Bubaneswar city, the capital of Odisha is a 2000-year old city and is named after Tribhubaneswar (Lord of the three worlds). Historically, it has been known by different names such as Toshali, Kalinga Nagari, Nagar Kalinga, Ekamra Kanan and Ekamra Kshetra. Central Bhubaneswar (Acharya Vihar to Forest Park) was a planned area has names of its localities named after various personalities or landmarks (ending with either Nagar or Vihar).
Others areas were basically small villages/mouzas nearby which still hold their old names till now. Interestingly, some of the locations in Bhubaneswar have interesting and little-known anecdotes associated with their names.
IRC VILLAGE: Previously an open field, this posh locality near CRP Square is said to be named after Indian Road Congress (IRC) Convention that was held in Bhubaneswar in 1980s.
MASTER CANTEEN: It is said that initially there was a Samosa and snacks counter or canteen, which was opened by a teacher (customers fondly called him ‘Master’) and thus the name, Master Canteen came into being. In the later years, Master Canteen became ‘Master General Store’, the only shop in the locality, just outside the Bhubaneswar Railway Station.
Now, a fast food chain under the brand name ‘Master Canteen’ has been put up just outside the Lalchand Market Complex to revive the old aura. Its branches are now being opened across Bhubaneswar.
DHAULI: The name ‘Dhauli’ has evolved from Toshali/Toshala, the capital city of erstwhile Kalinga. Similarly, Kausalyaganga is a combination of Kausalya and Ganga, named by King Chodagangadeva (Ganga) in the name of his Queen Kausalya when he converted a huge acre of land into a scenic lake. Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) is also located there.
OLD TOWN: Old Town is a typical designation of a historic or original core of a city or town. In Bhubaneswar, Old Town is the oldest part of the city (the area from BJB Nagar to Kapileswar), characterised mostly by Shaiva heritage temples. The 11th century Lingaraj temple stands there and Old Town is famous for its Ashoka Ashtami celebrations.
POONAMA GATE: The railway level crossing at Palaspalli on which a new flyover has been made is said to be named after a girl called ‘Poonam’ from the Bhimatangi locality, who is said to have committed suicide in that area.
JAGAMARA: Jagamara hamlet was originally a dwelling place for the travelling Jain and Buddhist monks who used to visit Khandagiri caves. These monks also performed yagnas and the local name ‘Jagamara’ has probably been derived from the term ‘Jagyanmara’ (where the holy yagna becomes impure).
RUPALI SQUARE: This famous junction at Saheed Nagar was named after the small restaurant named Rupali (some are also of the opinion that it was Rupali Hotel) at the very place where the Pathik Hotel stands now.
RAJMAHAL SQUARE: This busy square was named after Raj Mahal hotel that opened its doors about 60 years ago near the chowk by Raju Sahoo (Raj Kishore Sahoo) who initially was selling vadas. It is said to be the first hotel-cum-restaurant in the town and is still in business.
KALPANA SQUARE: It was named after the nearby Kalpana Theatre, the first theatre of Bhubaneswar and an important landmark during that time. Its said that Kalpana was the theatre owner’s daughter’s name. The theatre has been demolished.
CHANDRASEKHARPUR: The largest residential locality in Asia, Chandrasekharpur is named after the Chandrasekhar Mahadev tempe in Patia.
LAXMISAGAR: A pond with the name Laxmisagar was made on the orders of King Chodagangadeva in the name of one of his queens, Laxmivati. Legend also has it that this name has been derived from the tragic love story of a young girl called Laxmi and her boyfriend Sagar who lived there centuries ago.
PANDAV NAGAR: Pandav Nagar is named after the Pandava caves located inside the colony. The Pandav caves were built in the 7th century for the Lakulish (Shaiva) sadhus to reside. Currently its being renovated as a park by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
SISHUPALGARH: Sishupalgarh fort was built by the King Sishupal Kesari in the 3rd century. It is said that the name is derived from the small hamlet Sishupa, located nearby.
The writer is a freelancer and has compiled this article from various sources.