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Contai

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Historic Sites
Contai is headquarters of Contai subdivision in Purba Medinipur district, West Bengal, India. There are three community development blocks in Contai. According to the geologists, the present geographical dimension of contai, has formally came into existence, with the great natural disaster of the third century AD which created Chilka lake out of the Chilka Bay. Kanthi, that is contai, means "Sand-bound reefs" or sand walls. The name Contai may thus be an English expression of the local jargon meaning "sand heaps".EtymologyIn the 15th century, during the visit of Fa-Hien, Contai was uninhabited and had no name for the outside world. In Valentine’s travelogue, a harbour, Kendua by name, was mentioned. This harbour was on the bank of the river, a short distance from the Rasulpur estuary. Later the harbour was shifted to the present site of the Contai Town. However, it is said, the name of the abandoned port was retained for its new location, In foreigners tongue, Kendua is said to have changed first to Cauntee and finally to Contai, whereas in local tongue it has changed to Kanthi (kΛnө׀).But linguists raise serious doubts about such change of pronunciation. They offer other suggestions.Mr. Yogesh Chandra Sarkar thinks that the name Kanthi owes its origin to outstretched sand-dune, about 27 miles from Rasulpur estuary to Peeplipattan, that from the sea looked like a long wall or Kanth (kΛnθ) as it is called by local people. Some suggest that the name may originate from the custom of local people to build long walls or Kanths around their habitation in order to keep off wild beasts like buffaloes, tigers and rhinoceroses that were found in abundance then and these Kanths gave the place its name.
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