We did some touring of our own to bring you the history behind the unique names of some bazaars in Cuttack.
Straight up after Badambadi is Dolamundai when one enters the city. The place has a long history attached to it. It is believed that a certain Lakshmaniya Baba had come into the city and established a Jagannath Temple at the present Dolamundai Square. “The baba gained a lot of fame in a short span of time with people from various other towns and cities paying him a visit. With the advent of dola (the tradition of carrying a vimaan with God’s idol during Holi), the temple witnessed a surge of Jagannath devotees. Hence the name Dolamundai, which literally translates to carrying ‘dola on the head,” said Lingaraj Hati, Secretary, Haripur-Dolamundai Puja Committee. In the present day, Rath Yatra is an annual affair at the Jagannath Temple in Dolamundai.
A busy market street, Ranihat lies in the heart of Cuttack city. In the days of yore, when Kalinga (former Odisha) was under the rule of kings, Ranihat was the commercial hub thronged by people from all walks of life. “The queens or ranis of different kingdoms, accompanied by their entourage, were among those who visited the market often. The market was known for stocking everything under one roof. Ranihat gets its name due to the visits of the then queens of Kalinga and literally translates to ‘a market for queens,” said Bijaya Sahoo, President, Ranihat Durga Puja Committee. Kalinga gained independence and kings no longer ruled the state but the market stayed in place for quite some time. The present day Ranihat boasts of a modern day marketplace catering to the needs of the city.
Mangalabag is one of the busiest areas of the Silver City. The major feature of this place is the SCB Medical College and Hospital, which is arguably the busiest hospital of the state. The name came into existence due to the presence of gram debati (village deity) Bagha Mangala. A small temple devoted to the goddess can be found in Mangalabag. The Mangalabag Durga Puja Samiti is one of the oldest and biggest puja pandals of the city. Instituted in 1881, the samiti first started with Mahadev Puja and later moved on to Durga Puja in 1948. The first golden backdrop was built in 1950. The pandal boasts of showcasing one of the first golden peacocks to adorn the crown of Goddess Durga during Dussehra. This year, the devotees will witness Maa Durga on a silver throne at the Mangalabag puja pandal.
As the name suggests, Jail Road once housed the old-time jail of Cuttack. The entire area reflects the glorious history of the silver city. The open field (as shown in the picture) has been designated for the construction of a freedom fighters’ memorial. Its foundation stone was laid by Mr. Naveen Patnaik, Hon. Chief Minister of Odisha in 2010. The adjoining road leads to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum and on the other side of the jail, the first shopping arcade of the city, named Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Arcade operates.
Another busy area of Cuttack, Kanika Chhak, Ramgad has an interesting story attached to its name. As legend has it, this is the place in Cuttack that housed the then Kanika King’s gada or fort. As suggested in the picture, it now lies in ruins but back in time, it was a high-profile area where the king lived. The Chandi Mandir, situated at the adjoining Chandi Chhak, was believed to be frequented by the Kanika King with his family. Today, this place is lined with various food stalls which dish out special delicacies of Cuttack.
A left turn from Badambadi lands one at Jhanjirimangala. Legend has it that the place has a history that dates back to as long as 1400 years. A small temple of Maa Mangala saw devotees from all over visit the area quite often. The deity is believed to have cured a man suffering from leprosy (one of the dreaded diseases of those times) who prayed to her on a hot summer afternoon. The Jhanjirimangala area is constituted of seven sahis (small localities) and the Jhanjirimangala deity is one of the highly regarded deities of the city.
One of the oldest settlements of the city, Manikghose Bazaar has an interesting tale to its credit. It is said that a few Bengali cloth merchants came and started a business here. Cloth markets were set up in due course of time. Eventually, a few medicine shops cropped up in the place, and by 1970, this place turned into the biggest medicine hub of the city. Scores of medicine distributors now conduct their business from here. The winding lanes of Manikghose Bazaar might make one feel that the number of houses are fewer than the number of medicine shops in the area. But according to the senior citizens of the bazaar, around 200 families reside in the area. The area was named after its first senior citizen, Late Manichand Ghose, who looked after the welfare of the residents in the earlier days. He was also responsible for the inception of Durga Puja in the area.
Special Inputs: Prinkil Priyadarsi Parida
Pictures Courtesy: Prasanta Swain (P3 Visionz)