Meerut

About Meerut

Freedom Struggle Museum Meerut

The district of Meerut is named after its headquarters city and is said to be associated with earliest traditions of the Hindus. According to which Maya, the father-in-law of Ravana, founded this place which has, therefore, been named Maidant-ka-Khera. According to another version Maya, a distinguished architect, got the land on which the city of Meerut now stands from king Yudhishther and he called this place Mayrashtra, a name which in course of time was shortened to Meerut. It is also said that the district formed part of the dominions of Mahipal, king of Indraprashta and the word Meerut is associated with his name.

History of Meerut

After the archaeological excavations at ‘Vidura-ka-tila’, a collection of several mounds named after Vidura, in 1950–52, a site 37 km (23 miles) north-east of Meerut, it was concluded to be remains of the ancient city of Hastinapur, the capital of Kauravas and Pandavas of Mahabharata, which was washed away by Ganges floods.

Meerut also contained a Harappan settlement known as Alamgirpur. It was also the easternmost settlement of the Indus valley civilisation. Meerut had been a centre of Buddhism in the period of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (r. 273 BC to 232 BC), and remains of Buddhist structures were found near the Jama Masjid in the present day city.The Ashoka Pillar, at Delhi ridge, next to the ‘Bara Hindu Rao Hospital’, near Delhi University, was carried to Delhi from Meerut, by Firuz Shah Tughluq (r. 1351–1388); it was later damaged in a 1713 explosion, and restored in 1867.

In the eleventh century AD, the south-west part of the district was ruled by Har Dat, the Dor Raja of Bulandshahr who built a fort, which was long known for its strength and finds mention in Ain-i-Akbari. He was later defeated by Mahmud Ghazni in 1018. A prominent local landmark, the Jama Masjid, dates from this period and is said to have been built by Mahmud's vizir. Shortly after its capture the city was regained by the local Hindu Raja and part of his fortifications, built for the city’s defence, survived until recent times.

The first big invasion on the city came later in 1192 AD, from Mohammad Ghori, when his general Qutb-ud-din Aybak attacked the city, and a much worse fate lay ahead for the district, which came with the invasion of Timur in 1398, during which the Rajputs offered a tough resistance at the fort of Loni, where he fought the Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad Tughlaq. But, eventually they were all defeated and all the 1,00,000 prisoners his army had taken in since his invasion of India were massacred, according to Timur’s own accounts in Tuzk-e-Taimuri.Thereafter he went on to attack Delhi, where he again massacred the local population, and returned to attack Meerut town, then ruled by an Afghan chief, Ilias, and took the city in two days, leading to widespread devastation, before heading north once again.

The city then came under the rule of the Mughal Empire and saw a period of relative tranquility.During the rule of Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great (r. 1556–1605), there was a mint for copper coins here. During the decline of the Mughal Empire, after the death of Aurangzeb, the city came effectively under the control of local chieftains, the Saiyids of Muzaffarnagar in the north, the Jats in the south-east, and the Gujars along the Ganges and in the south-west. The city saw Sikh and Maratha invasions in the 18th century, with interruptions by Jats and Rohillas. Walter Reinhardt, an English soldier, established himself at Sardhana and some parts of the district came under his rule. Upon his death, they came into the hands of Begum Samru. During this time, the southern part of the district had remained under Maratha rule. In 1803, with the fall of Delhi, Daulat Rao Scindia of the Marathas ceded the territory to the British. The city was made headquarters of the eponymous district in 1818.

Meerut is famously associated with the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British East India Company.The famous slogan "Dilli Chalo" ("Let's march to Delhi!") was first raised here. Meerut cantonment is the place where the rebellion started when Hindu and Muslim soldiers were given rifle cartridges rumoured to have a coating made of animal fat. The bullet wrapping was to be opened by mouth before use, which affected the religious sensibilities of both Muslims and Hindus as the fat used was alleged to be derived from lard and tallow; cows are held sacred by Hindus and Muslims consider the pig unclean. Meerut soldiers set fire to the bungalows of the English.

Climate of Meerut

Meerut has a monsoon influenced humid subtropical climate characterised by hot summers and cooler winters. Summers last from early April to late June during and are extremely hot, with temperatures reaching 43 °C (109 °F). The monsoon arrives in late June and continues till the middle of September. Temperatures drop slightly, with plenty of cloud cover but with higher humidity.

Temperatures rise again in October and the city then has a mild, dry winter season from late October to the middle of March.Rainfall is about 80 cm to 100 cm per annum, which is suitable for growing crops. Most of the rainfall is received during the monsoon. Humidity varies from 30 to 100%. The city receives no snow.

Culture of Meerut

Most traditional Indian festivals, including Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Eid among others are celebrated with fervour in the city. Notably, a fair by the name of Nauchandi Fair is held two weeks after Holi every year. The fair, which started in 1672, continues for about 15 days and is attended by lakhs of people. It includes events such as poetry recitations in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi etc. The Khariboli dialect of the Hindustani language is the dominant language for conversation with official business being conducted in English, Hindi or Urdu.

