Telangana is home to cosmopolitan culture and various traditions, it carries a significant history and a rich legacy. Numerous dynasties have ruled the Telangana region and many rulers had their sway over the land for centuries. The influence of all the kingdoms can be seen in today’s Telangana too.
Telangana state, which was formed after a long battle, has 33 districts. The state was re-organised into 33 districts from 10 districts to decentralize the development and bring good governance closer to the people.
Have you ever wondered what is the history behind the names of districts and their etymology? Here we go…
Information sourced by: Kanneganti Venkataramana
Telangana: During the Nizam era, to distinguish the Telugu-speaking region from Kannada and Marathi-speaking areas, the name Telangana (Telugu-speaking land) was used. Now, let’s try to understand the background behind each of the 33 districts’ names.
- Hyderabad: Historians say Qutb Shahis named the city after Hyder, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad.
- Adilabad: Adilabad was once known as Edlapuram as the cattle trade happened here. It was also called Edulabad or Edulapuram.
- Kumram Bheem Asifabad: It was named Adivasi hero Kumram Bheem who fought against the Nizam by raising the slogan – ‘Jal, Jungle, Jameen’.
- Nirmal: Nirmal derived its name from Nimma Naidu/Nimma Rayudu who ruled the area. He was a patron of the arts and made the place a hub for artists.
- Mancherial: Mancherial is said to get its name from the term ‘Manchi Revu’ as the place is on the banks of river Godavari. It is believed that later Manchi Revu was westernized as Mancherial.
- Nizamabad: Nizamabad is said to be named after the sixth Nizam Mir Mahabub Ali Khan. This place was also known as Indur or Indrapuri in the name of king Indradatta who once ruled the area.
- Kamareddy: Kamareddy was named after Chinakamireddy who ruled the region in the 17th century. He was also the ruler of the popular Domakonda fort.
- Karimnagar: Karimnagar got its name from Syed Karimuddin, the Khwiladar (governor) of Elgandal fort. The place is also known as Yelagandula.
- Peddapalli: Peddapalli means a big village (Peddha Gramam) in Telugu.
- Rajanna Sircilla: Sircilla is said to be derived its name from ‘Sirishaala’ which means a centre of wealth. Rajanna is named after god Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy, the presiding deity of the Vemulawada temple.
- Jagtial: Jagtial is named after two Europeans Jack and Tal who built a fort here.
- Medak: Medak derived its name from ‘Methuku’ as this place used to be green with lush paddy fields. This place was also known as Siddhapuram.
- Sangareddy: Rani Shankaramma, who once ruled Medak, constructed Sangareddy town naming it after her father Sangareddy and mother Rajamma.
- Siddipet: Siddipet was named after Siddhis, the African-origin people residing in India. Siddhis have a historical legacy in Hyderabad.
- Nalgonda: A black hill (Nalla Konda) is visible from the town. Nalgonda has derived its name from Nalla Konda which is also known as Nilgiris.
- Suryapet: This place is also known as Bhanupuri as the incidence of sun rays is higher in this place.
- Yadadri Bhuvanagiri: Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalla Vikaramditya built a fort atop a batholith. Since then, the place has been called Tribhuvanagiri which later became Bhuvanagiri. Yadadri is named after the Yadadri Laxmi Narasimha Swamy temple which is located in this district.
- Warangal: Warangal is also known as ‘Ekashila Nagaram’. The city was known as Orukal/Orugallu in the 8th century.
- Hanmakonda: Two persons namely Anumadu and Kondadu used to rule the present Padmakshi temple area in Hanmakonda. Since then, the region was called ‘Anumakonda’, named after them. Over time, Anumakonda became Hanmakonda.
- Jangaon: Jangaon means Jain Gaav (means Jain village in Hindi). Jain religion flourished in this area and it is said that pilgrims visiting the Kolanupaka temple stayed in this region.
- Mahabubabad: This place was earlier known as ‘Manukota’, which means trees resembling a fort-like structure. Later, it was changed to Mahabubabad, named after the sixth Nizam Mir Mahabub Ali Khan.
- Mulugu: As this place is located in a thick forest area, the region was cloudy all the time. Clouds in local parlance were called ‘Mogulu’ which over time became Mulugu.
- Jayashankar Bhupalapalli: This district was named in remembrance of Telangana ideologue Professor Jayashankar.
- Khammam: Khammam name is derived from a hill named ‘Sthambadri’. It is believed that Lord Narasimha emerged out of this ‘Kamba’ (pillar) to save Prahlada from Hiranyakashapa.
- Bhadradri Kothagudem: The name Bhadradi is derived from Bhadragiri. Bhadragiri means the home of Bhadra, who is the son of Meru and Menaka.
- Ranga Reddy: Ranga Reddy is named after KV Ranga Reddy who worked as deputy CM of Andhra Pradesh from 1959 to 1962.
- Vikarabad: Vikarabad is named after Nawab Sir Vikar-Ul-Umra Bahadur. He built three buildings in the Vikarabad area.
- Medchal-Malkajgiri: It is believed that Medchal is a combination of two Telugu words – ‘Medi’ and Chelama’.
- Mahabubnagar: Mahabubnagar, also known as Palamuru, is named after Mir Mahabub Ali Khan. It is one of the three districts named after him.
- Jogulamba Gadwal: Joguulamba is derived from the Telugu word ‘Yogula Amma’. The Jogulamba temple is one of the 18 shakti peetas.
- Nagarkurnool: Nagarkurnool is named after brothers Naganna and Kandana who once ruled the area.
- Narayanpet: Narayanpet was named in respect of Asaf Jah VI, Mahabub Ali Khan. Once upon a time, this place was called ‘Cholawadi’ or ‘Cholula Bhoomi’.
- Wanaparthy: Wanaparthy was a major vassal state (samsthanam) during the Nizam rule. Wanaparthy forts are a tourist attraction.