Return to Karnataka (Revised December 2018)

If you are returning to Karnataka after a few years, you may find many railway stations with unfamiliar names. Here are all of the recently renamed stations for which pictures are readily available. Copyrights of the pictures rest with the respective photographers.

The only non-obvious one is Saidapur, formerly Narayanpeth Road.  As the station now named Chikkamagalur was opened as recently as 2013, I am not sure if it ever had the original name of Chikmagalur. The sign at Kalaburagi is the most recent one to be changed.

Then there are a few stations which are supposed to be renamed, although no pictures of the new signboards could be seen on the net until mid-December 2018. These existing stations are:


While Shimoga Town and two nearby stations have been renamed in railway databases, no picture of the new station signs have turned up so far.

Here is a notification issued by the South Western Railway:

SWR Karnataka renaming

A few places such as MNGT and UBLS are not passenger stations. While SUBL looks like a passenger station, it does not seem to have passenger services at present.

This does not include Mangaluru Central and Mangaluru Jn which are on the Southern Railway. They have indeed been renamed and the signboards have been changed. Then there is Gulbarga/Kalaburgi which is on the Central Railway. While the new name can be seen on signs in the city, the name has NOT been changed in the databases and the signs remain unchanged.

And there are several which were renamed in the last 70 years or so, including Bowringpet, Sagara, Yedatore, Seringapatnam, Closepet and French Rocks. I may have missed out a few.

Mysore state was itself renamed to Karnataka in 1973. This was justified as the former princely state of Mysore was not the only constituent of the Kannada-speaking state, which also included Coorg (Kudagu) state and parts of the Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency and Hyderabad state.

Jhumritilaiya and the grizzly bears

Many may think that Jhumritilaiya and Timbuctoo are fictional places. They are real places, like their slightly lesser known counterparts like Rajnandgaon and Monkey Bottom in the US.

Much of what you may have heard about Jhumritilaiya would be in this context:–jhumri-telaiya-/325656/0

It is, however, a place of some distinction as we will see shortly. One reason for its obscurity is that it does have a railway station on one of the main routes from Delhi to Kolkata, but the station has a more prosaic name like Koderma:


What is odder still is that Koderma is a town which is some distance away, but this station lies within Jhumritilaiya town. More recently a new railway line from this station (which now becomes Koderma Junction) which passes through the “real” Koderma which has a station called Koderma Town. If you think this is odd, think of the equally unknown town of Hathras in western UP which has no less than four separate stations.

The basic facts about the town can be found here:

including the rise and fall of the mica industry. What does strike you is the presence of educational institutions such as:

and another one for grizzly cubs:

At least you can see a bear as part of the logo here. But there is no clue in either website as to why these institutions have been named after this fellow:


But why, indeed, is he called a grizzly bear? Does he grizzle? If so, what is grizzling? Or is it just because he is grisly?

None of these. Wikipedia makes it clear:

Meaning of “grizzly”

The word “grizzly” means “grizzled”; that is, golden and grey tips of the hair. This is not to be confused with the word “grisly”.

However, some zoologist must have got a kick out of giving him the Latin scientific name of Ursus horribilis. You probably do not need Google Translate to tell you that this means “Horrible bear”.

And of course there are no grizzly bears anywhere near India.

Jhumritilaiya’s “cousin” in the Vividh Bharati stakes is Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh, which is a slightly more important place and is located on the main line from Mumbai to Kolkata:


Timbuctoo deserves an article to itself.

Many governments in India and elsewhere have traditionally had places of sufficient remoteness and obscurity to transfer unwanted employees to. For instance, in Kerala state this role goes to the quaintly named town of Sultan Battery, where Tipu Sultan once set up his artillery. This is not to be confused with the small structure outside Mangalore, though you can see the rifle slits there.


If you are a moderately senior officer in the Indian civil services, you could be dispatched to a variety of high-sounding positions where there is no work. If no such position exists, your CM will create one just to get rid of you. Or you could become the chief administrator of Lakshwadeep or Diu or the Andaman Islands. This is not as bad as it seems since many of these places have no elected assembly or ministers which makes the life of bureaucrats considerably simpler.

Most countries have some small place which is the butt of jokes. Not surprisingly this position in the US goes to this city in Montana:


Like other mining towns in the US, it has a bit of history but it seems to be more famous for its name than anything else. Then there is Monkey Bottom. Try googling for images with this name and you will get more or less what you expect. But there is indeed one place of this name, the Monkey Bottom Wetland Walkway.

Monkey bottom

And there is a story behind it :

Enough of a tour of obscure corners of the world. Next stop Timbuctoo.

List of all Indian aviation accidents involving the loss of 30 or more lives

It took a while, but this is it: the final compilation of all India-related aviation disasters resulting in the loss of 30 or more lives. This information is not available anywhere else on the net or in any publication. Click on this : Aviation India List

Aviation safety in India

Aviation safety, like other branches of safety, has a public perception greatly dependent on what the general public thinks. This in turn largely depends on what the mass media decides to project. The current year has had two particularly tragic and peculiar incidents in MH 370 and MH 17, which may lead one to think that things are becoming worse. Not really. Improvements in technology in aircraft and communications technology have made things much safer than before. But there are always going to be saboteurs and plain incompetence of individuals in the system.

Let’s take a closer look at India. There was a time until around the mid-80s when there was at least one crash of an Indian airliner every year. Indian Airlines was rated among one of the world’s most unsafe airlines. But there was no fatal crash of any Indian commercial airliner between June 2000 and May 2010-which is particularly creditable as this period marked the expansion of many of today’s private airlines (admittedly aided by more modern aircraft).

Military aviation safety in India is another matter. Anyone wanting to make a serious study of this topic will end up having to depend on media reports of accidents. At least the DGCA is now giving more details of accidents on their website. Summaries going back to 1960 are here:

and more detailed reports of accidents and incidents since 2008 are also there (click on Reports rather than Summaries).

Rather interestingly, the detailed report of the 2010 crash at Mangalore is now password protected-although it was not protected for several months. You can still find a cache somewhere on the net via Google. If that sounds like too much trouble, there is a reasonable summary of this and many other accidents on Wikipedia. Most (but not all) significant accidents are covered. In this particular case we have:

Next I will be covering a few major Indian aviation accidents from 1978 to 2010 to illustrate what can go wrong.