Badrinath, India 2011
This was a seven-week art and ecology project in the hill town of Badrinath, Uttarakhand where I assisted architect-artists Vaibhav Dimri and Asim Waqif to initiate conversation about the larger issue of water and pollution in the River Alaknanda and the Garhwal mountains.
Badrinath remains full with about one million pilgrims every summer that lasts about four months and is snowbound and inaccessible for the rest of the time. Most of the waste generated seasonally is either dumped into the river or burnt in backyards. It is ironical that there is rich reservoir of natural mineral water from the springs of Badrinath, an important centre of Hindu pilgrimage despite which most pilgrims (and tourists) there consume bottled drinking water most of which is ‘manufactured’ in the plains of north India. The plastic bottles further add to the total bulk of garbage. The project involved the design and installation of permanent signage (directional and descriptive) at various drinking points and natural springs in the town after mapping them. A stall was set up from where information about the project was dispensed and spring water, warmed and served to the pilgrims in queue for darshan.