Himachal wants Shimla to be Shyamala

Himachal wants Shimla to be Shyamala

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in Shimla. PTI/FILE

Following closely on the heels of the Uttar Pradesh government renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj, the government of Himachal Pradesh has announced its intentions to rename Shimla as 'Shyamala'.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday said, "Before the British arrived, Shimla was known as Shyamala. My government will seek public opinion on the demand for its renaming." He was speaking on the sidelines of the Dusshera festivities at Jakhu temple.

Among those arguing in favour of renaming the city are the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (Pravin Togadia group) and state Health Minister Vipin Parmar.

They say the name was originally changed to Shimla as the British could not pronounce the name of the local deity Shyamala, whom they claim the city was named after.

However, historians argue the name of the local deity was never used to refer to the town, which was the summer capital of the British from 1864 till Independence.

The demand to rename the hill station was also made in 2016, but was rejected by the then chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who said that Shimla is a internationally-famous tourist destination and that renaming could affect this status.