India, a union of states, is a sovereign, secular, democratic, republic with a parliamentary system of government. The President is the constitutional head of Executive of the Union. In the states, the Governor, as the representative of the President, is the head of Executive. The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union. There are 29 states and seven Union Territories in the country. Union Territories are administered by the President through an administrator appointed by him/her.
Let’s take a look at the states and their capitals:
1. Andhra Pradesh – Amravati
Hyderabad was the former capital of Andhra Pradesh but it got replaced by Amravati, people’s capital. The foundation stone was laid on October 22, 2015. The Buddhist Stupa at Amravati is the biggest stupa in the country with a diameter of 50 meters and a height of 27 meters.
2. Arunachal Pradesh – Itanagar
Itanagar has been the capital of Arunachal Pradesh since April 20, 1974. Arunachal Pradesh is India’s largest state in the Northeast.
3. Assam – Dispur
Initially, Shillong was the capital of Assam but got replaced by Dispur in 1972. Dispur is a locality or suburb in Guwahati city that is why Guwahati is often referred to as the capital city of Assam.
4. Bihar – Patna
Patna is the largest city of the state of Bihar, 19th most populous city and the fifth fastest growing city in the country.
5. Chhattisgarh – Atal Nagar (Naya Raipur)
Chhattisgarh’s new capital Naya Raipur will be renamed as Atal Nagar in memory of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The announcement was made by Chhattisgarh’s chief minister, Raman Singh, on August 21, 2018.
6. Goa – Panaji
After Independence, Indian Army attacked Goa including Panaji and uprooted the Portuguese controls in 1961. Thereafter, Goa was merged with India as a Union Territory.
7. Gujarat – Gandhinagar
In 1960, the Indian state of Bombay was split into two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The city of Mumbai was given to Maharashtra, leaving Gujarat without a capital city. Gandhinagar got its name from the Father of the Nation.
8. Haryana – Chandigarh
Chandigarh derives its name from the temple of ‘Chandi Mandir’ located in the vicinity of the site selected for the city. The deity ‘Chandi’, the goddess of power and a fort of ‘Garh’ lying beyond the temple gave the city its name ‘stronghold of the goddess Chandi.
9. Himachal Pradesh – Shimla/Dharamshala
Jammu and Kashmir is not the only state with two capitals anymore. In 2017, Dharamsala was declared as HP’s winter capital, which means it’ll have two capital cities i.e. Shimla and Dharamshala.
10. Jammu and Kashmir – Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir was the only state having two capital cities until 2017. In Jammu and Kashmir, every year there is a shift of the secretariat and all other government offices from Srinagar to Jammu and vice versa.
11. Jharkhand – Ranchi
Jharkhand is one of the richest mineral zones in the world and boasts of 40 per cent and 29 per cent of India’s mineral and coal reserves respectively. Jharkhand is the only state in India to produce coking coal, uranium and pyrite.
12. Karnataka – Bengaluru
Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital of south Indian state, Karnataka. After India’s independence in 1947, Bengaluru became the capital of Mysore State and remained its capital till the new Indian state of Karnataka was formed in 1956.
13. Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of Kerala state. This clean city is built on seven hills, called as Thiru-Anantha-Puram, meaning ‘the town of Lord Anantha’.
14. Madhya Pradesh – Bhopal
Bhopal was founded by King Bhoja in the 11th century. The city was thus named ‘Bhoj-pal’ and later came to be known as Bhopal. Bhopal is also known as the ‘city of lakes’ for its various natural as well as artificial lakes. Bhopal lake, known as the upper lake is the oldest man-made lake in India.
15. Maharashtra – Mumbai
Mumbai was formerly known as Bombay till 1995. Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is also one of the world’s top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating 6.16 per cent of India’s GDP.
16. Manipur – Imphal
Ima Keithal market in Imphal is probably the world’s only all-women run marketplace. In Manipuri, Ima means mother and Keithal means market, so it is known as ‘Mothers market’.
17. Meghalaya – Shillong
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is the only hill station that is accessible from all sides. In 1874, it became the capital of composite Assam under British rule.
