Ahmedabad (Guj)

Guj: અમદાવાદ  amadāvāda ‘Ahmad’s City’  [Ashaval, Karnavati, Amdavad]  City/District,  Gujarat. From Ahmad (Khan) and Per: abad, ‘settlement’. Ashaval, the city’s first name, is a corruption of Asha Palli [from Asha, a Bhil tribal chief; and Skt/Dra: palli, ‘village’,...

Gujarat (Guj)

Gujarat (Guj) Guj: ગુજરાત gujarāt ‘Land of Gurjars’  From Skt/Pkt: gurjara, ‘Gurjara people’; and Skt: rashtra, ‘land’, ‘country’, ‘region’. The Gurjara/Gujjar tribe, early immigrants from central Asia (originally herdsmen), dominated eastern Rajasthan, northern...

Amreli (Guj)

Guj: અમરેલી amarēlī ‘Immortal Village’  [Amarvalli/Amarpalli] – City/District, Gujarat From Guj/Skt: amar, ‘immortal’, ‘indestructible’;  and Skt/Dra:: palli, ‘village’, ‘hamlet’.  Amreli was transformed from a village to a town under the Gaekwad Marathas (a...

Anand (Guj)

Guj: આણંદ āṇand(a) ‘City of Joy’   -City/District, Gujarat From Guj/Skt: anand, ‘joy’, ‘bliss’; and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’.  This implies an underlying Anandpur for which there is no evidence here (although there are 63 Anandpurs in India). Of the four Anands in...

Banaskantha (Guj)

Guj: બનાસકાંઠા  banāsakāṇṭhā ‘Bank of the River Banas’  – District,  Gujarat From West Banas river [Guj: ban, forest’, ‘wood’]; and Guj: kantha, ‘bank’, ‘shore’.  The 266km West Banas river flows from the southern Aravalli Range in Rajasthan, through Gujarat...

Bharuch (Guj)

Guj: ભરૂચ bharūc(h) ‘Bhrigu’s Riverbank’  [Broach]  -City/District, Gujarat From Bhrigu and Skt/Guj: kachchha/kaccha, ‘bank’, ‘border’.  This derivation implies that the modern name is a corruption of Bhrigukaccha. Bhrigu is one of the Seven Sages of Vedic India....

Bhavnagar (Guj)

Guj: ભાવનગર  bhāvanagara ‘Bhavsinhji’s City’  – City/District, Gujarat From Bhavsinhji and Skt: nagar, ‘city’. This city was founded in 1724 by Bhavsinhji Gohil (1703–1764). It was the capital of Bhavnagar, a princely state before it joined the Indian Union in...

Champaner (Guj)

Guj: ચાંપાનેર  c(h)āmpānēra ‘Champa’s City’ – [Muhammadabad] – Ancient City and Archaeological Site, Gujarat From Champa and Skt: ayana→ana, ‘place’, ‘abode’ or nagara, ‘town’, ‘settlement. Champaner was founded by King Vanraj of the...

Dahod (Guj)

Guj: દાહોદ dāhōda ‘Two Borders’   -City/District, Gujarat From Hin: do, ‘two’; and Hin/Guj: hada, ‘border’.  Dahod has borders with both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. There is also a suggestion that the name is linked to Saint Dadhichi who sacrificed himself so that...

Dangs (Guj)

Guj: ડાંગ ḍāṅga ‘Bamboo Forest’  District, Gujarat From Skt: dhān(us), ‘bamboo’, ‘bow (and arrow)’ Dang(s) is the smallest District in Gujarat with 657 square miles of forest including teak and bamboo. The population is 93.8% tribal and the five Bhil Kings of Dangs...

Daulatabad (Mah)

Mar: दौलताबाद daulatābāda ‘Fortune City’   [Devagiri, Deogiri]  -Village/Ancient City/Fort    Maharashtra From Urd: daulat, ‘fortune’, ‘happiness’; and Urd: ābād, ‘city’, ‘settlement’. Founded as Devagiri/Deogiri in the 12thC [‘Hill of the Gods’, from Mar: deva/deo,...

Dhrang (Guj)

Guj: ધ્રાંગ dhrāṅga ‘(Frontier) Town’  -Village, Gujarat From Skt: draṅga, ‘town’. Sant Mekan Dada, the Sufi saint, spent most of his life in the Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat (India) searching for travellers lost in the desert and looking after survivors by...

