Gurugram from Gurgaon – Why Indian cities change names?

Allegories, traditions and religious credence forcing name revisions countrywide


News - India & You

October 24, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

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The name Gurugram dates back to the mythological age of 'Mahabharata'

The name Gurugram dates back to the mythological age of ‘Mahabharata’

Not the first but the latest city in India to get a renewed identity – Gurgaon, the north Indian city will now be known as Gurugram.

While discussions were already at the last stage, the approval from the central government regarding the change of the name was pending. The Haryana government in a gazette notification last day announced that the city, Gurgaon will be known as Gurugram. However, renaming the district, Gurgaon is still in the pipeline. This is not the first time that a city is renamed on the basis of regional sentiments and vernacular roots in India.

Gurugram from Mahabharata

Earlier this year, in April the government of Haryana floated the proposal to rename the city based on a historic allegory related to Guru Dronacharya from the great epic of Mahabharata. It is believed that the teacher of all the Pandavas (the five brothers from the epic) Dronacharya received this village as a token of gratitude from his disciples and hence the name Guru-gram, which later got distorted to Gurgaon.

The notice to change the name of Gurgaon city had been sent for printing over a week prior after the Haryana Government got a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Central Government. In any case, the Haryana Cabinet endorsement to change the name of Gurgaon region came just on October 18 postponing the procedure to rename it. Although they needed to rename, both the city and the district at the same time to avoid ambiguity, the notification for the district area came late. Presently it has been sent to the legal department and the notice may take a couple of more days after it is cleared by the division.

What’s in a name? Everything!

In India, there would be more than 100 cities that are renamed over the years and more than 1000 roads that witnessed a new identity. Here are some of the most significant cities that got a new name in India.

Bombay to Mumbai: The Portuguese called it Bombaim during the mid 17th century, the British changed it to Bombay and it remained so until 1996. The financial capital was renamed as Mumbai deriving from the term Maha-Amba, the patron goddess.

Bangalore to Bengaluru: The Karnataka government decided to rename the silicon city close to something it was earlier known as. ‘Bengavaluru’ was a part of the Ganga Kingdom during 1004.

Calcutta to Kolkata: The first financial capital of the East India Company in India was Calcutta and it retained its name until the more colloquial term came to the surface. In 2001, the name Kolkata was proposed and accepted.

Madras to Chennai: In 1996, Madras, a more British name was changed to Chennai. There are several allegories to support the new name; however, the most suitable one seems to be the one connecting the Chenna Kesava Perumal temple.

Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram: The city was known as Trivandrum until 1991 when the administration chose to change it to its unique name Thiruvananathapuram. It’s pronounced in Malayalam as ‘Thiru-anantha-puram’, which implies the city of Lord Ananta.

Cochin to Kochi: In the fourteenth century, Kochi was an imperative business point dealing in spices. It was otherwise called the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The birthplace of the name Kochi is purportedly gotten from the Malayalam word ‘Kochu azhi’, which signifies ‘little tidal pond’. The anglicized name offered route to a more conventional Kochi in 1996.

Waltair to Vishakhapatnam: Vishakhapatnam’s (Vizag) history can be followed back to the sixth century BC. It was truly a part of the Kalinga area and afterward in the end controlled by the Vengi kingdom, Pallava and Ganga administration. It is the biggest city of Andhra Pradesh both as far as region and populace. It went from being called Waltair amid British run to Vizagpatnam after freedom and later got to be Vishakhapatnam in 1987.

Many more cities got their new names from legends and folklores mostly for its cultural or religious beliefs. Some of the significant ones are Mangalore was changed to Mangaluru, Bellary to Ballari, Craganore to Kodungallur, Simla to Shimla, Mysore to Mysuru, Baroda to Vadodara and Truchur to Thrissur. Gurugram from Gurgaon adds to the list of this uncanny affinity of Indian cities changing their names from time to time. Let’s wait for the next!

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