Meerut is the second largest city in the National Capital region, and as of 2011 the 33rd most populous urban agglomeration and the 26th most populous city in India. It ranked 292 in 2006 and is projected to rank 242 in 2020 in the list of largest cities and urban areas in the world. The municipal area (as of 2001) is 141.89 km2 (54.78 sq mi) with the cantonment covering 35.68 km2 (3,568.06 ha). The city is one of the largest producers of sports goods, and the largest producer of musical instruments in India. The city is also an education hub in western Uttar Pradesh. Meerut is also known as the "Sports City Of India". The city is famous for being the starting point of the 1857 rebellion against British colonial rule.
The city may have derived its name from 'Mayarashtra' (Sanskrit: मयराष्ट्र), the capital of the kingdom of Mayasura, Mandodari's father and Ravana's father-in-law. This name may have mutated to Mairashtra, Mai-dant-ka-khera, Mairaath and eventually Meerut.
According to another version, Maya(sura), being a distinguished architect, received from King Yudhishthira the land on which the city of Meerut now stands and he called this place Mayarashtra, a name which in the course of time became shortened to Meerut. Tradition also has it that the city formed a part of the dominions of Mahipala, the king of Indraprastha, and the word Meerut is associated with his name.
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 eastern-most 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 region to the south-west of the city was ruled by Har Dat, the Dor Rajput 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 of Ghazni in 1018, surrendering along with his forces to Mahmud. The prominent local landmark known as 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. Muhammad of Ghor's mamluk general Qutb-ud-din Aybak who went on to establish the Delhi Sultanate in 1206, attacked and captured Meerut in 1193. After capturing and sacking Delhi where thousands of inhabitants were killed after a general massacre was ordered after a civilian uprising, Timur in 1399 attacked and sacked Meerut. It was held by Ilyas Afghan and his son Maula Muhammad Thaneswari who were assisted by non-Muslims led by Safi. Timur tried to negotiate a surrender, to which the inhabitants of the fort replied by stating that Tarmashirin had tried to capture it in the past but failed. Incensed, he set forth with 10,000 cavalry. The forces scaled the walls and Safi was killed in the battle. The inhabitants were killed and their wives and children enslaved. The fortifications and houses were razed to the ground with prisoners ordered to be flayed alive.
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 revolt, which catapulted Meerut into international prominence, started in March, 1857 at Barrackpore, Bengal. Sepoy Mangal Pandey shot and missed two Europeans, failed to kill himself, and was hanged. By April, the fire of Pandey’s Uprising scorched north India and reached Meerut, the second-largest East India Company garrison. Here, Europeans and native sepoys were evenly balanced, with a little more than 2,000 on each side. The European cantonment was separated from the ‘native lines.’ Close by were Sadar Bazar and Lal Kurti Bazar, the latter named after the red uniforms worn by Company soldiers. On 24 April 1857, Meerut’s commander, Colonel CarmichaelSmyth, paraded 90 Indian sepoys of the Bengal Cavalry, hired mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He ordered them to fire the new Enfield cartridges: 85 refused. The cartridges were covered with paper that had to be torn off: Muslims believed the paper was greased with pig and Hindus, with cow fat.
All 85 were stripped of their uniforms, imprisoned for ten years and shackled - this was a major humiliation. The rebels were from the 3rd cavalry: they owned their horses, and were the upper-caste elite. If they could be shackled, what could others expect from the Company? On Sunday, 10 May 1857, Kotwal Dhan Singh Gurjar opened the gates of the prison. These soldiers, along with other imprisoned soldiers escaped prison and declared themselves free, revolted, attacked and killed several of the British authorities to take the city under their control. This marked the beginning of a widespread revolt across northern India as these soldiers marched towards Delhi. 10 May is still celebrated as a local holiday in Meerut.
Meerut was also the venue of the controversial Meerut Conspiracy Case in March 1929, in which several trade unionists, including three Englishmen, were arrested for organising Indian-rail strike. This immediately caught attention back in England, inspired the 1932 play titled Meerut Prisoners, by Manchester street theatre group, the 'Red Megaphones', highlighting the detrimental effects of colonisation and industrialisation Electricity was brought to Meerut in 1931. In the 1940s, Meerut cinemas had a "Don't Move" policy during playing of the British national anthem. The last session of the Indian National Congress before Indian independence was held at Victoria Park in Meerut on 26 November 1946. It was in this session that the Constitution-making committee was constituted.
