Junction at Urwa: Which name should prevail - Old or proposed?
















By John B Monteiro 

"Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read." – Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English author.

"The old order changeth yielding place to new

And God fulfills himself in many ways

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

- (Lord) Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), British Poet Laureate.

Alert readers will discern the progression of the idea of change. Today, the smart thing to say is: "Change is the only constant".

These thoughts hit me when I read about the proposed change of name of circle at Urva junction from Lady Hill Circle to Sri Narayana Guru. But first the facts as reported in the media.

Lady Hill Circle on MG Road will soon be renamed after philosopher and social reformer of Sri Narayana Guru. A resolution in this regard is expected to be part of the agenda at the council meeting of MMC on September 22. If everything goes by plan, the circle will be officially renamed during Dassara festival at Kudroli Gokarnanatha Temple which was consecrated by the Guru in 1912.

Because of the pandemic and my age (82 +) I am not in a position to go out and check if the Circle was officially so named or acquired the name by popular usage as is the case of Pumpwell Circle and Jyoti Circle. However, I have written about both the temple and Lady Hill School about 18 years ago and presented below (abridged) so that readers appreciate the historic background on the subject.


Ladyhill Nurtures Students

Ladyhill is located on the right side of the Lalbagh-Kottara Road, with its central base at the Urva junction traffic island. There is an apocryphal account that a British gentleman had a bungalow on the hill and it was named after his wife. It has to be noted that during the British raj, the white skinned male was Sir or Lord, irrespective of his being knighted or otherwise, and his wife was universally "Lady".

This story can be discarded if one takes into account Ladyhill Victoria Girls School, located bang opposite the Urva traffic island. According to the school calendar the name Ladyhill is associated with Mary, mother of Jesus, who is the patroness of the school.

The school traces its origin to 1870 when three French Apostolic Carmel nuns landed in Mangalore and started their teaching mission at St. Ann’s, near Rosario Church. The school shifted to Dongarkeri and named itself St. Ann’s Kanarese School in 1885. In 1887 the school renamed itself as Victoria Caste Girls’ School. Why "caste"? During the period girls from Saraswat / Goud Saraswat caste had no educational facilities. So, these communities requested access to the school and, thus, "caste" entered the school title. In 1892 English was introduced as medium of instruction. The school shed its "caste" in 1921 when it was relocated at Urva and assumed the title of Ladyhill Victoria Girls’ High School. The present high school building was opened in 1942. The Platinum Jubilee Memorial Block was added in 1993. P.U. classes in arts and science commenced in 1999, followed by science section in 2002. The school has a more modern building on the crown of the hill.

Kudroli Temple Thrives Unbound

These days the vast complex of Shree Gokarnanatha Kshetra at Kudroli is a beehive of activities. Once you alight at the entrance, you see a golden island, with marginal magenta reliefs. But for the sanctum sanctorums of the main and subsidiary temples, one gets the impression that it is a new temple complex being readied for a grand inauguration. That is the end result of a series of renovations, over a period of 15 years (written circa 2004), of the original temple inaugurated in 1912.

"The greatest vicissitude of things among men,

Is the vicissitude of sects and religions".

So said Francis Bacon, English writer (1561–1626) with the Western Christian world on his radar. We in India had a similar situation which was best manifested in the centuries-old caste system. Under this system, sanctioned by religious texts, some were more equal than others. This situation agitated the less equal and they started the struggle for equality before God. The Billavas of Tulu Nadu were in this class. In their struggle for emancipation they found inspiration, and later direction, from Shree Narayana Guru.

Born on August 20, 1854, at Jambalanthi, in Kerala, this religious and social reformer started his education in 1859, mastered Sanskrit, started tapasya and dhyana at Aradipura and established himself as a seer at Maruthamalai in 1887. In 1884, he had set up a Shiv Kshetra at Aradipura and in 1889 started Ishwara Temple at Vokkam and set about guiding and reforming people deviating from the straight religious and social path.

In Tulu Nadu Billavas and others so-called backward classes started questioning the rationale of their inequality before God as manifested in, for instance, the denial of temple entry. This was the time when in Bengal Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Brahma Samaj emphasised that caste was immaterial and devotion to God was pivotal. The leaders of the backward classes in Mangalore increasingly questioned the premises that kept them less equal. Noted businessman of Hoige Bazar, Sawkar Koragappa, accompanied by fellow leaders, went to Shree Narayana Guru in Kerala in 1908.


