How India's Major Urban Capitals Acquired Their Significance

How India's Major Urban Capitals Acquired Their Significance

India, a land steeped in history and rich cultural heritage, is home to several major urban centres serving as their respective regions' administrative, cultural, and economic hubs. Therefore, the state capital name of a city is not merely a label but carries fascinating historical legacies.

In this blog, you can embark on a journey to explore the captivating stories behind the names of India's prominent urban state capitalsand uncover their remarkable historical significance.

Kolkata - A Tale of Time and Transformation:

Kolkata has a name deeply rooted in history. Originally known as "Calcutta," it derived its name from the anglicised version of the Bengali name "Kolkata," which itself is believed to be derived from the Bengali words "K├┤likata" or "Kalikshetra." These words refer to the presence of the goddess Kali, an important deity in Hindu mythology. The city's name change in 2001 reflected a more significant movement to reclaim its cultural heritage and establish a stronger connection with its roots.

Mumbai - From Seven Islands to the City of Dreams:

Mumbai, the bustling financial capital of India, has a fascinating history behind its name. The city was originally a cluster of seven islands home to fishing communities. The term "Mumbai" is believed to have derived from the deity Mumbadevi, worshipped by the original Koli fishing community. Over time, the city expanded into a thriving metropolis, becoming the epicentre of India's film industry and the land of dreams for many aspiring actors and artists.

Chennai - From Madras to a Cultural Melting Pot:

Chennai has a name that has evolved over time. Originally known as "Madras," the city acquired its name from a small fishing village called "Madraspatnam." The British East India Company established an act there in the 17th century, and the word "Madras" was derived from "Madraspatnam." However, in 1996, the city's name was officially changed to Chennai, which is believed to be a shortened version of "Chennapattinam," the original name of the village, and refers to the ChennaKesavaPerumal Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

New Delhi - The Capital's Transformation:

New Delhi City with a name that signifies a significant shift in India's political landscape. After India gained independence in 1947, New Delhi became the new capital city to replace Calcutta (now Kolkata). The name "New Delhi" reflects the new beginning and the vision of a modern, independent India. It stands as a sign of the country's democratic ideals and its emergence as a global player on the world stage.

Bengaluru - The Garden City's Roots:

Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, is a city that has seen remarkable growth and development over the years. The city's original name was "Bengaval-uru," meaning "town of guards" in the Kannada language. It is believed that Bengaluru got its name from a folk legend associated with a Hoysala king who lost his way in a dense forest and was offered shelter and hospitality by an old woman. In gratitude, the king named the place "Bengaval-uru" or "Bengaluru." Over time, the name underwent changes, and the city emerged as a vibrant centre of technology and innovation.


The state capital name of each Indian city carries captivating historical legacies that speak of the country's diverse cultural heritage and rich past. These names serve as reminders of the historical events, deities, or communities that have shaped the cities and contributed to their present-day significance. By delving into the origins of these names, you can have a deeper appreciation for the heritage and diversity that make India's major urban centres unique and captivating.
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