Kanpur to Kolkata: Cities That Have Been Renamed Several Times

In the last few years, the names of many cities in India have been changed by different state governments. There are also several cities whose names have been changed more than once. These cities had distinct names before independence, but their names were changed after the end of British rule. Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Allahabad, Pune and Panaji are a few of the big cities whose names have been changed in recent years.

Let us tell you about the Indian cities whose names were altered by the British for their convenience, and the names of these cities have been restored to Indian names since the country’s independence.


The name of Kanpur city has been changed several times. According to historians, the first name of Kanpur was ‘Kanhpur’, which was founded by the Hindu king Chandel Singh. Apart from this, Kanpur was also named ‘Khanpur’. After independence, this city got the name Kanpur in the year 1948, since then its name has remained unchanged.


The name of the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, has also been changed many times. Since the British era the city was known as Trivandrum. In 1991, the Kerala government decided to change the name of the city to Thiruvananthapuram.


Years ago, Mumbai was named after the presiding deity of the city goddess Mumba Devi. It was known as Mumbai to the native Marathi and Gujarati residents of the city. However, during the British period the name was changed to Bombay, which is said to have been derived from Portuguese term Bombaim that means ‘good bay’. However, the city was renamed Mumbai in 1995.


The name of Panaji, the capital of Goa, has also been changed several times. The word Panaji means ‘the land which never floods’. The city was initially named Panjim by the Portuguese. A few years later, the city was renamed Nova Goa or New Goa. But in 1961, the name of the city was changed to Panaji.


Madras was renamed in 1996. The British changed the name of Madras from Madrasapattinam to Madras. Even today there is a town of fishermen of this name in Chennai. The city is said to be named after the Telugu king Damarla Chenappa Naikudu, while a few claim that the name comes from the Chenna Kesava Perumal temple. However, Madras was renamed to Chennai in 1996.


West Bengal’s capital Kolkata was always known as ‘Kolkata’ to the native Bengalis. During British rule, the name of the city was changed to Calcutta. However, the city was renamed as Kolkata in 2001. The name Kolkata is said to be derived from the names of the three villages which were merged to form the city. These villages were Sutanati, Govindpur and Kalikata.

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