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City & District
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
Nickname(s): Shiksha Nagari; The Education City
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 Roorkee district
 • Body Municipal Corporation Roorkee
 • Mayor Mr. Yashpal Rana
Elevation 268 m (879 ft)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Metro 3,55,478
 • Official Hindi, English
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 of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand (Hindi:उत्तराखण्ड), that is spread over a flat terrain with the grand spectacle of Himalayas ranges flanking it in the East and the North-east. It is on the banks of the Ganges canal on the National Highway 58 (DelhiSri BadrinathMana) between Delhi and Dehradun. Also the National Highway 73, connecting Roorkee (Uttarakhand) and Panchkula (Haryana) originates from here. The dominant feature of the city is the Upper Ganges Canal which flows north-south and bisects the city. Also known for Roorkee Cantonment, one of the country's oldest,[2] and the headquarters of Bengal Engineer Group (Bengal Sappers) since 1853.[3][4] The renowned IIT Roorkee and COER Roorkee & Quantum Global Campus are located in this city.

Old Cemetery


According to sources, Roorkee derives its name from Rurdha Singh, a local Rajput chieftain. Popular belief amongst villagers around Roorkee is that it got its name from "Rudhe ki", i.e.rudhe-kee. During the British reign, Britishers were unable to pronounce Rudhe-kee. Hence they pronounced it Rure-kee later people call it roorkee. It's just one of the beliefs, though there are various stories for this.british Roorkee was a small village until work on the Ganga Canal was undertaken. Canal construction helped further development and growth of the village into a planned and developed township.


Watercolor (1863) titled,They were known to be the best sartups in Indian history dominating in every part of the world, "The Ganges Canal, Roorkee, Saharanpur District (U.P.)." The canal was the brainchild of Sir Proby Cautley; construction began in 1840, and the canal was opened by Governor-General Lord Dalhousie in April 1854.

Before 1840, the city was a tiny hamlet consisting of mud huts on the banks of the Solani rivulet.[5] 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, irrigated over 767,000 acres (3,100 km²) in 5,000 villages.[6]

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.

Roorkee also holds the distinction of being the place where a railway engine ran for the first time in the country. The honour goes to a locomotive engine that ran in 1846 and the model of which can still be seen outside Roorkee station.

Roorkee is also witness to the upheavals of freedom movement. There are still such trees around Roorkee where freedom fighters were hanged in full public glare. Especially in the village of Sunehra, beside K.L. Polytechnic hostel, one can still spot such trees.

One can also witness the famous government irrigation workshop, in the tunnel of which British officers, civilians and their families took shelter when the revolt of 1857 broke out.

It would be worth mentioning that the famous Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has its genesis in Roorkee College. Constituted in 1847, it was the only engineering college in the country at that time.

This institute was later rechristened as Thomason College of Civil Engineering in 1854. 1946 saw the inclusion of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in its curriculum and the change of name to Thomason College of Engineering.

The institute was elevated to the status of Independent India's first engineering university in 1949. And on September 21, 2001 Government of India converted the university into an IIT.

Another significant landmark of Roorkee is Roorkee Cantonment. One of the oldest cantonments in the country, it is headquarter of Indian Army's Bengal Engineering Group and Centre, also popular as Bengal Sappers.

Bengal Sappers has its genesis in Bengal Pioneers which was raised in Kanpur by Capt. Tom Wood in 1803. This was commemorated by a recent construction of a large entrance gate called "Cawnpore Dwar (Gate of Kanpur)" by the Indian army at the cantonment's southern entrance. Bengal Sappers was founded in 1819. Later both these organisations were merged and headquartered at Ludhiana. 1853 saw the headquarter being shifted to Roorkee where it is currently situated

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[5] to train local youth to assist in the civil-engineering work of the Upper Ganges Canal.[7] This was to become the first engineering college established in India.[8] 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).[5] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[6] The Old Cemetery in the city is a protected monument, by the Archaeological Survey of India.[12]

Roorkee is also famous for the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari — the dargah is also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak — in Piran Kaliyar village, where an annual 15-day spiritual fair (Urs) is held.

