Is Lansdowne's Name Going To Be Changed?



Lansdowne, one of the most tranquil hill stations of Uttarakhand, is soon to be renamed to its original name of ‘Kalon Danda’. The ministry of defence (MoD) is planning to rename old towns and cantonment areas of Northern states like Uttarakhand to make them more relevant to their old culture and traditions. 

The name ‘Kolan Danda’ means Black Mountain in their native language. Originally, Lansdowne was named by Britishers in loving memory of Lord Lansdowne, who served as Governor General and Viceroy of India from 1888 to 1893. 


The talks are still going on and a proposal regarding the same has been drafted and dispatched to the Government of Uttarakhand. They will also consider the opinions of the residents of Lansdowne since the town belongs to its people only. 


Although the state administration is unaware of which side the central government will lean towards, it is speculated that it is the result of a memorandum submitted by local BJP MLA Dilip Singh Rawat to the Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh three months ago.


State’s Reaction To The Proposal

Talking about his memorandum, Dilip Singh Rawat mentioned in an interview that Rajnath Singh had assured him of all necessary steps in this regard. He however added that there has been no communication to him from the central government about the same. 

He further said that he had met the Indian Defense Minister three months ago and had submitted the memorandum suggesting that the name of the hill station be reverted to its original name. He had made a similar request to Finance Minister Nirmala Sithhraman in the past. 

Union Minister of State for Defense Ajay Bhatt also stated that locals have been raising similar demands for changing the name. These proposals are being deliberated considering the national needs and time. 


History of Lansdowne 


Established in 1887, this hilly town came under a cantonment of the British, who were drawn to its sublime climate, and is named after the then Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne. 


Lansdowne was developed by the Britishers for catering for the Recruits Training centre of the Garhwal Rifles. It was also a major place where the activities of freedom fighters from British Garhwal during the British period often took place. Military combat and training exercises took place in the nook of the hills. 


The very first battalion of Garhwal Rifles migrated from Almora to Lansdowne on 5 November 1887. It was the most popular town after Almora and people hailing from different cultures and states ventured into this town to partake in business-related activities. 

The buildings and churches found in Lansdowne were built during the British raj period, and date back to the pre-independence era. In the modern day, it is an ideal location for eco-tourism as it is well preserved by the Government of Uttarakhand and the Garhwal Rifles.


The Serene Beauty of Lansdowne

Lansdowne is one of the quaint and unspoiled hill stations of Northern India and has been a popular tourist destination since the Britishers came to India. It is encircled by dense oak and blue pine forests and appears like an old serene painting. 

The most beautiful bit about this hill station is that it is located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and other populated hill stations such as Nainital and Mussoorie, which are crowded throughout the entire year, be it summer or winter. 

Lansdowne is unlike other hill stations, as even though it is well connected with motorable roads, it is still also remote in its way. It is situated at an altitude of 1780 meters above sea level and is surrounded by thick oak and blue pine forests in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand state.

Unlike other hill stations of Uttarakhand and even Himachal Pradesh to some extent, Lansdowne is devoid of the concept of a ‘mall road’, which is the most basic tourist attraction of hill stations. Only a handful of pine resorts and hotels dot this serene town and are perfect for travellers who like to unite and rejuvenate with nature. One can see nothing but tall peaks and lush green forests for miles beyond.   


Similar demands regarding changing the names of schools, institutions, roads, and other public spaces have been made by the locals of Lansdowne. It seems that they want to get rid of any British imprint ingrained in their town. But will the name of Lansdowne get changed to its original name? It can only be ascertained if the proposal is passed or rejected by the central government. 

Written by Chitra Gangwani