the 11th century onwards. The tension between Muslims
and Hindus periodically erupted into violent conflict.
Attractions in Meerut
The extensive British cantonment has a particularly fine
Mall, a Club and churches. The cemetery contains the
graves of Sir Rollo Gillespie who subdued the uprising
at Vellore in 1806 and of Sir David Ochterlony. St.
John’s Church contains many memorials to British
officers. The Jama Masjid was built by Hasan Mahdi,
Mahmud of Ghazni’s wazir (chief minister) and although
it was restored by Humayun it is one of the oldest
Muslim mosques in India. The Tomb of Shah Pir was
erected by the empress Nur Jahan in honour of a local
Muslim saint. Qutd-ud-din Aibak is believed to have
built the Maqbara of Salar Masa-ud Ghazi. There are
other mausolea and mosques indicating the strong Muslim
presence in Meerut. There are as many Hindu temples as
mosques. The Baleshwar Nath Temple pre-dates the arrival
of Islam in India. The Suraj Kund (also called “Monkey
Tank”) is to the west of Victoria park and is lined with
shrines and small temples. It was built in 1714 by the
merchant Jowahir Mal.
Excursion from Meerut
Saharanpur, about 54 kms. from Meerut was founded in
1340 and was named after the Muslim saint Shah Haran
Chisti. The shrine is visited by Hindu and Muslims, and
was a summer retreat for the Mughals. During the British
period it became an important military base, especially
for operations in the Gurka War, but the government also
set out botanical gardens in 1817. It has become a
particularly important source of fruit trees for the
whole of India. The town is close enough to the mountain
to have superb views of the Himalayas. Nearby is the
small town of Nolji from which the trigonometrical
survey of the Himalayas was extended.
Bareilly was the capital of Rohilakhand and was founded
in 1537 by the Bas Deo and Barel Deo brothers. Hence it
was known as Bareilly. Traces of their fortress remains.
It was ceded to the British in 1801 and also contributed
to the drama of the Mutiny. There are various temples
and some monuments belonging to the Muslim period in
Bareilly like Mirza Masjid, Jama Masjid. The two
churches are Christ Church and St. Stephens.
Shahjahanpur is situated about 75 kms. from Bareilly.
Shahjahanpur is named after the Mughal Emperor by its
founder, Nawab Bahadur Khan in 1647. It came under
British control and experienced the Mutiny when
residents were attacked in the church.
How to reach Meerut
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, situated about 16
kms. from Rishikesh.
There is a branch line from Haridwar to Rishikesh via
Meerut. Bareilly is a transfer point for rail travel to
Haldwani and Nainital.
Meerut is connected by road to Haridwar, Rishikesh,
Dehradun, Delhi and Mussoorie and various other parts of