Story Behind Bhubaneswar’s Localities: Heard Of Master Canteen’s Samosa?

Every city has its own story, so does Bhubaneswar. The Smart City as we know it is a 2,000+ year-old city and is named after Tribhubaneswar (Lord of the Three Worlds). Historically, it has been known by different names such as Toshali, Kalinga Nagari, Nagar Kalinga, Ekamra Kanan & Ekamra Kshetra.

The modern Bhubaneswar as we see it has a city plan mapped by German urban planner Otto Königsberger. Central Bhubaneswar (Acharya Vihar to Forest Park) was a planned area and localities were named after various personalities or landmarks (ending with either Nagar or Vihar). Other areas were basically nearby small villages/mouzas, which still hold their original names. There are some interesting stories behind why different locations in Bhubaneswar are named so.

IRC VILLAGE: This posh locality near CRP Square is said to have been named after the Indian Road Congress (IRC) convention that was held in this previously open field in Bhubaneswar in the 1980s. Due to unavailability of enough star hotels in the city at that time, tents were erected in the open field for the delegates and so the site came to be known as IRC Village (on the lines of Asiad Village during the Asian Games). IRC Village is now a posh locality and not a village, as many people from outside Bhubaneswar assume.

Master Canteen Square’s landmark statue

MASTER CANTEEN: It is said that initially there was a singada (samosa) snacks counter (canteen) that had been opened by a teacher (his customers fondly addressed him as “master”) and thus the name – Master Canteen. In later years, Master Canteen became “Master General Store”, at one time the only shop in the locality outside Bhubaneswar Railway Station. As per Syed Maqbool Ali (renowned engineer Syed Mumtaz Ali’s son), Master Canteen was named after one of the elder Hans (early Bhubaneswar business family), who was a tailor (the term “Master” is used for a head tailor too). And, Biju Patnaik had commended this “Master” for stitching him a bandhgala coat overnight (an impossible feat in those days).

Now, a fast food chain under the brand name “Master Canteen” has been opened just outside Lalchand Market Complex to revive the old era. Its branches are opening across Bhubaneswar.

Foundation stone of Bhubaneswar

BAPUJI NAGAR: When the local government planned to designate specific areas for residential purposes, systematic allotment of plots was carried out in newly created nagars like Ashok Nagar, Saheed Nagar and Bapuji Nagar. And, nobody knew that these purely residential areas will one day turn into business hubs. While the names of some nagars can easily be traced, Bapuji Nagar’s case was different. Bhubaneswar’s foundation stone was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at a place near the existing Durga Temple in Bapuji Nagar. The stone was later shifted to the State Assembly complex. There was a suggestion to erect a huge statue of Mahatma Gandhi (fondly called Bapuji) here. It was later planned to shift it to an area like Market Building, but that never happened.

BARANG: Barang (near Nandan Kanan) evolved from Chudanga(garh), the fortified area made by King Chodagangadeva, which itself was previously known as Sarangagarh (due to abundance of waterlilies around).

Dhaulagiri gardens

DHAULI: Dhauli hillock evolved from Toshali/Toshala, the capital city of the erstwhile Kalinga. Similarly, Kausalyaganga is a combination of Kausalya+Ganga, named by King Chodagangadeva (of the Ganga dynasty) after his Queen Kausalya when he converted a huge acre of land into a scenic lake, where now CIFA (Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture) stands.

OLD TOWN: Old Town is a typical name for a historic or original core of a city or town. In Bhubaneswar, Old Town is the oldest part of the city (starting from BJB Nagar to Kapileswar), characterised by mostly Shaiva heritage temples. The rest of Bhubaneswar may be termed as New Town.

Ekamravan in Old Town area of Bhubaneswar

POONAMA GATE: The railway level crossing at Palaspalli, on which a new flyover has been built, is said to be named after Poonam, a girl from the Bhimtangi area who is said to have committed suicide in that area. Several other stories, too, revolve around Poonama Gate.

JAGAMARA: Jagamara hamlet was originally a part of Bechhapuri mouza and a dwelling place for travelling Jain/ Buddhist monks, who used to visit Khandagiri caves for meditation and for performing yagyas. On one occasion the sadhus were disturbed by non-followers while they were performing yagya. The name Jagamara has probably been derived from the term Jagyanmara (when a yagyan becomes impure).

