May 28, 2021

Convert into a Museum Upper Ganga Canal - Haridwar to Roorkee

Convert the abandoned old section of the Upper Ganga ( Ganges ) Canal ( from Har-Ki - Pauri, Haridwar to Roorkee ) in to a sort of national heritage museum- .
An Engineering Marvel

This section ,originally constructed around 1850 by the East India Company , was at that time the biggest canal system ever undertaken. It was and still is an engineering marvel It has aqueducts , super passages , massive sluice gates , spillways etc. 

There are massive "lion statues " guarding the canal , near Roorkee
Solani Aqueduct- India's First Railway Engine 

.The Solani aqueduct near Roorkee, apart from being an engineering marvel has the distinction of having first ever Steam Engine ( before the Bombay line ) actively operating in India to ferry massive amounts of earth required for raising the level of the canal 's course
Replica of this Engine  at Railway Station , Roorkee

Current sad state of the Canal- Open to Vandalism 
.But. presently , this old section of the beautiful canal is in dis use and a new canal course has been constructed parallel to the old canal. The old canal is in a very pitiable condition. It is neglected and open to vandalism.

It should , immediately , be declared a 'National Heritage " and suitably preserved. It can , also , be developed in to an attractive tourist designation.
 Endangered Riverine Creatures

Further , aqua riverine life like the great Indian Gharial and Ganga Dolphines  , which once was abundant in the Ganga and which is now threatened can be introduced in some sections of this great canal.
( " GANGES " is the English adaption of the word GANGA JI " ) 
Message From my Great Friend Anil Sahai
Hi Ashwani,
Let me share some deep personal association with Upper Ganges Canal, Roorkee and the lion statues at the banks of the great canal.
1. My father was an alum of Roorkee University (now IIT-Roorkee), and studied civil engineering. In 1950s, the diploma (yes, not degree) used to be a 3 years course.
2. There are three very interesting facts/crossings of canal between Roorkee and Haridwar: 1) Canal over river (Roorkee) - a canal bridge, 2) River over Canal (near Bahadarabad) and 3) where Canal and a small river meet on the same level like a +, and the flow is managed by dam gates on the river as well as the canal.
3. Just so happens, my father had a great story (?) to share. When the canal was first built, the canal bridge next to Roorkee towards Haridwar fell with the weight of the flowing water. It was rebuilt, and before they let the water in the canal, the chief engineer (a British) went and stood on the bridge, and then ordered to open the water flow while still standing on the bridge! My salute to his confidence!
4. I had an opportunity to live in Roorkee for a year in early 1970s when my father was posted there. We lived in the Hydel Colony - on the banks of the canal. In summer months, I used to swim across back and forth everyday in chilly water. The flow was so fast that we used to get drifted at least 100 yards by the time we reached the other side. We also used to jump from the bridge into the canal where the lion statues were. 
5. Those lion statues had a special association/origin with/from the Roorkee University. The annual athletic champion was awarded a silver Lion Trophy - looking exactly like the lion statues you find next to the main bridge today.
6. My father won the Lion Trophy every year in his 3 years - a record (1949/50/51)first in history of the university ... clean sweep of every race event! The record was held until late 1970s! These trophies (picture posted below) are treasured at my sister's home in Minneapolis!
Thanks for your post about this engineering icon mostly forgotten - not to mention how much it has helped the farmers in UP along its path originating in Haridwar from Ganges and finally ending in Ganges again near Kanpur in UP


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