‘What is in a name?’ said famous English writer William Shakespeare. However, the names of many villages around Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district are important for the locals and tourists, as they originate from the names of animals, birds, fish, and nature of the park.
At least 30 villages have names related to or inspired by animals. The name of Ajagarapatia village stands for ‘abode of pythons’ as ‘ajagar’ means python in the Odia language.
Similarly, the Ahirajpur village is named after the King Cobra and it signifies that Bhitarkanika is the abode of many King Cobras.
Barahapur village is named after the wild boar as Baraha means boar in Odia.
Muggerkandha village signifies that it is the home of crocodiles, while the name of Kumbhirachira village indicates that the village was infamous for the poaching of crocodiles.
The names of the villages of Baghabuda, Baghamari and Baghatalia symbolize a tiger, while Biluapur village indicates the presence of jackals.
Bagapatia village is the home of egret birds as ‘Baga’ means egret in Odia.
Kolipur village represents the Koel bird while the name of Bajapur village represents the home of eagles.
The name of Hentalapada village means mangrove covered village and Harinapokhari village is known as the home of spotted deer.
The nomenclature of Kankadapada village reveals that the village was a catching point of crabs. Mahisimunda village is known as the home of buffaloes.
Bausamula village is known as the village where bamboo is found in abundance while the Bhekti village manifests the delicious Bhetki fish which is plentily available in the rivers and creeks of Bhitarkanika. Ganja village was named after the jungle fowl which the villagers’ cook.
“The names of the villages around Bhitarkanika have thrown up some interesting facts on wildlife and the ecology of India’s second largest mangrove forest. We have tried to figure out the reason and logic behind the naming of many villages with wildlife, forest, fish and nature.”
“Three tiger-named villages Baghamari, Baghatala and Baghabuda are situated within Bhitarkanika National Park, though the mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika are not the home of tigers,” said Hemant Rout, the secretary of Gahiramatha Marine Turtle and Mangrove Conservation Society (GMTMCS).
“Most of these villages were named by the Raja of Kanika during the Raj period. A proper study on the names and the history of these villages will throw up many interesting facts on wildlife and their ecology,” said Bikash Ranjan Dash, the Divisional Forest Officer of the park.