Dhrangadhra (Guj)

Guj: ધ્રાંગધ્રા dhrāṅgadhrā ‘City Land’  -Town, Gujarat From Skt: draṅga, ‘city’, ‘town’ ; and Skt: dhara, ‘earth’, ‘land’. A city with ancient origins (it was originally a border town between Harappan settlements to the north and Kutch further west), it became a...

Dwarka (Guj)

Guj: દ્વારકા dvārakā ‘Gated City’ [Dwaravati, Mokshapuri, Dwarkamati]  -City/District, Gujarat From Skt: dvāram, ‘door’, ‘gateway’; and ; and Skt: vāṭī, ‘site’, ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’. Dvāravatī suggests a city with many gates, or perhaps having one or several very...

Gandhinagar (Guj)

Guj: ગાંધીનગર gāndhīnagara ‘Gandhi City’ -City/Capital/District, Gujarat From Mahatma Gandhi and Hin/Skt: nagar, ‘city’. Gandhinagar (founded in 1966)  is a planned city, designed to replace Ahmedabad as the capital of Gujarat. It is named to honour Mahatma Gandhi,...

Godhra (Guj)

Guj: ગોધરા gōdharā ‘Cow Land’   -Town, Gujarat From Skt: go, ‘cow’; and Skt: dhara, ‘earth’, ‘land’. Presumably this was grazing land. Godhra dates back to at least the 10thC when there was a school here for Jain monks. Godhra, unfortunately, is more (in)famous for...

Hazira (Guj)

Guj: હજીરા hajīrā ‘Tomb’   -City, Port, Suburb (Surat), Gujarat From Urd:  hisār/hizāri, ‘enclosure’, ‘tomb’, ‘grave’ A hazira was originally a ‘simple grave on a slightly raised platform surrounded by a walled enclosure’. For saints and emperors they had ...

Himatnagar (Guj)

હિંમતનગર  himmatanagara ‘Himmat Singh’s City’  [Ahmednagar]  -City, Capital (Sabarkantha District), Gujarat From Himmat Singh and Hin/Skt: nagar, ‘city’. Ahmed Shah I of the Gujarat Sultanate founded a city here in 1426 and called it Ahmednagar The Rao dynasty of Idar...

Idar (Guj)

Guj: ઇડર iḍar(a)  ‘Ilva Fort’ – Town, Gujarat Ilvadurg. Idar (a.k.a. Ilvadurg) is the legendary home of Ilva and Vatapi, the Rakshasa shape-shifting demons who were finally destroyed by the sage Agastya. Idar was a Rajput Princely State from the 13thC protected...

Jamnagar (Guj)

Guj: જામનગર jāmanagara ‘City of the Jam Dynasty’   – City/District,  Gujarat Nawanagar. From Jam (dynasty) and Skt: nagar, ‘city’. Jamnagar was founded as Nawanagar [Skt: nawa, ‘new’; and Skt: nagar, ‘city’] by Jam Rawal in 1540 as the capital of the...

Junagadh (Guj)

Guj: જુનાગઢ junāgaḍh ‘Old Fort’  -City/District,  Gujarat From Guj/Skt: juna/jurna, ’old’; and Guj: gadh, ‘(hill) fort’.  Uparkot Fort in the centre of the town is indeed a very old fort. It was first built in 319 BCE during the Mauryan dynasty and some even suggest a...

Kathiawar (Guj)

Guj: કાઠીયાવાડ kāṭhīyāvāḍa ‘Land of the Kathis’ -Region/Peninsula, Gujarat From Kathi and Guj/Hin: vāṛā/vāḍā, ‘place (belonging to)’, ‘colony’, ‘settlement’. The 61,000 km2 Kathiawar/Saurashtra peninsula (the names are roughly equivalent), reaching out into the...

Khambat (Guj)

Guj: ખંભાત khambhāt ‘Pillar Village’  [Cambay, Khambavati]  – City, Gujarat From Skt/Hin: stambha/khambhā, ‘pillar’; and Skt: vāṭī, ‘site’, ‘enclosure’, ‘village’. Khambhat was, in ancient times before its harbour silted up, an important port and trading...

Kheda (Guj)

Guj: ખેડા khēḍā ‘Field’  [Khetaka]  -City/District, Gujarat From Skt: kshetra, ‘field’. The name Kheda originated from kshetra [→khetta→kherak→kheda]. Kheda has a history of rebellion. In 1803-8 the  Koli chiefs rose up against the East India Company, raiding and...

Kutch/Kachchh (Guj)

Guj: કચ્છ kaccha ‘Salt Marsh Desert’  -Region, Gujarat From Skt: kaccha, ‘marsh’; Hin/Skt:  ran/īriṇa ‘desert, ‘barren land’.  The Great and Little Rann of Kutch/Kachch are salt marsh wetlands, submerged during the monsoon. They cover an area of around 27,000 sq. km....

