11-year-old Shraddha Shukla has taken up the challenge to swim 570 km in the monsoon-fed, swollen Ganga from hometown Kanpur to temple town Varanasi.
She will be swimming about 60km a day, from 5.30 am to 7.30 pm, taking a break every four to five hours. During this time she will take refreshment and washroom breaks.
“I am eyeing the national record,” she said, joining four guard divers in the murky water.
Shukla will also have a metal net protecting her from underwater, while she swims her way to Varanasi.
She soon developed “fins of her own”, her father Lalit Shukla said, adding that the family encouraged the girl as she wanted to swim long distances.
She swam 10km from Ganga Barrage to Siddhnath ghat at age six and 6km from Kanpur to Unnao a year later. She covered 16km downstream in just 80 minutes on August 11, 2013, nipping 10 minutes from her previous best. She was eight then. About a year on, Shraddha swam to Allahabad from Massacre ghat in less than a week.