Places of Interest
Meerut is one of the significant tourist destinations of Uttar Pradesh. The city comprises many historical and cultural heritage sites. There are many beautiful gardens, monuments with great architecture and holy places in the city which are major tourist attractions here. A few of such places are:
The Augarnath Temple in Meerut is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple has historical importance as the first war of independence of India was also witnessed here. The actual date or year of the formation of the temple is not known but it is believed that the ‘shiva linga’ in the temple emerged on its own that is treated as a miracle of God and therefore attracts lots of devotees. In the past few years, several changes have been made in the temple. In 1968, a new temple was constructed and the old architecture was replaced. In 1987, a new hexagonal hall was also constructed there and in 2001, a ‘kalash’ (pitcher) made from 4.5 kg of gold was installed at the spire.
The John’s Church located in Meerut was built between 1819-1821. It is the oldest church in Northern India and was built during the British colonial period. It is considered as a masterpiece of architecture. There is a cemetery near the church which has the graves of the British people and their families who were killed during the revolt of 1857. The church is built in style of English church architecture which has a large open space for worship. The English Sunday Service is held every morning and the timings for regular Sunday service is 8.30 a.m. during summers and 9.30 a.m. during winters. On the occasions of Easter, Christmas or New Year the timings for the service is 10 a.m.
Gandhi Bagh, locally known as the ‘company gardens’ is located on Mall Road in Meerut. It was built before independence but is recently renamed. It has lush greenery with a wide range of flora within its premises. There is a musical fountain which runs every evening in the garden. Earlier, it had many entrances, and no entry fees was there, but now only one entrance is open for the public with a nominal entry charges. The Cantonment Board of Meerut maintains the Gandhi Bagh which at present is one of the attractions for amusement and recreational activities.
The Suraj Kund Park is maintained by the Municipal Corporation of Meerut (Nagar Nigam). The green ambience of this place is a major attraction for the visitors. There are ample of flora within the area of this place. It offers many recreational and amusement activities for the tourists and visitors. This place has history from the times of Mahabharata; it is believed that King Karna devoted his ‘kawach and kundal’ (divine armor) to Sun God at this place. Every year, a fair is organised during the time of Dussehra, which is celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm.
The Mughal mausoleum known as Shahpeer Sahab ki Dargah was built in 1628 by Nur Jahan, a popular Mughal Empress. It was built in the honour of a local Muslim Hazrat Shahpeer. According to the beliefs of the people, Shahpeer was the teacher of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The Dargah is a structure of red stones and is popular for its unique architecture. It is said that this mausoleum was constructed 24 hours before the death of Hazrat Shahpeer and the work on its construction was stopped midway and therefore, it is still believed to be incomplete. The tomb has beautiful and intricate nakshi work done on it and there is no roof on the tomb. This tomb has been listed as the national heritage monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. A local jagirdar, Rajaji is believed to have constructed the Shahpeer Gate in 1829 for the mausoleum.
The Digambar Jain Temple is one of the oldest temples in Meerut and dates back to thousands of years. There are seven altars with seven splendid spires within its courtyard. The first altar is known as the altar of ‘Tikhal Wale Baba’ and is believed to be built by the Gods of Heaven. Thousands of devotees visit this temple to get their prayers fulfilled and offer their prayers to ‘Tikhal Wale Baba’. There are around 720 idols of 24 Teerthankaras which belong to past, present & future.
The Shahid Smarak is devoted to the martyrs of India during the first war of freedom of India in 1857. There are lush green compounds in the Shahid Smarak and a Shahid Stambh which is located in the premises and devoted to the martyred freedom fighters. There is also a museum which preserves and depicts the war of independence through paintings and dioramas. The museum has two galleries that display the portraits of freedom fighters and their struggle during the revolt of 1857.
The Shahi Eid Gah was built by eighth Sultan of Delhi, Nasir ud din Mahmud who was the son of Iltutmish. It is almost 600 years old mosque and has the capacity to accommodate more than one lakh people. More than one lakh people can offer their prayers at the same time in the Eid Gah. The architecture and the carvings showcase the importance of the Mughal rule and the period of Delhi Sultanat in India. Few years ago, the gates of the Eid Gah were rebuilt for security reasons. It is one of the popular tourist spots of Meerut.
Parikshitgarh is also known as the ‘Qila parikshitgarh’ and is named after the King of Hastinapur, Parikshit. It is said that this fort was built by Parikhsit who was the grandson of Arjuna. It is also believed that it was restored in the eighteenth century by Nain Singh, a Gurjar king. During 1916, silver coins from the times of Shah Alam II were found in the fort.