Lothal (Guj)

Guj: લોથલ lōthala ‘Mound of the Dead’  -Archaeological site, Gujarat From Hin/Guj: loth, ‘dead’; and Skt: sthala, ‘mound’. Lothal was a southern port city of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization dating back to the fourth millenium BCE. It shares the same name as...

Mahsana/Mehsana (Guj)

Guj: મહેસાણા mahēsāṇā ‘Mehsaji’s City’ – City/District, Gujarat From Mehsaji or Hin/Skt: mahish/mahiṣa, ‘buffalo’; and Skt: ayana→ana, ‘place’, ‘abode’. Mehsana was established by Mehsaji of the Chavda dynasty. He constructed the Torana (arc gate) of the city...

Mandvi (Guj)

Guj: માંડવી māṇḍavī ‘Settlement’   -Town (Kutch District),  Gujarat From Mandavya or Skt: mandira, ‘dwelling’, ‘resting place’, ‘house’, ’palace’, ‘camp‘, ‘temple’.  Like Mandya (Karnataka) the most popular derivation is the unlikely one that the town was named after...

Modhera (Guj)

Guj: મોઢેરા mōḍhērā ‘City of Joy’ – Village/Temple, Gujarat From Skt: modaḥ ‘delight’, ‘pleasure’, ‘joy’; and Skt: pura→ara, ‘fort’, ‘city’. This extraordinary 11thC Sun Temple (one of only two in India) was built in such a way that on the days of the spring...

Mundra (Guj)

Guj: મુન્દ્રા mundrā ‘Picturesque’  -Town/Port (Kutch District), Gujarat From Guj/Hindi: manōhara, ‘picturesque’, Mundra is a medieval port town founded by Rao Bhojrajji I in the 17thC and built by Vardhman Sheth, a Jain ship-owner and merchant.A legend tells of...

Nalsarovar (Guj)

Guj: નળ સરોવર naḷa sarōvara ‘Drain Lake’  -Lake/Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat From Hin/Guj: nal, ‘channel’, ‘drain’; and Guj: sarōvar, ‘lake’. Nalsarovar is a shallow lake spread over 120 sq. km with 36 islets. 75,000 years ago, Nalsarovar was part of a channel that...

Narmada River (Guj, MP)

Guj: નર્મદા નદી narmadā nadī ‘Pleasure-giver’  [Nerbudda] River, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Nerbudda, Narbada. From Skt: narmada, ‘causing mirth or pleasure’, ‘delightful’.  The Narmada, India’s fifth longest river, is called the ‘life line’ of Madhya Pradesh and...

Navsari (Guj)

Guj: નવસારી navasārī ‘New Inn’   – City/District,Gujarat From Skt/Hin/Guj: nav, ‘new’; and Hin/Guj: sarāi, ‘inn’, ‘resting place’. Navsari has strong Parsi connections. Jamsetji Tata, the industrialist, and Dadabhai Naroji, the first Indian M.P. in Britain...

Palanpur (Guj)

Guj: પાલનપુર pālanapura ‘Palansi’s Town’  [Prahaladanapura]  – City,  Gujarat Prahladana of the Parmar/Paramar Dynasty founded the original town in 1218. The Parmar Dynasty ruled Malwa and neughbouring regions in the 9-14thC. A century later Palansi Chauhan took...

Palitana (Guj)

Guj: પાલીતાણા pālītāṇā ‘Sanctuary’  [Padliptpur] -Temple town, Gujarat. From Padlipt and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’; or  pālita, ‘protected’  and  ayana→ana, ‘place’, ‘abode’. 1,008 Jain temples sit in a cluster on top of Shatrunjaya Hill, a place where you can...

Panchmahal (Guj)

Guj: પંચમહાલ pan̄camahāla ‘Five Mahals’ -District, Gujarat From Hin/Skt: panch, ‘five’; and Hin/Urd: mahal, ‘(political) division’ (originally ‘palace’).  A mahal  is an administrative division in India corresponding to a township (and ancillary villages), tehsil or...

Patan (Guj)

Guj: પાટણ pāṭaṇa ‘(Anahil’s) City’   -City/District, Gujarat From Skt/Guj: pattana/paṭṭana, ‘town’, ‘city’.  King Vanaraja of the 8thC Chavda dynasty founded this city and, according to legend, named it Anahilpur or Anahilpattana after a cowherd who chose the...

