There might be cities and towns with strange names in India, but some of the names do remind us of the near-200 years of colonial rule.
McLeod Ganj: Annexed by the British after the second Angle-Sikh war, it is a typical British designed hill station located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s a suburb of the city of Dharamsala, the abode of the Dalai Lama.
As a result, of the large Tibetan population, it is also referred to as ‘Little Lhasa’ or ‘Dhasa’ (an allusion to Dharmasala).
It’s also has a political significance attached to it as the Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered there.
Like other hill stations, its major industry is tourism. Snowcapped peaks, blue skies, fresh air are available in generous amounts, all that are absent in modern day Indian cities which are engulfed in smog and other pollutants.
Other tourist attractions include, inter alia, Tibetan handicrafts, carpets and apparels.
It also has a fusion of ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions that make attaches a spiritual significance to it. Tsuglagkhang, the Dalai Lama’s temple, is its most important Buddhist holy site.
It also hosted the inaugural Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) in Nov 2012, where filmmakers and actors from India and abroad participated.
According to legend, the Lieutenant accidentally landed on the shores of this small town after a shipwreck. He was saved by a local woman, Narayani, with whom he subsequently fell in love.
Today, it is a tourist destination with its share of mangrove forests and its pristine beach.
The primary occupation of the residents of Frasergunj, by virtue of its geographic location, is fishermen as the salinity of the groundwater inhibits agricultural activities.
It derives its name from Lieutenant Archibald Blair of the British East India Company, previously known as Chatham Island. In 1789, the Lieutenant it was established as the penal colony under the government of Bengal.
It is accessible from major cities – Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam. It is also a major tourism destination with colonial era ‘Cellular Jail’, white-sand beaches, towering coconut trees and glittering sky-blue waters.
It also has strategic importance for India as it is home to a major naval base – INS Jarawa – along with the Indian coast Guard and Indian Air force.
It is named after British General Henry Havelock, who served in British India.
Today, it is home mostly Bengali communities, many of whom settled there during the 1971 Indo-Pak war which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
The Indian government gave settlement to many fleeing Bangladeshi’s in this island.
The occupants’ major sources of livelihood are fishing and tourism. Its Elephant beach is a major attraction for tourists because of the elephants that reside there.
It was founded in 1543 by the Portuguese and remained in their hands until 1961 when the Indian army retook the state.
Like other parts of Goa it has many beaches but unlike other beaches in Goa it sees very little tourist attraction.
But its 400-year-old Igreja de Santo André (St. Andrew’s Church), located at the entrance of the city experiences many footfalls.
The city has strategic importance as the Indian Navy has a base in the city. The Naval Aviation Museum near the airport, a tourist attraction, chronicles the history of the Indian Naval aviation. (image courtesy: mystudycorner.net)