18. Mizoram – Aizawl
Aizawl is the political and cultural centre of Mizoram. It is here that the State Legislature is situated. It is also the commercial hub of the state and all commercial and economic activities are centred around the city.
19. Nagaland – Kohima
The name, Kohima, was officially given by the British as they could not pronounce the Angami name Kewhima or Kewhira, which comes from the Kewhi flowers, which are found all around in the mountains.
20. Odisha – Bhubaneswar
In 1948, Bhubaneswar replaced Cuttack as the capital of Odisha. It is also popularly known as the ‘temple city of India’.
21. Punjab – Chandigarh
Chandigarh as a Union Territory was constituted on November 1, 1966, when the Indian Punjab was reorganised along linguistic lines into two new states- Haryana and Punjab.
22. Rajasthan – Jaipur
Jaipur is popularly known as the ‘Pink city of Rajasthan,’ because of its pink coloured buildings. It was built in the 18th century by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II and was the first planned city of India.
23. Sikkim – Gangtok
The name Gangtok is derived from a Tibetan word, which means ‘hilltop’ or ‘top of the hill’. With the presence of several monasteries, centres for tibetology and religious educational institutions, Gangtok is a famous centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture.
24. Tamil Nadu – Chennai
Chennai, formerly known as Madras Patnam, is 380 years old. From a stretch of no man’s land in 1639, it has grown to become a major industrial, business and cultural centre. Chennai Corporation initially called as Madras municipal corporation is the oldest Municipal Corporation in India established in 1688.
25. Telangana – Hyderabad
Telangana was constituted as the 29th state of India on June 2, 2014. Hyderabad was the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh until 2015. Now, Hyderabad is only the capital of Telangana.
26. Tripura – Agartala
Agartala is a component of two words — namely Agar, a kind of oily valuable perfume tree and tala, a storehouse. The percentage of literacy in Agartala, according to the 2011 census, was 93.88, higher than the national literacy rate.
27. Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow
Lucknow is popularly known as ‘The City of Nawabs’. It is also known as the Golden City of the East, Shiraz-i-Hind and the Constantinople of India. Lucknow was the epicentre of the 1857 War of Independence.
28. Uttarakhand – Dehradun
Dehradun is mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata in the ancient puranic stories making it one of the oldest cities of India. Dehradun is also called as the Abode of Guru Drona.
29. West Bengal – Kolkata
Until 1911, Kolkata was the capital of India due to its trade importance during the British Rule in India. Later, Delhi was made the capital of India. In 2001 the city’s name was officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata. A legacy of the Raj, Kolkata is one of the fewest cities in the world to have retained the tradition of Tram.
Now let’s look at the Union Territories and their capitals
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The scenery on our red coloured 20 rupee note depicts a natural scene on the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The only active volcano in India is present in Andaman.
2. Chandigarh – Chandigarh
It was one of the early planned cities in post-independent India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design.
3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli – Silvassa
Dadra and Nagar Haveli lies near the west coast and consists of two separate parts. Dadra is surrounded by the state of Gujarat, and Nagar Haveli lies on the borders of Maharashtra and Gujarat. It was a Portuguese colony till 1779 and became a part of Independent India in 1954.
4. Daman and Diu – Daman
Goa, Daman, and Diu were incorporated into the Republic of India on December 19, 1961, by military conquest. The territory of Goa, ‘Daman, and Diu’ was administered as a single union territory until 1987, when Goa was granted statehood, leaving Daman and Diu as a separate union territory.
5. Lakshadweep – Kavaratti
Kavaratti Island is the base for INS Deeprakashak, a crucial Indian Navy Base. Kavaratti has been an important Indian Navy Base since the 1980’s. However, INS Deeprakashak was commissioned in the year 2012.
6. Delhi – Delhi
A union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister.
7. Puducherry – Pondicherry
Earlier the name of this territory was Pondicherry. It was changed to Puducherry on September 20, 2006. Puducherry is better known as the ‘White Town’. Puducherry celebrates Independence Day on August 16, while the rest of the nation celebrates it on August 15.