have been built downriver from Gangotri and dedicated to the Swami's work and efforts. Swami Sundaranand is the subject of a feature documentary shot at his home in Gangotri titled Personal Time with Swamiji. The film was produced by The Center for Healing Arts and directed by Victor Demko. (en)
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  • 1926-1-1
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  • Swami Sundaranand (en)
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  • 1926-01-01 (xsd:date)
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  • Yogi, photographer, and mountaineer
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  • Indian environmentalist (en)
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  • Swami Sundaranand (born 1926 in India) is a Yogi, photographer, author and mountaineer who lectures widely in India on threats to the Ganges River and the loss of Himalayan glaciers due to global warming. As an ascetic, he took the brahmacharya sadhu vow over 59 years ago and daily devotes his life to rigorous meditation and other spiritual practices. He continues to be a principal advocate for the ecological preservation of the Himalayas, the Ganges and its source at Gangotri. (en)
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  • Swami Sundaranand (en)
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  • Swami Sundaranand (en)
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