Hrishikesh: A Poem on Corrupted Landscape




Uttarakhand, Hinduism, environmental pollution, cultural degradation, landscape poetry


 This poem on the pilgrimage center of Hrishikesh set in a humid subtropical niche of the scenic Uttarakhand state, aims to capture the corruption of its cultural, religious and natural landscapes. Here, modernity — with its concomitant technologism — jostles for space with Hindu leitmotifs and traditions, causing pollution, ecological damage and environmental degradation. These are outcomes not just of distorted economic policies and skewed technological and developmental paradigms, but also the residuum of religious rituals, pollutants and garbage dumped into the holy Ganges.

Named after a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu, Hrishikesh, in Sanskrit, means “Lord of the Senses”. Nowadays, the town is more popularly known as Rishikesh (which means “the hair of a sage or ascetic”). This name, though etymologically erroneous, is not grammatically incorrect; it is, however, yet another pointer to the degeneration of the region’s pristinity. Here, not only is the natural environment under threat, but the rich traditions of Hinduism, too, are under assault from popular culture and mass consumerism. Such corruption is partly caused by the global yoga movement and the draw of international tourists who smoke cannabis on sacred riverbanks.

Author Biography

Srinjay Chakravarti, Freelance Writer, India

Srinjay Chakravarti is a writer, editor and translator based in Salt Lake City, Calcutta, India. He was educated at St Xavier’s College, Calcutta and at universities based in Calcutta and New Delhi and holds a B.Sc. (Economics with Honors) and an M.A. (English). A former journalist with The Financial Times Group, he has worked on the editorial staff of an international online financial news service. Srinjay’s creative writing, including poetry, short fiction and translations, has appeared in over 150 publications in 30-odd countries.  These include journals and reviews of 25 colleges and universities. His first book of poems Occam’s Razor (Writers Workshop, Calcutta: 1994) received the Salt Literary Award from Salt, the Australian literary and publishing organization headed by writer and academic John Kinsella, in 1995. He has won one of the top prizes (US $7,500) in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Competition 2007–08. Website:




How to Cite

Chakravarti, S. (2022). Hrishikesh: A Poem on Corrupted Landscape . ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 21(1), 388–391.