Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand Inaugurates Girls’ Bio-digester Toilets in Rishikesh Inter-college

November 27, 2014

His Excellency Dr Aziz Qureshi, the Governor of Uttarakhand, graciously inaugurated the newly constructed 8-cubicle bio-digester toilet for girls at the LMS Inter-college in Rishikesh with HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Founder of Divine Shakti Foundation, Co-Founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar. This beautiful inaugural ceremony took place just before the grand Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Divine Shakti Foundation’s three-day ‘Worship to WASH’ and ‘Women for WASH’ Summit of Leaders from the 28-30th Nov at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), organized with the technical support of UNICEF. Members of UNICEF India, Sue Coates, Caroline de Dulk and Manisha Mishra, as well as many other dignitaries graced the occasion of the bio-toilet inauguration and were glad to see the work of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)  being carried through in action.


Pujya Swamiji had visited the LMS Degree College in Rishikesh last year to inspire and speak to the students. The LMS Degree College is one of the only inter-colleges (11th and 12th standard/grade) in the Rishikesh area, where some 4,000 students attend, nearly half of them are girls. At the function Pujya Swamiji had requested to use their bathroom and much to His dismay discovered the condition of the toilet facilities (only 3 for girls and boys) for the large student population, which were lying in complete neglect and were so stinky and filthy that even users would prefer to go anywhere else but in those toilets.

It was then that Pujya Swamiji shared with them Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Divine Shakti Foundation’s water and sanitation hygiene initiative as well as Ganga Action Parivar’s 6T (Toilets, Trees, Taps, Trash, Tracks and Tigers) Programme. He shared with them during the gathering ‘We must not only worship the creator but also His creation, thereby service of humanity and the environment can also become our worship in action. Time has come that we collectively move from temples to toilets. The need of the hour and the true pooja is to work to provide adequate facilities for sanitation and clean water while educating and raising awareness about health and hygiene so that we ensure a greener, cleaner future for all.’

Pujya Swamiji’s innovative approach to spirituality illustrated to the students that while temples are needed to purify our thoughts toilets are required to purify our bodies. He shared that today the need has become not only for toilets but for bio-toilets in which take the waste water and material generated could be converted into methane gas and its treated water can then be used to irrigate the soil. Therefore, this unique initiative works to bridge the gap from soil to soul, thereby moving from temples to toilets. This particular context the toilets were built for girl students as to encourage them to attend their classes in ease and to inspire the boys to contribute to the making of the toilet structure for girls as a symbol of their support and pledge to respect and honor the divine feminine and protect the dignity and security of their female classmates.

The beautiful structure was made possible by the Emami Foundation who came forward to sponsor the project.

Plans of the Toilet Blocks at LMS Intercollege

Front Elevation of Toilet Blocks     Top & Section View of Toilet Blocks