The city and district also suffered from communal (Hindu-Sikh) riots in 1984 and (Hindu-Muslim) riots in 1982 and in 1987, during which the Hashimpura massacre took place, in May 1987, when personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) allegedly shot dead 42 Muslims, the trial of the case is still pending. In 2006, a fire at a consumer electronics "Brand India" fair in Victoria Park Stadium killed at least 100 people, with authorities already confirming 45 fatalities, although a specific figure on a toll was difficult to put and was predicted to be much higher.
The British formally touched base in Meerut in 1803, through an arrangement with the Marathas. The cantonment of Meerut was set up in 1806 with particular key interests including its closeness to Delhi and its area inside the rich Ganges – Yamuna doab. With time Meerut advanced into one of the biggest and most vital military stations of India.Meerut was founded as Mayarashtra (lit. Maya's country) by Maya, who was the father of Mandodari, Ravana's wife in the Ramayana. Meerut was the capital of Maya. Thus the city is also known as 'Ravan Ka Sasural' literally meaning "Ravana's wife's home". There is an old Chandi Devi temple in the compound of Nauchandi ground. It is believed that Ravan's wife Mandodari used to come here to worship Goddess Chandi.
In the Ramayana, Shravan Kumar carried his feeble parents on his shoulders to all the pilgrimage sites in India, but it is believed that when he passed through Meerut, he put down his parents for a while to rest and drink. All of a sudden, his behaviour with his parents changed awkwardly. But as soon as he left Meerut, things went normally.
Every year, after the festival of Holi, a fair is conducted at the Nauchandi grounds. There is a temple, known as Chandi Devi temple, and a mosque near Bale Miyan's mausoleum facing each other. Hence, this fair represents the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims.
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 49 °C (120 °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 The lowest temperature ever recorded is −0.4 °C (31.3 °F), recorded on Sunday, 6 January 2013. Rainfall is about 845 millimetres (33 in) 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.
Meerut is the largest city in NCR after Delhi. Meerut 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]). However, Meerut's population is three times less than that of Delhi (Current population of Meerut is 3,443,689).
Meerut district is a part of Meerut Division, headed by the Divisional Commissioner, who is an IAS officer. The District Magistrate, hence, reports to the Divisional Commissioner of Meerut. Development of infrastructure and maintenance of law and order in the Division is the responsibility of the Divisional Commissioner. The current Commissioner is Prabhat Kumar.
Meerut district administration is headed by the District Magistrate who is an IAS officer. The district is divided into three tehsils, namely Meerut, Mawana and Sardhana, each headed by a sub divisional magistrate. These tehsils are further divided into 12 blocks. The current District Magistrate of Meerut is Sameer Verma.
Meerut district comes under Meerut police zone and Meerut police range of Uttar Pradesh Police. Meerut zone is headed by an IPS officer in the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADG), whereas Meerut range is headed by an IPS officer in the rank of Inspector General of Police (IG). The Current ADG, Meerut Zone is Prashant Kumar, whereas the current IG, Meerut Range is Ram Kumar.
District Police of Meerut is headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) who is an IPS officer and is accountable to the District Magistrate for Law and Order enforcement. He is assisted by four Superintendents of Police (SP)/Additional Superintendent of Police (Addl. SP)(City, Rural Area, Traffic and Crime). The Meerut district is divided into numerous police circles, each headed by a Circle Officer in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. SP (Traffic) and SP (Crime) are assisted by one Circle Officer in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police each. The current SSP is Manzil Saini.
Infrastructure development of the city is looked after by the Meerut Development Authority (MDA) administered by Divisional Commissioner (ex-officio Chairman) and Vice-Chairman (IAS Officer appointed by the Uttar Pradesh Government). The current Vice-Chairman of Meerut Development Authority is Sita Ram Yadav.