RUPALI SQUARE: This famous square at Saheed Nagar was named after a small restaurant called Rupali (some argue it was Rupali Hotel) started by a family of three from Balasore at the very place where Pathik Hotel stands now. Rupali was the only destination for foodies from newly-settled Saheed Nagar residents at that time.

RAJMAHAL SQUARE: This busy square was named after Hotel RajMahal (still running), opened around 60 years ago near the chhak by Raju Sahoo (RajKishore Sahoo), who had initially started a street-side joint selling vadas. It is said to be the first hotel-cum-restaurant in the city.

Road signage of Kalpana Square & fast food chain -Master Canteen

KALPANA SQUARE: It’s named after the nearby Kalpana Theatre (the first theatre post Independence in Bhubaneswar and  a landmark during that time), now demolished. It is said that “Kalpana” was actually the dream business (Kalpana means dream in Odia) of Sri Padmanabha Nanda, who started the theatre business with the name Kalpana Theatre. And, when Kaplana Theatre became a landmark, the chhak was named Kaplana Square. The theatre does not exist any more. A mall-cum-multiplex facility is likely to come up soon on the premises.

CHANDRASEKHARPUR: Chandrasekharpur, said to be the largest residential locality in Asia at one time, is named after Chandrasekhar Mahadev Tempe in Patia, a centuries-old temple.

LAXMISAGAR: A man-made pond by the name of ’Laxmisagar’ was built by King Chodagangadeva after Laxmivati, one of his queens. The pond is now called Bada Pokhari and still exists near Chintamaniswar, but it is not in a good condition. It can also be approached from the Laxmisagar side.

PANDAV NAGAR: Pandav Nagar is named after the Panchu Pandav caves inside the colony. The Pandav caves were built in the seventh century for the Lakulish (Shaiva) sadhus to reside in. Currently, it is being renovated/preserved as a park by ASI.

SISUPALGARH: It is argued that Sisupalgarh fort was built by King Sishupal Kesari in the 3rd Century. Some also argue that the name is derived from the small hamlet ‘Sishupa’ located nearby. It is one of the earliest fortifications of ancient India and one of the earliest planned cities in the world.

PATIA: Patia is the short name for Patiagarh, the erstwhile princely state, towards Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhubaneswar.

SATYA NAGAR: It is said that Satya Nagar has been named after Satya’s family, one of the earliest residents there. Further, the goddess at the local Kali Temple is called Maa Satyakali.

KHANDAGIRI: Sadhus at the twin hills say the ancient name of Khandagiri & Udayagiri hills was Kumari Parvat, Kumaragiri & Skandagiri (as per Lord Kartikeya). Probably, the term Skanda got evolved as Khanda. The passage between the twin hills was built by the British in the 19th century only, to make way for better connection with Chandaka and Baranga.


Buddhism was quite prevalent in ancient Kalinga, including this part of the kingdom. Hence, Buddhism has greater influence on the earlier known names of Bhubaneswar and its nearby areas. Chandaka is derived from Lord Budhha’s divine charioteer Chhandaka, Santarapur is Samantaraypur, which is said to be derived from a combination of the names of two Buddhist deities, Shyama and Tara. But, since Samantaray is a popular surname in Odisha, it needs to be checked whether there was a popular person or zamindar having Samantray surname in the locality.

Bhubaneswar is another name of Lord Buddha. The area where Gautam Nagar is located has a Mausima temple (Rameswar temple complex) and the area opposite to it is Buddha Nagar. The nearby temple is Buddheswari (a female equivalent of Buddha). Palasuni was a Buddhist deity. Delang derived from Buddhist scholar Acharya Dignag, is said to be teaching at Aragada monastery.


Sripur, spelled as Siripur, Sundarpada, derived its name from the original Sindurapada (remember Sindureswar temple). Damana might be from Maa Damanei. Dumduma from an old Panthei devi temple and Gangua canal from River Gandhavati & Ganga Nagar from Chodagangadeva, Sridevi Chhak (Tankapani Road) from a cloth store by its name. Lewis Road from British Governor Howthorne Lewis or his better half, popular as Lady Lewis in the locality, for their good works. Rasulgarh from Wasuligarh, a toll gate made to collect tax from passersby during Moghul period in Odisha.  Any idea how names like Ganda Munda or Baramunda (maybe a tribal figure) came to be? Would love to get additional inputs from my readers 🙂 Thank you Bhubaneswar!

Thanks You Bhubaneswar

Photos: Taranisen Pattnaik

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