Notable Personalities

Sher Singh Rana


Roorkee is famous for the manufacture of Surveying & Civil Engg., Geological, Nautical and Hydrological Instruments – a Cottage Industry here. It started in early 1900, with the repairing of instruments of the Thomason College of Civil Engineering (later University of Roorkee and then IIT Roorkee) and moving on to manufacturing of compasses, levels and other surveying instruments. After getting the state status to Uttarakhand, Roorkee has grown to having 100+ industries and corporate houses under SIDCUL. There are two Industrial areas in Roorkee – one in Ram Nagar Industrial Area, the other being Devbhoomi Industrial Area on Roorkee-Panchkula NH-73, near Bhagwanpur.

Business and service[edit]

Roorkee is a business centre also. It has many business and service centres. After birth of Uttarakhand State it is developing as a leading business and service centre of the state.


Roorkee is located at 29°52′N 77°53′E / 29.87°N 77.88°E / 29.87; 77.88.[13] 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,[14] 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 Rail[edit]

Roorkee comes under Northern Railway region of Indian Railways and is connected to major Indian cities including all four Metropolitan Cities i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. It is also connected with other important cities of India by rail route, viz. Dehradun, Haridwar, Chandigarh, Jammu Tawi, Amritsar, Lucknow, Varanasi, MughalSarai, Dhanbad, Patna, Guwahati, Madurai, Nagpur, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Indore etc.

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.


As of 2011 India census, Roorkee had a population of 3,55,478. Males constituted 53% of the population and females 47%. Roorkee has an average literacy rate of 84.9%, higher than the national average of 64%: male literacy is 87%, and female literacy is 81%. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age. The city has 60% Hindus, 28% Muslims, 7% Punjabis/Sikhs, 5% others.

With a population of about 3,55,478 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest Municipal Corporation in the state of Uttarakhand, after Dehradun, Haridwar & Haldwani.

Languages spoken are Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.

Religions in Roorkee
Religion Percent
Distribution of religions
Includes Christian (<0.2%).


James Thomason Building, IIT Roorkee

Roorkee is a centre of education and research, even sometimes called 'Shiksha Nagri' (the place of learning). It is best known for Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT), which was formerly called the University of Roorkee and originally known as the Thomason College of Civil Engineering. For a detailed history of this glorious institution, one can refer two volumes by Prof. KV Mital named History of Thomason College of Engineering and History of Roorkee University published in 1996. Journals on world-famous 'Roorkee treatises on Civil Engineering' by Allan Cunningham and past principals/professors of the erstwhile Thomason College of Civil Engineering also shows the legacy of Roorkee as a civil engineering centre.It is also considered as a Mecca for Civil Engineers due to its distinguished contribution in civil engineering education and research since more than 150 years. Roorkee is home to several government research institutes: Central Building Research Institute (C.B.R.I.), Irrigation Research Institute (I.R.I.), Institution of Engineers Regional Center (I.E.I.), Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (A.H.E.C.), Irrigation Design Organization (I.D.O.) and National Institute of Hydrology (N.I.H.).[15]

With the availability of schools, colleges and institutions for higher education and professional degrees, students come for enrollment from all over India and abroad.


Medical College[edit]

Degree Colleges[edit]

PG colleges[edit]

  • K.L.D.A.V. PG College
  • B.S.M. P.G. College
  • S.S.D.P.C. Girls' PG College[25]
  • Methodist Girls' PG College
  • BSI UG & PG Degree College

Polytechnic colleges[edit]


