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Based in the charming land of Uttaranchal in the northern part of the country, is the small town of Roorkee which remains an integral part of Haridwar district. Located on the foothills of the Majestic Himalayas, it is only at a distance of only 30 kms from Haridwar and 175 kms from the national capital Delhi. Known for being the country’s oldest cantonment, Roorkee has also been the main location of BEG or the Bengal Engineer Group or popularly called as Bengal Sappers.
Apart from this, Roorkee, down the years have also turned into a key location of prominent institutions in education and professional qualification. Roorkee is a place with a rich historical roots and amazingly beautiful geographical division which makes it a popular place to visit in. According to the local stories Roorkee got its name after the name of Rurimadi Imran, who was the wife of a Rajput tribal chief. However, this belief is contradicted by some locals who state that the town got its name from “Ror ki” which means the heavy dwelling of the clan called Ror.
Brief History of Roorkee
As per Indian history, a prominent reference of the town of Roorkee was seen during the time of Mughals, as an administrative unit in the famous scripts of Ain-e-Akbari. It was during 18th century that Roorkee was a significant part of Landhaura state and it was functioning under Raja Ramdayal, the Burgujar king. But soon after, the control of the town was shifted to the hands of British people from East India Company.
It may be noted that before 1840, Roorkee was nothing but a small town with several mud huts and less habitation. However, in April 1842, the digging work of Upper Ganges Canal started and which got completed in 1854 irrigating 7,67,000 acres of land and providing solace to more than 5000 villages. During this time, Roorkee became a prominent town with huge development in every ways.
Geography of Roorkee
One of the most interesting features of Roorkee city is its geographical base which makes it more popular among the countrymen. Roorkee is based on the Upper Ganges Canal which remains headed to Haridwar and is based in a location between the famous two rivers, River Ganga and River Yamuna. Situated on NH-58 and NH 73, Roorkee is a location which is based in close proximities of all popular pilgrimage centres of the country which include Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rishikesh and Haridwar. Based at an altitude of 274 metres the exact position of Roorkee is on 29051’N and 77054’east.
Climate of Roorkee
Continental climate prevails over Roorkee. The main reason behind this sort of climate is the minimum distance it holds from the Majestic Himalayas and its erratic nature. Extreme weather can be seen in Roorkee. Winters are almost freezing whereas summers are pleasant with temperatures varying between 250C to 280C.
Economy of Roorkee
The major contributor towards the economical growth of Roorkee is the agricultural industry since it is based in such a highly irrigated area. Apart from agriculture, the next most prominent contributor is the industry of education since it has some of best country renowned educational institutions for professional studies. People from all parts of the country opt for Roorkee for better quality education and, thus, helps in the enrichment of the town. Tourism industry also has a considerable contribution in the economical growth of the town. It may be noted that though Roorkee does not have too many prominent big brand industries on its base, it has numerous small-scale industries in various fields like pharmaceutical, IT, manufacturing, real estate and many others. Together, it can be concluded that Roorkee is one of the developing cities of the country.
Festivals in Roorkee
Roorkee is a place where though the majority of the population are Hindus, but there remains a prominent existence of several other religions like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others. So all festivals are well celebrated here with a little prominence over the Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali, Navratri, Karwa Chauth, Bhai Dhoj, Rakhshabandhan, etc. Apart from this other festivals like Christmas, Lohri, Eid are also celebrated here. Another important festival celebrated in a royal way here is a technical fair organized by IIT-Roorkee named as Cognizance. This festival is one of the largest technical fest in Asia with high level events and many elite and top-most professionals invited as guest.
Places to See in Roorkee
Roorkee is not a prominent tourist location but some of the finest tourism spots are based here like the campus of IIT Roorkee, one of the best engineering colleges of the world, and one of the oldest in Asia.
Apart from this there is Solani Aqueduct which is based on the Solani River, another example of excellent engineering. For entertainment one can visit Crystal World which is an excellent amusement park and the largest one near Roorkee. The place is filled with water sports and fun rides making it a popular choice for tourist as well as the locals. For all those religious minded people an important shrine is Piran Kaliyar Sharif, the “Mazaar” of the famous saint Hazrat Alladdin Ali Ahmed Sabir from the Sufi clan. This is a place which is respected and believed by people of all religions and a popular tourist spot.
Apart from this there are various prominent religious places around Roorkee which can also be visited by vacationers here. Some of these places are Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Transport in Roorkee
Roorkee remains well connected through all major mediums of transport. Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to Roorkee at a distance of 71 kms. Regular flights to Delhi airport can be fetched from here which connects almost all international and domestic locations. A similar instance can be seen for in case of Railways which again connects a lot of cities in the country. Since Roorkee has in its vicinity NH 58 and NH 73 so all local and Government buses passing through these can connect Roorkee easily.