11-year-old Shraddha Shukla, swimmer from Uttar Pradesh, took up her biggest challenge on a humid Sunday morning — swim in the monsoon-fed, swollen Ganga from hometown Kanpur to temple town Varanasi.
Swimming wonder Shraddha Shukla, popularly known as ‘Nanhi Jalpari’, will spread her ‘Clean Ganga’ message by covering 550-km distance between Kanpur and Varanasi in 70 hours.
The girl, who took a plunge in the Ganga near Massacre Ghat in Kanpur on the eve of National Sports Day (August 29), is likely to reach Varanasi on the tenth day.
On an average, she will swim seven hours per day.
The 11-year-old started her journey into the swollen Ganga, with her inspirational message of ‘making the river clean’, amid ‘puja’ rituals and the chanting of ‘mantras’, and headed for Varanasi via Allahabad to cover 550 km in 10 days, on Sunday morning.
“She will cover a major stretch starting from Massacre Ghat in Kanpur to Varanasi in the swollen Ganga in 70 hours. On the first day, she will cover a nearly 100km of stretch starting from Massacre Ghat in the city to Chandrika Devi Ghat in Unnao,” said Shraddha’s father Lalit Shukla.
The girl from Kanpur’s Cantonment area has been swimming since one, under the watchful eyes of father-coach Lalit Shukla. He and the divers will accompany her on a traditional boat.
“After this, I will focus on achieving my dream of going to the Olympics and swimming through the English Channel,” said the girl who has been setting one record after another since she was six.