Bottled water aims for the pure in heart

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The Independent Online

Water from the River Ganges, one of the most polluted rivers in the world, is being marketed as a new brand of bottled water in the UK. The Himalaya Spring Water Company is promoting Amrit Jal (Ganga Jal), or Nectar Water, as a replacement for Coca Cola, tea, or coffee.

The difference is that Ganges nectar water, from a river used as a Hindu burial ground, will not simply quench your thirst, but purify your soul as well.

For pounds 1 a bottle visitors to Hindu temples can already buy water from the Indian river, which has taken three years to come on to the market because of disputes with the British Government and health authorities.

Eventually the company's owner, Gunvant Changela, from Watford, persuaded them that the Nectar Water, which comes from the source of the Ganges, is not polluted and they have awarded it a purity certificate.

This means the water has now been launched fully with a mission - to help the needy and to encourage the purification of Hindu minds and hearts.

Most proceeds from sales will go to charity, according to company spokesman, Ray Limbachia, who says the idea to import the water came from Hindus who found difficulty getting Ganges water. They were forced to get friends or family visiting the river to fill jars.

The water is used as a part of Hindu funeral rites and is also drunk on certain special occasions, despite the fact that water collected in the usual way on the river banks is polluted and undrinkable.

The nectar water has the added benefit for British customers of being much more palatable than the usual Ganges vintage.

Company spokesman Ray Limbachia said: "There are some chemicals in the water and lots of people who drink it say it makes them feel better about themselves." .