The seer, committed to the uplift of the downtrodden, agreed to come to Mangalore. He was shown places where a temple could be constructed. He agreed on Kudroli. The place then had notorious reputation as the den of Butha – Prethas. People living in the surrounding area had bad reputation. Yet, Shree Narayana Guru was determined to transform the place into a holy kshetra. Responding to the Guru’s wishes people in the area, including a Muslim family, surrendered their lands to make place for the temple complex.

After selecting the spot, Shree Narayana Guru returned to Kerala only to come back in 1909 with the detailed blueprints for the temple and camped in Mangalore for some time. When he expressed his desire to visit the Shri Manjunatha Temple at Kadri, the Billava leaders escorted him there. But, despite urging from the Guru, these leaders could not bring themselves to enter the temple courtyard. The Guru himself was respectfully welcomed and helped to do the rituals.

Shree Narayana Guru came to Mangalore again in 1912 and installed the images of the deities – besides the Shivlinga he had brought along. The other deities included Shri Ganapathy, Shri Subramanya, Shri Krishna, Shri Devi Annapurneshwari, Shri Ananda Bairava, Navagraha and Shri Shanishwara. The coming together of these deities is based on Shree Narayana Guru’s emphasis on one religion and one God for all.


Against the above background of these two institutions, one has to evaluate the proposed change of name of Lady Hill Circle. Now that Mangaluru is set to be modernized under the Smart City banner, MCC should consider a more worthy landmark to name after Shree Narayana Guru - instead of stale circle already named and imprinted in the minds of citizens - as in the case of Jyoti Circle, Pumpwell Circle and many other old landmarks of Mangaluru.



Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Daijiworld. Daijiworld does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.




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Comment on this article

  • Indian/Bharathi, Mangalore/Dubai

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    I don’t understand how does MCC renaming a junction/circle make Mangalore a Smart City??

    Having lived in Mangalore for my entire life, even if the name was changed to Sri Narayana Guru junction/circle or whatever, it will still remain Ladyhill circle to me.

    The Junction/circle has got nothing to do with Religion, History, Women Empowerment, Sentiments etc etc. It is just there for one purpose – smooth movement of traffic.

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rose Irene Pinto, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    Ladyhill name denotes empowerment of women. We women feel proud to cross this junction. It doesnot denote a particular society, but women. Such a good and royal name should not be changed as it gives no negative thoughts to any body.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    ha. ha. ha. Rightly said.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • William DSouza, MANGALORE

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    O Lord, Give MCC SADBUDDI, instead of Playing with the sentiments of people.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    I was Googling and came upon the following:
    "To rob Peter to pay Paul", or other versions that have developed over the centuries such as "to borrow from Peter to pay Paul", and "to unclothe Peter to clothe Paul", are phrases meaning to take from one person or thing to give to another, especially when it results in the elimination of one debt by incurring another ...”
    Now I find this could be true in the case of Ladyhill Circle. My intention was/ is not to raise a controversy. By and large responders have been positive. Let us keep it that way. Thanks for responding. Let us hope and pray that the matter ends on a positive note.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • J.F.D SOUZA, Attavar, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    From Rly. Station to Nandigudda the road was named by the then Mangalore Muncipality as S.L.Lobo Road. Though some name boards are erected here and there it is still called N.G.Road( Nandigudda Road) Why? The name boards of various shops along this road shows as N.G.Road only. So there is no sanctity to the names approved by Muncipality. Our MCC should insist for this. Now its the turn of Lady Hill Circle. Mangalore has become Mangaluru its OK. But why change the Lady Hill Circle name at this juncture now. Very sarcastic. Mr.John Monteiro has properly and sutably enlighten about this issue.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    First, let me thank you for enlightening us all with the piece of history of several landmarks, including Ladyhill and Jyoti Circle. I was hoping to read something about the history of Pumpwell Circle, in the vicinity of which I resided during my formative years (Pumpwell Compound - which belonged to Fr Muller hospital, Kankanady and where stood the Pump that piped water to the hospital and where stood "our" house as well (I'm saying "our" because for all intents and purposes it was ours for the time we lived in it as the hospital's tenants-at-will, the house being given to my father as residence for himself and the family while he worked as the hospital's senai). [I had occasion to mention this very recently in answer to a commentator's query].
    I do hope that the name Ladyhill continues to remain unchanged and that the seer and reformer will be duly honoured by selecting another spot. I also hope there will not be a controversy as in the case of Bautekatte or Lighthouse Hill Road. I hope the founding communities of Mangalore continue to get their fair share of names.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rathan, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Mohan prabhu
    What do you mean by "founding community" do you want to say there were no ppl in mngkr before that "community" came