The city is administered by Meerut Municipal Corporation, which is responsible for performing civic administrative functions administered by Municipal Commissioner (PCS Officer) whereas Mayor is ceremonial head of the Corporation. The first mayor of Meerut was Late Mr. Arun Jain from independent and first Deputy Mayor was Late Mr. Mohd. Ashraf Advocate from Indian Union Muslim League.
The office of the Chief Commissioner, Customs & Central Excise, Meerut Zone, has jurisdiction over 13 districts of Uttrakhand and 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh. This jurisdiction was carved out of the Lucknow Zone. It comprises the erstwhile Customs & Central Excise Commissionerates of Meerut & Noida. The Meerut Commissionerate was bifurcated into two Commissionerates, namely, ‘Meerut-I and Ghaziabad’ and the Noida Commissionerate was bifurcated into ‘Noida and Meerut-II’. In addition, jurisdiction of Central Excise Division Bareilly was included in the jurisdiction of Meerut-II Commissionerate.
Meerut Cantonment was established by the British East India Company in 1803 after the Battle of Laswari. It is the second largest cantonment of India both in land area 3,568.06 hectares (35.68 km2) and population of 93684 (civil + military) people as per 2011 census). The Revolt of 1857 started from "Kali Paltan" in Meerut Cantonment and Indian soldiers stationed here actively participated in the rebellion. The cantonment surrounds the old city from 3 sides – from Pallavpuram to Sainik Vihar to Ganga Nagar. It is well connected with the rest of country by roads as well as by rail. The Delhi Niti Paas Road (State Highway No. 45) passes through Meerut Cantonment. Meerut cantonment was the divisional headquarters of the 7th (Meerut) Division of the British Indian Army from 1829 to 1920.
Soldiers from the cantonment have actively participated in the First Battle of Ypres, both the 1st and 2nd Battles of El Alamein, Battle of France, Burma Campaign, the Indo-Pakistani Wars, Bangladesh Liberation War and Kargil War.
It has been the regimental center of Punjab Regiment Corps of Signals, Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment and Dogra Regiment in the past.
Meerut is the 63rd-fastest-growing urban area in the world. It is the 14th fastest developing city in India. A June 2011 report by US financial services firm Morgan Stanley gave Meerut the 5th spot on the "vibrancy" index, ahead of Delhi and Mumbai. Meerut ranked second on both the financial penetration index, which measures things like the presence of ATMs and bank branches, and on the consumption index, indicating the city’s transformation into an urban town. While the city ranked in the bottom 10 in job creations, the report suggests that overall there are plenty of signs of "potential for urbanisation," including future employment opportunities. The infrastructure segment of Meerut is currently going through a boom phase with many new projects coming up in and around the city. There are many new buildings, shopping complexes, malls, roads, flyovers and apartments coming up. The Upper Ganga Canal Expressway is also under development. On the India City Competitiveness Index, the city ranked 45th in 2010, 37th in 2011 and 39th in 2012.
Meerut is one of the important industrial towns of western Uttar Pradesh with several traditional and modern industries. It is traditionally known for handloom works and scissors industry. Meerut was one of the first cities in northern India where publishing was set up during the 19th century. It was a major center of commercial publishing during the 1860s and 1870s.
Meerut is a rich agricultural area with such pockets of land that do not fit in for crop purpose. Being in the proximity of Delhi, it is ideal for industry. It is home to 520 micro, small and medium scale industries. As of August 2006, Meerut has about 23,471 industrial units, including 15,510 small-scale units and 7,922 cottage industries.
Existing industries in the city include tyres, textile, transformer, sugar, distillery, chemical, engineering, paper, publishing, and sports goods manufacture. Prospective industries include IT and ITES.
The first GNU/Linux User Group of Uttar Pradesh was started in Meerut on 08-08-2008 by a group of Software Freedom enthusiasts led by Mohit Singh, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.
The city is home to some prominent regional pharmaceuticals companies like Perk Pharmaceuticals Limited, Mankind Pharma & Bestochem. Meerut is one of the major manufacturing regions for sports goods in India. The city is especially famous for the manufacture of cricket goods with SG being the largest Indian cricket goods manufacturer and exporter operating in Meerut. Meerut is also a hub of gold design in India. Meerut is also the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in India. Meerut is also home to a battle gear and armoury industry which produces gear for use in Hollywood films and television series. Notable uses have been in the movies Gladiator, 300 and the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The industry is pegged to be around ₹25 crore (US$3.9 million) per annum.
Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) has two industrial estates in the city, namely Partapur and Udyog Puram.
Aside shops representing a range of well-known brands, car showrooms, hotels, bars and clubs, the city's gold market is one of Asia’s largest, employing over 25,000 skilled craftsmen and processing around 60 kilograms of the precious metal per day. Begum Pul is the hub of Meerut where you can practically buy anything (including many bookstores). There are four malls in Meerut namely Shopprix mall, Era mall, PVS mall ,and City square mall.
Meerut has shown healthy numbers in terms of revenue generation. In 2005–06, Meerut occupied the fifth slot and contributed Rs 10,306 crore to the direct tax collection. It slipped to number six in 2006–07 when the revenue collection at Rs 11,203 crore was 18% lower than the target of Rs 13,627 crore. According to statistics compiled by the Income Tax department, Meerut contributed a Rs.10,089 crore to the national treasury in 2007/08, overall it was ranked 9th outperforming Lucknow, Jaipur, Bhopal, Kochi and Bhubaneshwar.
The nearest airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport which is about 100 km away.
The Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Airport is located at Partapur. It was proposed by the state government that the airstrip be converted to an international airport to reduce pressure on Delhi airport. However, Plans to expand the Domestic airport were called off after protests against land acquisition started in other parts of the state. Following an accident in May 2012, the city administration barred private flights from using the airstrip.
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. Upper Ganga Canal Expressway which passes through outskirts of the city is under development.
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. A JNNURM scheme was put in place. Low Floor City Buses (under JNNURM), 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.Delhi-Meerut Expressway(Under Construction)
Delhi–Meerut Expressway is an under construction 90 km long controlled-access expressway, connecting Delhi with Meerut via Dasna in Ghaziabad in India. While the present stretch of National Highway 24 (NH-24) up to Uttar Pradesh Gate will be widened to 14 lanes from the present 8, the road between UP Gate and Dasna will be also be fourteen-laned. According to NHAI the entire construction work has been divided into three stages. The first stage will be from Delhi to Dasna (km 0 to km 27.5, 14-lane), while the second stage will be from Dasna to Hapur (km 27.5 to km 49.9) on NH-24 (six lane). The third stage will include construction of a 37 km long new alignment, a green-field alignment, from Dasna-Meerut (6 lanes).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for expressway on December 31, 2015.
Meerut lies on the Delhi–Saharanpur electrified railway line and has five railway stations: Meerut City, Meerut Cantt, Partapur, Mohiuddinpur and Pabli Khas. Meerut City railway station is the busiest. 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.
About 20,000 passengers travel daily to Delhi and back. Around 27 pairs of trains run between Meerut and Delhi, and four between Meerut and Khurja. Two trains are available for Lucknow daily, namely Nauchandi Express and Rajya Rani Express. A weekly train goes to Chennai and Kuchuvelli. Daily trains connect Meerut to Bombay, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Rajkot and cities in other states.Metro Project
On December 30, 2014, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet had approved the proposed Metro Rail projects in Meerut, to boost urban mass transport infrastructure in Meerut.The state government has nominated RITES Limited and Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) for preparing the respective detailed project report (DPR) and as coordinator, respectively. The development authorities would be nodal agencies for DPR.
The metro project got the green signal from the divisional commissioner. It was decided in the meeting that the project would be along two corridors - Partapur to Pallavpuram Phase 2 and Rajban Market to Gokalpur village. The main stations on the first corridor will be Partapur, Panchwati Enclave, Rithani, Rithani West, Shatabdi Nagar, Devlok, Madhavpuram, Meerut Railway Station Road, Lajpat Bazaar, Begampul, Gandhi Bagh, Lekha Nagar, Pallavpuram Dorli, Ansal City and Pallavpuram Phase 2. While the corridor in the Partapur-Pallavpuram Phase 2 route will cover 20 km and will have a total number of 18 stations in between, the 10 km-long route from Rajban Market to Gokalpur village will have nine stations.Rapid Rail
The NCR Transport Plan 2021 proposed a rail-based mass transit system called Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) between Delhi to Meerut with the Shahdara-Ghaziabad section scheduled for construction during 2001-11 and the Ghaziabad-Meerut section scheduled for 2011-21.
