Five places whose native names were changed to Islamic ones by Tipu Sultan


By Nithin Sridhar

When Tipu Sultan, who is often referred as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’, was ruling the kingdom of Mysore during the final decades of the 18th century, he implemented several measures that were aimed at Islamizing the entire Kingdom.

Apart from measures like changing the medium of writing accounts in the revenue department from Kannada to Farsi and appointing only Muslims to high posts in various departments of his administration, Tipu Sultan also tried to Islamize currencies, Calendars, and Weights and measures by giving them Islamic names. He adopted this strategy with respect to the names of various regions of his kingdom as well. He called the plains region of Karnataka that was under his control as Ghabraasubaa. Similarly, he named coastal regions and forested Malnad regions as Yaamsubaa and Taransubaa, respectively. He further changed the names of more than 40 cities and towns and gave them Islamic names.

Here is the list of five such cities and towns whose name he had changed:

1. Mysuru: The city of Mysuru was the capital of Mysore state ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty for many centuries. Today it is often referred as the ‘cultural capital of Karnataka’ or as the ‘city of palaces’. The name Mysuru is derived from Kannada ‘Mahishuru’ or ‘Mahisha uru’, which means ‘the place of Demon king Mahishasura’. It is believed that the hill present overlooking the city was the place where the battle between the demon and Goddess Chamunda was conducted and where the Goddess killed the demon.

After taking control of the Mysore kingdom, Tipu renamed the city as ‘Nazarbad’. Today, a section of the city still retains the name that was given by Tipu.

2. Mangalore: This is one of the important port cities in the present day Karnataka. Apart from Kannada, the city is home to speakers of Konkani, and Tulu languages. The city gets its name from the presiding deity of the city- Mangaladevi whose temple is located at the place. She is often identified with the Goddess Tara of the Tantras. It is held by the locals that Mangaladevi was actually a Malabar princess Parimala who became a student of Matsyendranatha and left her body in the city.

Tipu Sultan renamed the city as ‘Jalalabad’.

3. Hassan: Hassan was at one time the seat of the mighty Hoysala Empire. Even today, one can witness numerous temples with beautiful carvings and magnificent architectures dating back to Hoysala period. Hassan is an important center of Jainism as well. The city gets its name from its presiding deity ‘Haasanaamba’. The temple of Goddess Haasanaamba is open only for one week once a year during the Deepavali festival.

Tipu Sultan had rechristened the city: ‘Khayimabad’.

4. Kozikode: This port city in Malabar area of Kerala was once called as ‘City of spices’. Today it is referred as ‘City of Sculptures’ due to its rich variety of architectural sculptures. The name ‘Kozikode’ literally means ‘fortified palace’ derived from words koyil- palace and kotta-fort.

Tipu Sultan had renamed it as ‘Islamabad’.

5. Madikeri: The town is a famous hill station in Karnataka. It is also home to the Kodava community, the martial Kshatriya tribe who worship River Kaveri which origins in the area. The name ‘Madikeri’ is derived from ‘Muddu raja keri’, which means ‘town of Mudduraja’. It refers to the Haleri king Mudduraja, who had once ruled from the region.

Tipu Sultan had given the name ‘Jaffarabad’ to the town. (Photo: Indian Express)

Also Read: Tipu Sultan was ‘Aurangzeb of South India’: Sandeep Balakrishna