    DisAgree [8] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Mon, Sep 21 2020

    Rathan, Mangalore:

    It is just an expression highlighting communities (plural) that made Mangalore great. These are, for instance (emphasize: for instance - there are others), the Bunts and Billavas, the GSBs, the Bhats and Shetties, Mangalorean Catholics, Basel Mission Christians, the Bearys, and others who settled in Mangalore centuries ago who contributed a great deal for the education, health and welfare, trade and industry, of the people at large and provided employment in the city. Just look at all the Institutions they established for the benefit of people out of the goodness of their heart, and the beneficiaries like you and me. Seers and preachers reach for the soul in an effort to evangelize or enlighten but do not minister to the temporal needs of humanity.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anthony, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Dear John Monteiro in regards to the school name Marjil. the story goes like this.(my late mother narrated this story to me). These parents had two daughters by the name Mary and Jillian. They both joined A C convents to become nuns.Their house was named after these two siblings as Mar Jil. So when the parents of these sisters became old they donated Mar Jil to the A C nuns from where they started a small school for the neighbourhood girls. So even today people call this institution as Marjil. (I am subject to correction).

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rathan, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Even in"bombay "became" mumbai "butf old ppl still all Bombay Chennai still called Madras by old generation. Navabharath circle changed but old ppl call itnavabharath circle only. In Bombay so many places changed its name but it will take another 40 /50 years to actually get the new name. Ppl still call VT
    Marina Drive, hanging garden, flora fountain /Fort. Crowford Market etc etc

    DisAgree Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Arthur, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Who is proposing the name change? Hope citizens oppose the nefarious plan to erase Mangalore's Catholic history.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Whats there in a name?
    If you ask for Ambedkar circle with any Mangalorean, he will look up and ad down, Ask him jyothi circle, he will guide you to the right place.
    Narayana Guru or any other name, Lady hill circle will be lady hill circle for Mangaloreans.

    Light house road... you know right?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hegde, Bangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    If Renaming hurts sentiments .. traditions / religion ...then this exercise should be abandoned ...
    There are many circles ahead or behind this already famously known circle and ..........undertake some renovation without disturbing existing ..

    DisAgree [3] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sandy, Udupi

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    The name "Ladyhill" should be retained and and a feminine figure abstract statue should be put at the centre of the traffic island to represent all our wonderful Indian women

    DisAgree [6] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Mangalorian Mangalore
    Thank you for your spirited response. However, as I have written extensively, including in Daijiworld, Bondel derives its name from Fr. Alexander Dubois, a French priest attached to Milagres Church (when Milagres and Rosario were the only two parishes which catered to the whole of Mangalore and its suburbs). He walked barefoot to the areas which have now become independent parishes like Angelore, Bondel and even Cordel where his Samadhi now is (he is called Kullerja Ajjer in Tulu). He was a victim of a plague and his body was taken from Milagres to Cordel. His Samadhi is behind the main church and many visit it seeking favours /thanking for favours received.
    Bondel derives its name from Dubois’s exclamation about the place - “Bone Dale” - perhaps a mixture of French and English (Bon (good/ beautiful )+ Dale meaning valley) In those days the church (a thatched hut) was in the valley/ thota (Cocanut grove) close to the present Pacchandi bridge/railway crossing.
    As to Marjil, as far as I know, it is the combination of the name of two sisters in whose name the land was donated to the nuns by a family.
    ( I am writing this not as a know-all about Mangalore as I have spent only 1/4th of my 82 years in this charming, hospitable city.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Thank you for the history of Ladyhill and Jyoti Circle and the names Bondel and Cordel, among others about which I just commented. I do hope that there is not another controversy similar to Lighthouse Hill and that the founding communities will get their fair share of names to mark their contribution for the past three hundred years.
    With regard to Cordel, like Bondel, Abbe Dubois may have combined Coeur (heart) and Dale (valley). As far as I know, my great great grandfather (5 generations ago) after liberation by the British from Seringapatam captivity on Tipu’s fall in 1799, made his home in Cordel parish in the village called Makhale. Some of his descendants (my daijis) still live there. I have this piece of history from no less an authority than my own father who hand-wrote the genealogy and gave me in 1960 (which I still have) prior to relocating in the West.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Spiritual meaning of Bondel

    el = eternal life = everlasting life = God.