In September 2010, the RRTS was reported to be proposed between Anand Vihar and Meerut with the project in its initial stages. The cost was projected to be around ₹1,000 crore (US$160 million) with the expected time of the journey being 45 minutes. In November 2010, the train speed was proposed to be between 130-160 kmph with stations at Anand Vihar, Sahibabad, Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Guldhar, Duhai, Moradnagar, Modinagar, Meerut South, Shatabdi Nagar, Meerut Centre, Begumpul, Meerut North, Pallavpuram.
On 14 December 2010, the NCR Planning Board, Meerut Development Authority (MDA) and Meerut Nagar Nigam approved this system. In August 2011, it was reported that the project tender had been awarded to Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS). The proposed system was to have dedicated trains between Anand Vihar and Meerut, which stop nowhere in between, and trains which stop at stations to be constructed after a gap of 4–5 km. The reported stations were Anand Vihar, Vaishali, Mohan Nagar, Meerut Road (Airtel Cut) Morta, Duhai, Muradnagar, Gang Nahar, Modi Nagar, Mohiuddinpur, Meerut Bypass Cut and Pallavpuram with completion expected in 2017. The track between Anand Vihar to Dabur was proposed to be underground with the rest of the track overhead.
On 11 July 2013, the Union Cabinet of India approved the formation of the National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTCL) with a seed capital of ₹100 crore (US$16 million). The corporation is to take up the construction of the 90 km-long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor on a priority basis (along with two other corridors) with planned completion in 2016. It was reported that the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the three corridors were under the process of finalisation.
In December 2013, problems were reported in the proposed alignment of the Delhi-Meerut corridor. In January 2014, it was reported that the proposed alignment had to be changed due to objections by NHAI and the feasibility report had to be prepared again. The new proposed alignment increased the length from 90 km to 106 km.
According to the 2011 census, the Meerut Urban Agglomeration (Meerut UA) has a population of around 1.42 million, (comparable to kingdom of Bahrain or Trinidad and Tobago) with the municipality contributing roughly 1.31 million of it. The Meerut Urban Agglomeration consists of area falling under Meerut Municipal Coorportation, Meerut Cantonment Board and 4 census towns of Sindhawali, Amehra Adipur, Aminagar Urf Bhurbaral and Mohiuddinpur. This makes Meerut the 33rd most populous urban agglomeration and the 28th most populous city in India. The sex ratio in Meerut UA is 887, lower than the state average of 908; while the child sex ratio is 845, lower than the state average of 899. 12.99% of the population is under 6 years of age. The overall literacy rate is 76.28%, higher than the state average of 69.72%. Meerut has a crime rate (total cognisable crimes under IPC per lakh population) of 309.1, higher than the state average of 96.4 and the national average of 196.7.
As of 2017, Meerut ranks 328th(based on population), 189th(based on population density), 648th(based on built-up area) among world's urban areas.
According to the 2001 census, the city ranked 2nd in terms of population in NCR and 25th in India.
Most traditional Indian festivals, including Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Eid among others are celebrated with fervor 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 either 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.
The Nauchandi Mela is an annual fair held at Nauchandi Ground in Meerut. The fair stretches for about a month and is organized by the Municipal Corporation of Meerut. It generally starts from the second Sunday after Holi. The main exhibits are the artistic and religious rituals followed in rustic Uttar Pradesh. The fair witness more than 50,000 visitors every year. The Indian Railways' Nauchandi Express train is named after this fair.
The fair has a prominent history dating back several hundreds of years. It started in the year 1672 AD as a one-day cattle trading fair. The fair has been held every year, excluding 1858, the year after 1857 revolt, which started from Meerut.
Since then cattle trading has been replaced by a number of other activities. The fair feature shops for Lucknow's Chikan work, Moradabad's brassware, Varanasi's carpets, rugs and silk sarees, Agra's footwear, Kanpur's leather items, etc. Meerut’s own products like sports goods, scissors, gajaks, nan-khatai are also sold. Giant rides, wheels, circus and various other recreational arenas where artists perform stunts, remains a big attraction of the fair.
