Ever wondered how our North Indian snowy attractions got their names?
Let’s find out …
Shakespeare said, “What’s in the name? Call a rose by any other name and it would still smell the same.” However, the name really matters when it represents a unique quality or essence of something. While naming the kids, parents consider the names of the people they admire, scavenge through the internet, baby-name books or in the end it just comes down to the name they like (At times, the names and the people they refer to might turn out to be utterly ironic). Anyway, while naming the places, the process is slightly different. So, let’s just have a glance at how these icy cool holiday spots came to be known as they are.
Himalaya or Himachal: Well, I’m sure you’re quite familiar with the origin of these words as the Sanskrit term him, which means ice, is quite popular even in Hindi usage. This is then simply connected to aalay, which means home, to get Himalaya, the name of the great mountain range. Not just home, but a whole godly bungalow of ice. When him is joined with achal, which has multiple meanings like earth; rock; mountain, we get the name of the state Himachal.
P.S.: No wonder every man requires a little more warmth than the woman counterpart for his heart to melt! Because it’s him.
Shimla: We heard about him, now let’s see a bit about her. Shimla is derived from a name of an incarnation of the Goddess Kali, Shyamala Devi. She is said to have helped Lord Krishna in interacting with the material world. You could guess it from the name, couldn’t you? Shyamala. Shyam.
Kufri: Situated at some 20-odd kilometers from Shimla, and at a higher altitude, Kufri took up its name from the local language word Kufr meaning lake. There must have been a lake there some place at some time. But presently, I didn’t find one out there. Well, what’s in the name, anyway?
Manali: According to the Hindu mythology, Manu is believed to be the first man or manav, who communicated various laws of the society to the other sages after him. Now, remember the word aalay? Yeah, fix it after Manu, and you’re almost there. Manaalay – home of Manu. And finally we get to Manali. If you’ve got a friend whose name is Manali, go tell her.
Kullu: When Manu was unable to cross the Rohtang Pass during a flood, he named the last habitable part as Kulant Peeth. So, upon analyzing, we get Kul (a system of society) + Ant (end) + Peeth (district, province or simply a place). Kulant Peeth – last place of the living society. This was later shortened for what we know it as today – Kullu. Not to worry now though about being the last place and all! Life has certainly been and reached well beyond.
Rohtang: This one is a little creepy. A steep 50-km drive from Manali, Rohtang literally, in Tibetan or Ladakhi language, means a pile of corpses. This is because too many people have died trying to cross it in bad weather. You do get the pleasure of the place, of course, if you stay safe. But if you be there in good weather, and you look at its treacherous twists and turns or just simply look down, it still scares the shit out of you, especially if you have acrophobia, and more so if your driver tries to pull off a few stunts. And in bad weather, well, simply don’t be there. You won’t be allowed anyway!
Dalhousie: Finally, we have an eponym! Well, sort of! Dalhousie is a branch of a Scottish clan Ramsay. The Indian place was christened so after the Earl of Dalhousie, James Broun, who was the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856. While he was holding this position, he contributed to the development of the place as a summer retreat.
Khajjiar: Known as the Mini Switzerland of India, Khajjiar gets its name from Khajji Nag, the lord of the serpents, whose temple at the place is a mixture of Mughal and Hindu architecture.
So, that’s it for now! Hope you’ll enjoy these places more when you know what they mean. And yes, you can boast about it to someone as well. If you know what I mean!