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Main Administrative Building IIT Roorkee
The East India Company-era (1854) Ganeshpur bridge over the Ganges Canal in Roorkee, 2008
Kingdom of Dreams
from top:Main Administrative Building IIT Roorkee, The East India Company-era (1854) Ganeshpur bridge over the Ganges Canal in Roorkee 2008, St. John's Church Roorkee
Roorkee is located in Uttarakhand
Location in Uttarakhand, India
Coordinates: 29°52′29.49″N 77°53′23.74″E / 29.8748583°N 77.8899278°E / 29.8748583; 77.8899278Coordinates: 29°52′29.49″N 77°53′23.74″E / 29.8748583°N 77.8899278°E / 29.8748583; 77.8899278
Country  India
State Uttarakhand
District Haridwar district
 • Body Municipal Corporation Roorkee
 • Mayor Mr. Yashpal Rana
Elevation 268 m (879 ft)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Metro 3,55,478
 • Official Hindi, Urdu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 247667
Telephone code 91 1332
Vehicle registration UK 17
Sex ratio 1.12[1] /
Distance from New Delhi 172 kilometres (107 mi) SSW

Roorkee (Hindi: रुड़की Rūṛkī) is a city in northeast India, located in Uttarakhand's Haridwar district. It is spread over a flat terrain with the Himalayas to the east and north-east. The city developed on the banks of the Ganges canal, its dominant feature, which flows north–south through the city. Roorkee is also known for the Roorkee Cantonment, one of the country's oldest,[2][better source needed] and the headquarters of Bengal Engineer Group since 1853.[3]


Before 1840, the city was a tiny hamlet consisting of mud huts on the banks of the Solani rivulet.[4] Digging work on the Upper Ganges Canal formally began in April 1842, under the aegis of Proby Cautley, a British officer. Soon, Roorkee developed into a town. The canal, which was formally opened on 8 April 1854, provided irrigation waters for more than 767,000 acres (3,100 km²) in 5,000 villages.[5]

Col. P.T. Cautley, an officer in the British Army, was most instrumental in constructing the canal. According to Dept. of Hydrology the canal, which is still considered as a marvel of engineering, was built in 1853. However, water was released in the canal on 8 April 1854.

To look after the maintenance of canal the Canal Workshop and Iron Foundry were established in 1843 in the civil lines on the canal bank which is known as Irrigation workshop nowadays . This was followed by the establishment of Civil Engineering School; classes started in 1845[4] to train local youth to assist in the civil-engineering work of the Upper Ganges Canal.[6] This was to become the first engineering college established in India.[7] On November 25, 1847, the college was formally constituted, through a proposal by the Sir James Thomason, Lt. Governor of North Western Province (1843–53).[4] After his death in 1853, the college was rechristened as Thomason College of Civil Engineering. The college later upgraded to University of Roorkee in 1949; on September 21, 2001, through an Act of parliament, it was made one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, IIT Roorkee.[8] In 1853 Bengal Sappers and Miners were stationed here which provided a controlling influence during the 1857 uprising. Other important events in the history of Roorkee are: Under the Post Office Act 1866, it was among the first few towns to have a post office and first telegraphic office in the district. Now Roorkee has a General Post Office (GPO) and a number of post offices located in Roorkee City and Cantt. In 1886, Roorkee was placed on the Railway map of India. In 1907, first provincial trunk road Meerut-Roorkee-Dehradun was constructed. In 1920, Roorkee became the first town in Uttar Pradesh to have Hydroelectricity.

India's first aqueduct was constructed over the Solani river, near Roorkee, part of the Ganges Canal project, which itself was India's first irrigation work in North India, started by the British.[9] The Ganges Canal led to another first for Roorkee — India's first steam engine, Mary Lind, (specially shipped from England moved on rails in India) ran in Roorkee on December 22, 1851, between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar, two years before the first passenger train ran from Bombay to Thane in 1853. Operated by the Bengal Sappers, the railway line was built to carry soil used for the construction of the Upper Ganges Canal aqueduct from Piran Kaliyar, 10 km (6.2 miles) from the city.[10] The locomotive rail paths are still intact. A replica of what the locomotive is thought to have looked like is exhibited at Roorkee Railway Station.

The municipality of Roorkee was created in 1868.[4] Now it is a Municipal Corporation. It had been home to the Bengal Sappers and Miners since 1853, and two artillery units were stationed there.[4] Today, the Roorkee Cantonment has a large army base. The Bengal Engineering Group and Centre (BEG&C), are still there today.

In 1901, when the city had a population of 17,197, it was made headquarters of the Roorkee Tehsil, in Saharanpur district of the United Province of the British Raj; the tehsil included in it 426 villages (of the parganas of Jwalapur, Manglaur and Bhagwanpur) and six towns, most important among them being Haridwar and Manglaur.[5] The Old Cemetery in the city is a protected monument, by the Archaeological Survey of India.[11]


Roorkee is located at 29°52′N 77°53′E / 29.87°N 77.88°E / 29.87; 77.88.[12] It has an average elevation of 268 metres (879 feet).

Roorkee is 165 kilometres (103 mi) north of the Indian capital, New Delhi between the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, close to the foothills of the Himalayas. Before the creation of Uttarakhand on November 9, 2000,[13] Roorkee was a part of the state of Uttar Pradesh.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: GAIA case studies

Due to its location away from any major water body and its proximity to the Himalayas, Roorkee has an extreme and erratic continental climate. Summers start in late March and go on until early July, with average temperatures around 28 °C (82 °F). The monsoon season starts in July and goes on until October, with torrential rainfall, due to the blocking of the monsoon clouds by the Himalayas. The post monsoon season starts in October and goes on until late November, with average temperatures sliding from 21 °C (70 °F) to 15 °C (59 °F). Winters start in December, with lows close to freezing and frequent cold waves due to the cold katabatic winds blowing from the Himalayas. The total annual rainfall is about 2600 mm (102 in).


Roorkee Railway Station

By Air[edit]

The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 68.4 km away from the city. Though the preferred one is Indira Gandhi International Airport of Delhi which is about 192 km away from the city.

By Road[edit]

Roorkee's major neighboring cities are Delhi, Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Yamuna Nagar, Ambala and Chandigarh. The National Highway 58 (NH58) (Delhi-Haridwar-Mana Pass) passes from the heart of the city while the National Highway-73, Roorkee (Uttarakhand) – Panchkula (Haryana) originates from here. Direct Bus Services are available from Roadways Bus Station. Direct buses from Delhi to Roorkee[14] is available and can be booked online.


  1. ^ a b "Census of India, 2011". Office of the Registrar General, India. 2 March 2002. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Roorkee Cantonment". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  3. ^ "Bengal Sappers’ saga of valour", The Tribune, 24 November 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e Roorkee Town2, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 325.
  5. ^ a b Upper Ganges Canal, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 12, p. 138.
  6. ^ Indian Engineering Colleges, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 4, p. 321.
  7. ^ Sandes, Lt Col E.W.C. (1935). The Military Engineer, Vol II. Chatham: Institution of Royal Engineers. p. 358. 
  8. ^ IIT Roorkee Official website.
  9. ^ Irrigation and Navigation Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909 v. 3, p. 341.
  10. ^ First train ran between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar, The Hindu, 10 August 2002.
  11. ^ Alphabetical List of Monuments – Uttarakhand Archaeological Survey of India website.
  12. ^ "Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Roorkee". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  13. ^ Uttarakhand Govt. of India, Official website.
  14. ^

External links[edit]