Meerut is home to a film industry, which has a following in Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The films are usually folklore stories or comedies or localised versions of Bollywood hits.
Notable people from Meerut in the film and television industry include Bharat Bhushan, Aziz Mian, Mandakini, Achint Kaur, Kailash Kher, Chitrangada Singh, Vishal Bhardwaj, Deepti Bhatnagar and Pravesh Rana.
The UK-based poet and Hindi educationalist Jai Verma was born in Jiwana, Meerut.
Meerut is an education hub of Western Uttar Pradesh with four universities, approximately 50 engineering colleges, 23 management colleges, seven pharmacy colleges, four colleges offering hotel management, one college offering fashion design, over 150 academic colleges and over 50 schools. The city is home to Chaudhary Charan Singh University (formerly Meerut University), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Swami Vivekanand Subharti University and Shobhit University. The city has one government-run engineering college, Sir Chhotu Ram Institute of Engineering and Technology, a constituent college of Chaudhary Charan Singh University. The city also has St. John's Sr. Sec. School, which was established by Begum Samru and is over 130 years old.
Meerut Institute of Engineering & Technology is the oldest engineering institute of Meerut district. It was established in year 1997.
Chaudhary Charan Singh University (CCSU) is public and state university which has many degree colleges affiliated to it. They fall in two divisions: Saharanpur and Meerut with nine districts including Saharanpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Gautam Budh Nagar, Bagpat, Hapur, Bulandshahr and Ghaziabad administered by Vice-Chancellor and Registrar (PCS officer). The Indian Film and Television Institute is located at the western bypass of the city. The city has two medical colleges: Subharti Medical College and Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College.
The nearest government university which offers degrees in Engineering, Science, Management and Humanities is Gautam Buddha University located in Greater Noida.
Meerut is becoming a media centre, as journalists from all over Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states are working in Meerut. The law and order situation has improved a lot in the recent past and media has had an important role to play in it. Radio stations shared with Delhi are Radio City 91.1 MHz, Big FM 92.7 MHz, Red FM 93.5 MHz, Radio One 94.3 MHz, Hit 95 (95 MHz), Radio Mirchi 98.3 MHz, AIR FM Rainbow 102.6 MHz, Meow FM 104.8 MHz, AIR FM Gold 106.4 MHz. Radio IIMT (90.4 MHz) is the only radio station located in the city. The Hindi-language daily newspapers Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Hindustan Dainik, Janwani, Hindu, Rashtrasewa, National Duniya, DLA, I-Next are published from the city. The English daily Times of India, Meerut edition and the English language supplement HT City, Meerut with Hindustan Times is also published there. Moneymakers, an English daily is also published there.
Meerut is one of the prominent Center in the country besides Jalandhar for the manufacture of sports goods. There are numerous sports companies in the city specially for cricket namely SS, SF, SG, BDM. Players like MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Virat Kohli, Kumar Sangakkara and many others have used bats made in Meerut.
In 2015 it was reported that Meerut had the second highest Murder Rate in India. In 2009 Meerut topped the list of Uttar Pradesh cities in facing crimes. Meerut is a hub for stolen vehicles. Meerut is also a hub for fake protein powder supplements.
Tourist destinations in and around Meerut include: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, Indian Rebellion 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 (Hindi: शहीद स्मारक Shaheed Smarak): 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.The park also houses a small water storage chamber and motor which is noted to have been removed from The Red Fort in Delhi and erected here.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 (Hindi: शाहपीर की दरगाह Shahpeer ki dargah) – 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 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 (Hindi: शाही ईदगाह) – 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 Fort – 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 (Hindi: बले मियाँ की दरगाह Bale Miyan ki Dargah) – 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. It is also believed that there are a total of five ponds(kunds) in India out of which Suraj kund of meerut is the biggest. The pond was naturally filled with the sacred water but with time it evaporated and the pond was left all vacant. Presently the nagar nigam has transformed it into a public place of visit with entry ticket at a cost.
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.