A Facebook picture post of the Garhwali Ranges from Ganges Canal around Roorkee outskirts took many people by surprise. How can these peaks (150 ‘as the crow flies’ kilometers away) be visible? Can this be real?
A few experienced netizens versed with the Himalayas got committed to solving this Himalayan Puzzle. The first thing that came to the mind was to confirm the location of the picture.
Roorkee Ganges Canal
The Ganges Canal runs along a road that leads from Roorkee to Haridwar. One needs to reach the Nagar Nigam, Roorkee Bridge to get this mountain facing view. “It leads to Ziarat E Dargah Piran Kaliyar Sharif away from the populated area of Roorkee suburb,” says Amitava Chakraborty.
The Canal built in 1854 was a solution to the water crisis by Sir Proby Caultey. A beautiful Lion statue remains well preserved till this date. The watermark painting titled ‘The Ganges Canal, Roorkee’, depicts the snowy Himalayan Ranges.
The Mountain View, a myth or reality?
Many people who have visited Roorkee have rarely seen this view. “Impossible,” says one of the netizens who claimed to have lived in Roorkee. “Fake, Photoshopped” concludes another cybernaut. Many people questioned the authenticity of the picture.
Prakhar Dhruv Todaria was first to give an explanation in defense. “You need an absolute clear weather to have this kind of view. This is a rare and exceptional picture” explains Prakhar. He further stated, “You can not have this view from Dehradun, Haridwar, or Rishikesh since the Shivalik hills will block the sight and Himadari will be out of the line of sight.”
The line of Sight is better understood with the following graphical depiction.
Rohit Bhat was quick to crosscheck the Peaks falling in the line of sight with Roorkee on PeakFinder. An online reference for spotting Himalayan Peaks is as accurate as it can get. The results are encouraging.
Ramesh Tahlan annotated the peaks alignment with the Ganges Canal. Using Google Earth and Peakfinder data, he shared a useful illustration below.
Raj Kumar Khosla shared a ridge map of the major peaks (marked in yellow) as seen from Ganges Canal. “All the peaks of Gangotri group and part of Kedar group are visible. Aerial distance from Roorkee to the nearest peak Jaonli in the center frame is approx 135 Kms. Left to Right are Srikanta, Gangotri I, II, III, Jaonli, unnamed peaks , Jogin, Thalay Sagar, part of Meru, and part of Bharte Khunta” he states.
We would also like to mention Swaragrohini, Bandarpoonch and Kalanag Peaks are visible. From extreme left to right as you connect with Srikanta.
The final affirmation of the view came from Arvind Bahuguna. Arvind a local resident of Roorkee shared a picture taken by him in 2014. “I have been staying in Roorkee since 9 years and I could only see it one time in my life,” states Arvind.
The location of the picture is from The Ganges Canal. This wide angle frame depicts all the peaks, including Swaragrohini and Bandarpoonch Range.
One of the reasons why this view is rare is due to the atmospheric dust and solar glare. With rising level of atmospheric pollution and global warming, such views are hard to get.
We rest our case.