  • Cantonment Board School, Roorkee( Former Student Prikshit Verma )
  • St Gabriel's Academy, Roorkee (a.k.a) Army Public School No.2
  • St. Ann's Senior Secondary School, Roorkee
  • Montfort Senior Secondary School Roorkee
  • Adarsh Bal Niketan School Roorkee
  • Skyward Senior Secondary School,Krishna Nagar, Roorkee
  • Navrachna Public School, Fazilpur, Asafnagar-Iqbalpur Road, Roorkee[27]
  • Delhi Public school Roorkee
  • Army Public School No. 1, Roorkee
  • Greenway Modern Senior Secondary School,Roorkee
  • St. John's School, Roorkee
  • Sarvagya Senior Secondary School Roorkee
  • Anand Swarup Arya Saraswati Vidya Mandir, South Civil Lines, Roorkee
  • Shri guru ram rai public school roorkee
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1 BEG&C, Roorkee( Prikshit Verma (former student))
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya No.2 BEG&C, Roorkee
  • Roorkee School for Deaf (in IIT Roorkee premises)
  • Espee Global School, Puhana. Roorkee.
  • The Greenwood Public School, Roorkee[28]
  • Shemford Futuristic School, Roorkee
  • Children's Senior Academy Roorkee
  • Roorkee Public Senior Secondary School
  • Chandra Shekhar Senior Secondary Public School
  • Scholar's Academy Roorkee
  • Doon Public School, Nai Mandi, Roorkeee
  • KL DAV Inter College, Railway Road, Roorkee
  • Sophia Public School, Sophia Chowk, Imli road, Roorkee
  • Seventh Day Adventist Inter College
  • Government Inter College
  • B.S.M. Inter College
  • DST International Public School. NH 73, Bhagwanpur, Roorkee
  • Shree Yogeshwar Public School, Defence Colony, Dhandera, Roorkee
  • Blossom Public School, Mathura Vihar, Western Amber Talab, Roorkee
  • Shivalik Public Sr. Sec. School, laksar road, Dhandhera, Roorkee
  • St. Marks public school, near godawari hotel,Roorkee
  • new st. kabir public school rampur road, roorkee


Roorkee has expanded considerably in recent times.

At present, the city's important residential and commercial areas include: Posh residential areas: Maktoolpuri,Rajputana West, Civil-lines Residential area,Hanuman colony (Chaw mandi), Defence Colony, Jadugar Road,Colonel's Enclave, Ganges Enclave, Saraswati Kunj, Tyagi colony,Tyagi nagar, Bhagirathi Kunj, Navrachna Paradise, Solani Puram, Ram Nagar, Niti Nagar, New Avas Vikas township, Sanjay Gandhi Colony, South Civil Lines, Ambedkar Nagar, Mohalla sot, Shyam Nagar, Indira Vihar Colony, Akashdeep Enclave, Zohra Bagh, Mahaveer Enclave, Raj Vihar Colony, Preet Vihar, Krishna Nagar, Prem Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Azad Nagar, New Nehru Nagar, Ganeshpur, Railway Road,Pradeep Vihar, Purwa Deen Dayal, Purvali, Saket colony, Sanchit Nagar, Ashoka Puram, Green Park Colony, Rajendra Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Akashdeep Enclave Phase II, Pathanpura, Orchid green colony opposite seventh day school delhi road, Salempur Rajputana (newly added), etc.


  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 – History
  3. ^ Bengal Sappers’ saga of valour, The Tribune, 24 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Roorkee Cantonment". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Roorkee Town2, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 325.
  6. ^ a b Upper Ganges Canal, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 12, p. 138.
  7. ^ Indian Engineering Colleges, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 4, p. 321.
  8. ^ Sandes, Lt Col E.W.C. (1935). The Military Engineer, Vol II. Chatham: Institution of Royal Engineers. p. 358. 
  9. ^ IIT Roorkee Official website.
  10. ^ Irrigation and Navigation Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909 v. 3, p. 341.
  11. ^ First train ran between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar, The Hindu, 10 August 2002.
  12. ^ Alphabetical List of Monuments – Uttarakhand Archaeological Survey of India website.
  13. ^ "Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Roorkee". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  14. ^ Uttarakhand Govt. of India, Official website.
  15. ^ National Institute of Hydrology, accessed on 30 May 2011.
  16. ^ Roorkee Institute of Technology – Roorkee
  17. ^ Roorkee College of Engineering – Roorkee
  18. ^ "College of Engineering Roorkee". COER. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  19. ^ "Quantum Global Campus Roorkee". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  20. ^ http://WWW.PHONICSEDU.COM
  21. ^
  22. ^ "ITR Roorkee". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  23. ^ "B.S.M. College of Engineering, Roorkee". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ College of Advance Technology
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links[edit]