Watercolour of the Ganges Canal at Roorkee in the Saharanpur District of Uttar Pradesh, by William Simpson dated 1863. The drawing is inscribed on the front in ink: 'Ganges Canal, Roorkee. Wm Simpson. 1863.' The building of the Ganges Canal was commenced in 1840 by Sir Proby Cautley and it was opened by Lord Dalhousie in April 1854. Roorkee, situated on the main line of the Oudh (Avadh) and Rohilkhand Railway, was a cantonment and the headquarters of Roorkee tahsil (adninistrative district). The Upper Ganges Canal passed between the town and the cantonment, where two heavy batteries of artillery and the Bengal sappers and miners were stationed. The Imperial Gazetteer of India states, "It is now a fair sized town, with broad metalled roadways meeing at right angles, and lined with excellent shops. It is also provided with good saucer drains, which are flushed with water pumped from the canal. A short distance above the town the Ganges Canal is carried over the wide bed of the Solani by a magnificent brick aqueduct."