Porbandar (Guj)

Guj: પોરબંદર pōrabandara ‘Porav’s Port’  -City/District, Gujarat. From Porav Mata and Guj: bandar, ‘port’, ‘harbour’, ‘port-town’. The guardian and patron goddess of the town is Porav Mata whose temple, at the mouth of the creek, was built in the 8thC. This...

Rajkot (Guj)

Guj: રાજકોટ rājakōṭa ‘Raju’s Fort’   -City/District, Gujarat From Raju and Skt/Hin: koṭa, ‘fortress’ Vibhaji Jadeja (of the Thakur Jadeja Rajput dynasty which ruled Kutch from the 16thC to Independence)  founded Rajkot in 1610. The city was presented to Raju Sandhi...

Sabarkantha (Guj)

Guj: સાબરકાંઠા sābarakāṇṭhā ‘Bank of the Sabaramati River’ District, Gujarat From sabar(mati) and Guj: kantha, ‘bank’, ‘shore’.  Both the Sabarmati river and the Tropic of Cancer run through Sabarkantha district.  The Capital/HQ of the District is at Himatnagar. For...

Sabarmati River (Guj, Raj)

Guj: સાબરમતી sābaramatī ‘Ravine River’  -River, Gujarat Rajasthan From Skt: śvabhra, ‘ravine’, ‘chasm’; and Skt: mati, ‘carrying’, ‘bearing’. The Sabarmati has a rich and fertile east bank but a barren west bank pitted with deep ravines. This 371km river originates in...

Saurashtra (Guj)

Guj: સૌરાષ્ટ્ર saurāṣṭra ‘Sun Kingdom’   Region, Gujarat From Skt: surya, ‘sun (worship)’, ‘solar’, ‘celestial’; and Skt/Pkt: rāṣṭra, ‘kingdom’, ‘region’. Saurashtra is the main, southern peninsula of Gujarat and includes eleven of its districts and one-third of its...

Siddhpur (Guj)

Guj: સિધ્ધપુર sidhdhapura ‘Siddhraj’s City’  [Sristhal]  -Town, Gujarat From Siddhraj and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’. Siddhpur was historically known as Sristhal [from Skt: sri, ‘holy’, ‘sacred’; and Skt: sthala, ‘mound’]. The Rudra Mahalaya complex of temples...

Somnath (Guj)

Guj: સોમનાથ sōmanātha  ‘Lord of the Soma’  -Temple,  Gujarat From Skt: soma, ‘soma plant’; and nath, ‘lord’. Soma is an unidentified psychoactive plant which was the most important ingredients in ancient Vedic sacrificial rites. Somnath is an epithet of Shiva. The...

Surat (Guj)

Guj: સુરત surat ‘Sun City’ [Surajpur/Suryapur] -City/District,  Gujarat From Skt: surya, ‘sun’; and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’. The city was founded in 1510 by Malik  Gopi (a merchant and local governor), who built the Gopi Tank (lake/reservoir) in 1516 and named the...

Surendranagara (Guj)

Guj: સુરેન્દ્રનગર surēndranagara  ‘Surendra’s City’ [Wadhwan] -Town/District, Gujarat From Surendrasinhji and Skt: nagar, ‘city’. Wadhwan was founded in 1630. It became a Princely state under the British in 1807. Surendrasinhji Jorawarsinhji, its last king, signed its...

Tapti/Tapi River (Guj, MP, Mah)

‘Tap(t)i River’  -River Gujarat Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra The Tapti (or Tapi) is a 724 km river that flows from Multai (near Nagpur, Madhya Pradesh), through Maharashtra and Gujarat and into the Arabian Sea at Hazira (near Surat). The river is named after the goddess...

Vadodara (Guj)

Guj: વડોદરા vaḍōdarā ‘Banyan Tree’  [Chandanavati, Virakshetra/Viravati, Vadapatra, Baroda]  -City/District, Gujarat From Guj: vaḍa/vaṭa, ‘banyan’; and SKT: taru, ‘tree’, ‘hollow of a tree’ or Skt: patraka, ‘leaves’. The town was previously called Chandanavati (after...

Valsad (Guj)

Guj: વલસાડ valasāḍa ‘Banyans’  [Bulsar(a), Vadsal] – City/District  Gujarat From Guj/Skt: vaḍa/vaṭa, ‘banyan’; and Guj/Mar: sal, ‘full (of)’, ‘abundant’. Valsad was previously called Vadsal and Bulsara. It shares the name Bulsara with Freddie Mercury (originally...