Our Telangana and Andhra cities and districts were once ruled by a gamut of kings and queens, and had their own kingdom-ish names. Over the years, either due to changes in pronunciation(the British were really bad with our language. Really.), or in the search for a more relevant name, they have changed. Here are they, for your eyes only!
1. It was called Eddulapuram because there was big cattle market with a lot of Oxen(eddulu). Adilabad derives its name from the erstwhile ruler of Bijapur, Mohammed Adil Shah.
2. Now this is a well known one. Quli Qutb Shah was so much in love with the court dancer Bhagmati that he named a whole city after her. Even the present name is after her Muslim title, Hyder Mahal.
3. Secunderabad used to be referred to as Lashkar meaning a military camp or the army .
4. Before Kakatiyas, during the time of Chalukyas it was known as Sabbinadu with Vemulawada as its Capital City. Now named after Syed Karimullah.
5. It had two names, “Rukmammapeta” and “Palamooru”. The name was changed to Mahabubnagar on 4th December 1890, in honour of Mir Mahbub Ali Khan Asaf Jah VI, the Nizam of Hyderabad (1869-1911 AD).
6. Nalgonda in the past was referred to as Neelagiri. During the period of Bahamani kingdom, it had been renamed
as Nallagonda (Black Hill).
7. Its original name was Indur, a take-off on Indrapura, as it was founded during the reign of the Rashtrakuta ruler, Indra III. It was named after the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, Nizam-Ul-Mulk.
8. ‘Ekashilanagaram’or ‘Orugallu’ mean the same: Carved out of a single rock. Warangal is a stylized version of the latter.
9. The British officers couldn’t pronounce Kakinandiwada, so it became Cocanada. The locals didn’t like it post-independence, thus Kakinada.
10. Garthapuri, meaning a place surrounded by water ponds(garta/gunta). Villagers couldn’t exactly speak fluent Sanskrit, and turned it into Guntooru.
11. No reference to monkeys here. Bandar or Bunder is a Persian word meaning “port” and “haven”. Machili, as you smart readers know, means fish.
12. Our personal favorite on the list. What a name…what rajasam! They should have never changed it. Cha!
13. The city was known as Chicacole before our Independence. And even before that, while under Muslim rule, it was called Gulshanabad, meaning ‘City of Rose Gardens’.
14. Two theories: One – that it was named after Sri Vishaka Varma. Another theory is that it is named after a woman disciple of Buddha named Viśakha. However, the British didn’t think much about the origin and called it Waltair.
15. Helapuri, as it was called during its Buddhist times as part of the kingdom Vengi, changed to Ellooru, and then to Eluru.
16. The present name is derived after a local hill, which was called ‘Stambhadri’. The city was known by different names like Stambhadri, Kambhadri, Kambham mettu, Khammam mettu and then finally as Khammam.
17. Kurnool, the land of Kondareddy Burj, derived its name from “Kandenavolu”. Kandena essentially means grease. Don’t ask us how it fits.
18. Medak is an alteration of the word Methukuseema. Methuku means a grain of cooked rice.
19. Most people think the British couldn’t pronounce Vijayawada and called it Bezawada. There’s a tale behind the city acquiring the name “Bezawada”, that Goddess Krishnaveni requested Arjuna to make a passage for her to merge into the Bay of Bengal. Hence, Arjuna made a bejjam (hole) through the mountains and the place came to be known as Bejjamwada which later changed to Bezawada.
All of you Telangana and Andhra history buffs, comment below if you think we’ve missed any.
If you wish to contribute, mail us at email@example.com