A man singlehandedly digs a road through a mountain

Dashrath Manjhi spent his entire life in a small village in India. He and his wife Falguni didn't have much, but they loved each other and were happy. But one day Falguni fell seriously ill and it was clear that they had to get her to a doctor. Dashrath and his wife left on foot to go the nearest city nearly 50 miles away. They went as fast as he could but the road was treacherous and they had to go around a mountain to reach their destination.

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Falguni did not survive that journey.

For Dashrath, the loss of his wife was devastating. He had no idea how he could continue to live with such emotional pain. Crazed with grief and rage, he came up with a plan. He spent the next few days gathering the tools he would need.

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It was a plan of astronomical proportions. Piece by piece and stone by stone he began to dig away at that mountain that had stood in the way of his wife's survival. He was determined to make sure that no one else suffered the same fate. Although immense, his plan was actually quite straightforward — he was going to build a road through the mountain!

This is Dashrath's son showing the tools that his father used...

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Day by day, motivated by sadness, Dashrath dug tirelessly. He was determined to help his village and make sure it had a brighter future.

Every day at dawn, for 22 years, he disappeared up the mountain. And every night he came back to the village tired and weary.

It became a ritual, and one that he devoutly acted out until his death in 2007. 

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The result is a breathtaking monument to his determination: a passage that is 25 feet high, 30 feet wide and over 300 feet long!

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Twenty-two years after Dashrath started this incredible project, his fellow villagers finally understood what he was doing all that time.

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Dashrath's amazing achievement completely transformed the lives of everyone in his village and even those of the people from surrounding villages. The journey to the closest city was once 50 miles — now it is only 3! The people who were once almost completely cut off from all the city had to offer can now reach doctors, schools, stores and factories in an hour by foot.

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Life has drastically changed for the better. More young people are going to school and others have found gainful employment in the city.

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Dashrath was once considered a madman, but now people remember him much differently. "Dashrath died as a frustrated man, and his work has never been recognized or awarded, but people today remember him and he inspired many," commented one villager.

You can watch the story of this incredible man in this video (English subtitles):

Dashrath's love for his wife and the grief he suffered when she died gave him amazing strength — literally enough to move mountains! His determination has provided his community with new hope for the future and for that they'll be forever grateful. They may not have recognized his greatness while he was alive, but they are doing their best to make up for that now. Rest in peace, Dashrath — you've earned it!

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