Meerut is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Meerut Diocese, which covers the districts of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Dehradun, Haridwar, Moradabad, Rampur, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat and Dhampur Tehsil of Bijnor district.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport which is about 100 km away.

By Railways

Meerut has four railway stations: Meerut City, Meerut Cantt, Partapur and Pabli Khas. Meerut City station is the busiest in the city. The railway line between Delhi and Meerut was constructed in 1864 and the Meerut Cantt station, which serves as a secondary railway station was founded in 1865. Meerut lies on the Delhi–Saharanpur railway line.

By Road

By road Meerut is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Haridwar, etc. A large number of people commute to Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon every day for work. Three national highways (NH-58, NH-119 & NH-235) pass through Meerut.

There are 2 main bus terminals, namely Bhainsali bus terminal and Sohrab Gate bus terminal from where Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses ply to cities all over the state and all nearby cities.

As Meerut has been declared a metropolitan city in 2007,[citation needed] JNNURM scheme has been put in place. Low Floor City Buses (under JNNURM),[citation needed] Normal City Buses, auto rickshaws and rickshaws are convenient public transport options to commute within the city. Many new transport infrastructure projects like inner ring road, outer ring road and construction of new flyovers are proposed.

Meerut at a Glance

Geography of Meerut

Meerut is the largest city in NCR after Delhi The city lies between the plains of the Ganges and those of the Yamuna. In area Meerut District covers 2,522 km2 (974 sq mi), which is larger than Delhi (Delhi covers an area of 1,484 km2 [573 sq mi]) Meerut population is 3,443,689 as per census 2011, which is three times less than Delhi.

Places to Visit

Jain temples of Hastinapur – Located on the banks of old ravine of Ganges, Hastinapur is considered one of the holiest places on earth by Jains. It is believed to be the birthplace of three Jain Tirthankaras. There are many ancient Jain temples in Hastinapur. Shri Digamber Jain Mandir, Jambudweep, Kailash Parvat, Shwetambar Jain Temple are the main and famous temples in Hastinapur. Apart from Jain temples, Pandeshwar temple, Historical Gurdwara and Hastinapur Sanctuary are worth being seen.

St. John's Church – This church was established by Chaplain the Reverend Henry Fisher on behalf of the East India Company in 1819 in the cantonment area and was completed in 1822. It is considered one of the oldest churches in North India. The Church was dedicated to the people by Bishop Wilson. It has a seating capacity of 10,000 people. During the war of 1857, this church was the scene of heavy fighting between Indians and the British forces.

Augarnath Temple – This temple (also known as Kalipaltan Mandir locally) is located at the site where the soldiers of the war of 1857 planned their operations. The temple also houses a memorial built to honour the martyrs of the revolt of 1857. The old temple has been replaced by a modern version.

Jama Masjid – The Jama Masjid was built by Hasan Mahdi, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi's Wazir (chief minister) in 1019 AD (older than the Qutb Minar). That makes it the first Masjid in North India. And although it was restored by Humayun,it is one of the oldest Muslim mosques in India.

Martyr's Memorial : The memorial is a 30 metres (98 feet) high pillar of marble situated at Bhainsali. Functions are organised at the memorial around the national holidays of India. The memorial complex also houses the Government Freedom Struggle Museum which is dedicated to the first war of Indian independence.

Gandhi Bagh – This centrally located garden has a very beautiful and serene environment. Locally known as "Company Garden", it has been present since before independence, when it got renamed to its current name. It runs a musical fountain show every evening. Earlier, the garden used to have multiple entrances like the one shown on the right, which were always kept open, and there was no entry fee. But now, only one entrance is kept open and a ticketing system with nominal charges has been put in place.

Shahpeer's Mausoleum – This is a Mughal mausoleum erected by the empress Nur Jahan in 1628 in honour of a local Muslim Hazrat Shahpeer. It is a red stone structure that was partly built and is incomplete till date. The tomb is adorned by intricate nakashi (stone painting). There is no roof on the main tomb. People[who] say that Shahpeer was the teacher of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. The tomb is listed by the Archaeological Survey of India as a national heritage monument.

Shahi Eid Gaah – It was built by Nasir ud din Mahmud, the youngest son of Iltutmish, and the eighth Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. It is about six hundred years old and has a capacity of about one lac people to offer prayers (Namaz) on Eid. There is Nakkashi on the walls of Eidgah which reflect the Sulatani Gulam era.

Parikshitgarh – The place is associated with and derives its name from King Parikshit of Hastinapur (the grandson of Arjuna). The fort was built by Parikshit and restored by Gurjar King Nain Singh in the eighteenth century.

Dargah of Baley Miyan – This dargah was built by Qutb-ud-din Aybak in 1194 in the memory of Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud (known locally as Baley Miyan).An Urs is organised annually at the Dargah during the Nauchandi fair.

Suraj Kund - This is a pond, built by a businessman Lawar Jahawar Lal in 1714. It is filled with water from the Ganga Canal. It is surrounded by several temples, including the Baba Manohar Nath temple, which is said to have been built during the period of Shahjahan.

Other places of interest include Mansa Devi Temple, Baleni, Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana and the Chandi Devi Temple which was built by holkar queen Devi Ahiliyabai Holkar.

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