    Bondel = Bond with God or,
    As Bon is Good, Good God or God is Good

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Monty Dotor, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    What is in a name?
    Leave things as it is.If at all renaming is required name it after a flower instead of a person.People will bond with nature this way.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    The purpose of renaming places like Lady hill and St.Alloysius road is to erase from the public mind, contribution of early christian missionaries in education and health. They have failed to convince people that these institutes are used to convert people. Now they want to change the names. If they are successful at this, they will start changing names of many other places with christian names. That's clearly the agenda.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kishore Kumar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    But if you see the real '... kudla' people behind the Ladyhill circle name change, those are mainly CON supporters ...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    The name change will not affect the area as the Lady Hill Victoria school remains there. If it shifts also the hill will still be called Ladyhil. The next hill near it was once known as "Double Gudde" and later it became Hat Hill in English. Jyoti circle is called Ambedkar circle but till Jyoti talkies is there it will be Jyoti circle. Bendore well is renamed but still called as like that. So any change the bus drivers, conductors, and taxi auto drivers have to change . Then the only change will come.

    Does anybody think about Sultan Battery ?. Is there any sultan or Shehansha Now ?.

    There is one Bejai New Road for almost 70 years and our MCC is repairing it perennially every month and every year. So it is still a new road!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalorean, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    People don't care about lack of drainge, absence of footpaths, no roadside parking spaces, not even motorable roads! They only want to rename roads as per someone's whims and fancies.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rational thinker, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    The sad reality is that the Mangaloreans are not worried about pothole ridden roads with deep craters in the heart of the city, main roads in the Wenlock and Taj Mahal area. They never complain but patiently drive thru such deadly roads. They are overly concerned about renaming existing roads to Sunderram Shetty road and Guru Narayana road. I find it ridiculous and at the same time wonder how dumb and artificial people can be in a so called city of educated and intelligent people.

    DisAgree Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anamika, Bajpe

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    By renaming nothing will happen...
    Public will call "Lady Hill "only.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [36] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ina D'Souza, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    The most prevailing story for MCC
    appannakatte made "Happenkatte' by the British rule.
    appana well was closed with a concrete slab to make way for visiting Nehru to appannakatte.
    The famous 'Nehru Maidan' becomes central rangasthala
    The famous Lady Hill circle in the renaming process…
    The appanna katte under redecoration and reinstallation process…

    ...and what not and what more in process for the prevailing idle mind den of wicked thoughts. Alas!!! "The workless carpenter got himself engaged chipping off his children's buttocks shaping them out in the Corona pandemic!!!"

    DisAgree [3] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kishore Kumar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    ... better to rename Urwa Stores to ‘Paramahamsa Nithyananda Angadi’ 🤓

    DisAgree [20] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lawrence Lasrado, Lady hill, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Prevail old name,as Lady hill circle,Lady hill, Mangalore

    DisAgree [3] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    An interesting article on history of Mangaluru. Thank you Mr Monteiro.

    I was under the impression that "Lady" hill was one of the several hills - named by the British administrators in Mangaluru.

    I don't have any documents to support this. But my take is:

    Court Hill - became Cordel
    Bond Hill - became Bondel
    Lady Hill
    Marge Hill - became Marjil

    DisAgree [7] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dylan, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    In Mangalore people are concerned in renaming places and also close some places. There is no development in infrastructure. One good rain so many places are flooded.
    The central market closed for what purpose? Were as departmental stores opened with no physical/ social distancing.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • myna, mysuru

    Sun, Sep 20 2020

    Name it as "LadyHill" circle. If you can't find any then name it after me instead of crying over names

    DisAgree [6] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Junction at Urwa: Which name should prevail - Old or proposed?

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