A Geordie Up the Ganges: The journey of a lifetime - that might just save her life.

By Nell Cook.

In 2013 I visited India and loved the country so much I was inspired to write a novel.

What prompted me to visit this amazing country? Well, it began with my passion for yoga and a desire to visit the country where the practice had been established around five thousand years ago.

I’d been planning my trip for two years when life threw a curveball at me. I was given a bombshell diagnosis of kidney cancer just five days before departure. I emerged from the initial shock determined not to let fear get in the way of my adventure of a lifetime and boarded the plane to New Delhi. My treatment could wait until I got home – I had an incredible country to explore!

New Delhi

I survived my adventure and cancer and emerged from the whole experience with a burning desire to write a fiction story inspired by what I’d experienced. My goal is to entertain and also to get the messages out there that;

  • If you’re faced with a frightening diagnosis, don’t give up hope.
  • You do have the courage to take that trip you’ve always yearned for.

The journey of a lifetime

The places and events featured in A Geordie Up the Ganges

The story follows the route of the Ganges starting at New Delhi and then Haridwar; Rishikesh; Allahabad; Varanasi; Kolkata and Sundarbans.  Some adventures experienced by the characters include; witnessing the Kumbh Mela, the biggest festival on earth; the Holi Celebrations and the spirituality of the Ganga Evening Aarti Ceremony. Travelling on sleeper trains, buses and country sailing boats they explore the real India and meet extraordinary Indian people.

Burning Ghat Varanasi

My poignant and humorous novel, A Geordie Up the Ganges, is available as an Ebook or paperback on Amazon at the following link.

A Geordie Up the Ganges: The journey of a lifetime – that might just save her life

  Camping on the Ganges

A sweeping Indian adventure of one woman’s search for self-discovery. Inspired by real events.

Sunrise on The Ganges

Lose yourself in a tale that follows the route of the beating heart of India – The Holy River Ganges.

Fortunate are those people

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of New Delhi; the spirituality of Rishikesh and Haridwar; the intoxicating Kumbh Mela; ancient Varanasi; Kolkata, known as the City of Joy; the wildlife of Sundarbans.

A perfect read if you’ve ever been to India, plan to visit India in the future, or are interested in this amazing country.

  Morning Puja Varanasi

Amazon Reviews 

5***** Skyelady: Nell Cook has captured the pure essence of India – its sights, sound, smells, colour and, of course, the rich, historical culture of its people. Her Geordie wit shines through and, together with a soul searching storyline, makes it a great read. 

5***** Judi: From the moment you start reading you are caught. Moments we have all experienced, felt and either laughed about or cried over. I found it really hard to put down and was constantly telling my friends about it. Highly recommend reading this. While there is depth behind the story it is easy reading and you are constantly wanting to know what happens next. Loved it, Thanks Nell a truly enjoyable book.

5***** Jan G: The book captured beautifully, the intense sights, sounds, smells, madness and occasional moments of calm Jen experiences in this magnificent country whilst travelling with a misfit group.The story unfolds with humour and pathos and was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Devotees


I gasped, agog at my first sight of Haridwar. The Ganges snaked ahead of us, at the centre of a scene straight out of an epic movie about a faraway land. Vijay had told us the steps on each side of the river were called ghats. Today they were a heaving blanket of living, breathing humanity. Colourful buildings, temples and a clock tower punctured the skyline. For as far as the eye could see, the area was a mass of millions of people. Overlooking the spectacle was a majestic one-hundred-foot statue of Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil. A cobra encircled his neck representing past, present and future and the trident in his hand depicted will, action and wisdom.

It had been twelve years since the last Kumbh Mela at Haridwar and the vibe and excitement crackled in the air. Somehow our driver snaked through impossible gaps in the jam-packed traffic. As we approached the site of the festival the buzzing, humming mass grew larger. On the long dusty road to the entrance, a red truck pulling an open trailer filled with twelve wraithlike nagas sped past. Their brown bodies covered in white ash gleamed in the sunlight. Some with dreadlocks down to their waists and others with their hair tied up in buns. Dressed in loincloths, they waved in delight at us through the minibus window.

We were to visit Har-Ki-Pauri ghat later in the day to watch the bathing rituals. This most revered ghat was also known as the Steps of Shiva, where Hindus believed Lord Vishnu had left his giant footprint on a rock. According to legend, Vijay told us, Lord Shiva created the river here when he sent the Ganges cascading down from his locks of hair.

We made our way across the bridge and were swallowed up by the hordes. The millions of people stretched further than I could see to the south. I turned to look northward and was greeted by a similar sight. Stretching away into the distance, people flowed forever onward like the Ganges. I looked towards the east where the human sea swirled around obstacles, people streaming forward as if invisible hands pulled them onward towards the water’s edge. To the west the swell of humanity rolled forward like an endless multi-coloured ocean.

The road we were to traverse towards the bathing ghats teemed with people. The sound of chanting swelled the collective reverence as orange and yellow draped holy men, women dressed in vivid coloured saris and beggars in rags intermingled. ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.’

A Geordie Up the Ganges: The journey of a lifetime – that might just save her life

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