Travelling by train is often one of the best ways to explore a new country. The charm of watching the world go by through a window while inside a carriage on wheels is very unlike air or road travel. Being home to one of the largest rail networks, India is one of the best places to see by train.
As they say, it’s the journey and not the destination that matters. More than likely, you will encounter strange and unusual things during your travels in India. Here’s a list of six unusually named train stations in the country that will leave you in splits of laughter.
Located in the heart of South-central Mumbai, this station’s name is an amalgamation of the Marathi words chinch (“tamarind”) and pokli (“betel nut”). The name apparently comes from the tamarind trees that used to grow in this area. The anglicised spellings from British times (Chinchpugli/Chinchpooghly) sound even neater.
The name of this border town in Andhra Pradesh is quite a mouthful. At 28 letters, it holds the distinction of having the longest name of any railway station in India. In some cases, the prefix “Sri” (a title for veneration) is added to the name bringing its length to a staggering 31 letters!
Kala Bakra railway station takes its name from a small village in Punjab. The name means “black goat” in Hindi. We’re not sure if this is a reference to the colour of goats from this region or something more sinister.
Gubbi is a small town near Bangalore, Karnataka. This cute name has several different meanings in local languages. In the state’s predominant language of Kannada, it means “sparrow”. In the Konkani dialect spoken in coastal regions of Karnataka however, it means “button”. The word also means “balloon” in Hindi. Whichever you pick, the name is certainly adorable.
Divine Nagar (“Divine City” in Hindi) is a station in Kerala. The railway station connects to the nearby Christian mission called the Divine Retreat Center, which hosts spiritual retreats for pilgrims from around the world. The mission also operates homes for the aged, the destitute, the mentally challenged and patients who have HIV/AIDS. It’s Certainly a well-named station for a worthy cause.
IB is a junction located in Orissa and is the shortest railway station name in India. Don’t misinterpret it for Intelligence Bureau!!
This city in Tamil Nadu has two possible origins behind its name. The Tamil phrase Eru Odai meaning “two streams” could refer to the two irrigation canals Perumpallam and Kalingarayan, which flow through the city; the latter of these was constructed over 700 years ago!
There is another more sinister possibility which originates from Hindu mythology. The Tamil phrase Eera Odu means “wet skull”. The Hindu god Shiva & his wife Dakshayayini were not invited to a grand yajna (sacrificial ceremony) organized by Shiva’s father-in-law Dakshaprajapati. Dakshayayini attended the ritual regardless and was scorned and insulted by her father in front of all the dignitaries, who held a grudge against his son-in-law.
Unable to bear the humiliation, Dakshayayini committed suicide by jumping into the sacrificial fire. Enraged upon hearing of his wife’s death, Shiva sent his forces to destroy the yajna and threw everyone in attendance into the sacrificial fire. Their skulls were later thrown into the Kaveri River which runs past Erode.
Have you come across any other funnily named railway stations during your travels in India? Do share your experiences by leaving a comment below.