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5 Worst Cyclones in Indian History

Updated on December 18, 2012

It has been less than a week since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in USA and parts of Canada, and just a couple of days since cyclone Nilam bringing destruction in southern part of India. This is what has inspired me to write this article about some of the worst cyclones in Indian history. Cyclones and hurricanes are some of the natural disasters that can bring death and destruction to lives and properties anywhere they hit.

Numerous cyclones hit the South-Eastern coast of India almost every year. But few of them carry a potential of massive destruction. And when there is much damage caused by them, it takes a longer time to recover from the aftermath of such destruction. Here are some of the cyclones which can be considered the worst to hit India, due to the devastation they brought.

1) The Bhola Cyclone (1970)

The Great Bhola cyclone that hit Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal in India on November 12, 1970 was the deadliest cyclone ever recorded. It was also considered one of the worst natural disasters of modern times. The tropical cyclone killed almost 500,000 people in the Ganges delta as a direct impact as well as the diseases spread during the aftermath, though this was just an estimated count. The total damage was estimated to be $86.4 million (1970). Survivors claimed that approximately 85% of their homes were destroyed. Huge loss of crops was reported due to floods.

2) Hooghly River Cyclone (1737)

This is the oldest and one of the worst cyclones recorded in India. This cyclone occurred on 11th October, 1737 and took approximately 300,000 lives including both West Bengal and Bangladesh. According the records, about 20,000 ships, barques, canoes, boats, sloops etc. were cast away. Eight out of nine English ships in the Ganges were reportedly lost. Not only people, but cattle as well as many wild animals such as tigers, rhinos and crocodiles in the Ganges plateau are known to have perished due to the cyclone.

3) Great Bombay Cyclone (1882)

One of the worst cyclones to hit India was the Great Bombay Cyclone. Though the Bay of Bengal in the east is the region most prone to cyclones in India, there are cyclones that have occurred from the direction of the Arabian Sea. This cyclone was one of them. The cyclone hit Mumbai (then Bombay) on June 6, 1882. The cyclone is known to have caused floods that killed at least 100,000 people in Mumbai alone.

4) Calcutta cyclone (1864)

On October 5, 1864, a massive cyclone hit the capital of West Bengal, Calcutta, killing approximately 60,000 people and flooding the entire city. Thousands more died due to diseases and sicknesses that followed. The water level from the Hooghly River is known to have risen up to a towering forty feet. The flood is said to have washed away everything in its path. The city, the surrounding areas and the harbor had to be rebuilt in the following months.

5) Coringa, India (1839)

Coringa is a small village in the Godavari basin in the state of Andhra Pradesh. A massive cyclone hit this village on November 16, 1839, killing approximately 300,000 people. The cyclone is known to have hit this village with terrible winds and a giant storm surge. The storm is known to have caused the third largest life due to tropical cyclone worldwide. Coringa was never rebuilt completely and today, it remains as a simple village.

These are just some of the worst cyclones in India that resulted in massive destruction of life and property. Do let me know if you would want me to add any other to this list.


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      3 years ago

      it helped me to now the worst cyclones in india i am thanking this page

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      omkar soni 

      4 years ago

      thats a nice and very helpfull page for me

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • karthikkash profile imageAUTHOR

      Karthik Kashyap 

      6 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot for liking my page Shravan :) Will continue to strive for it.

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      6 years ago

      Thank You for this wonderful page. It helped me a lot for my Social Studies Project. Kindly make more helpful pages like this to help us.

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      7 years ago

      I know even i am not able to find much about it... but if u could provide me with some links or some more information that would help me a lot...

      Thanks for replying :)

    • karthikkash profile imageAUTHOR

      Karthik Kashyap 

      7 years ago from India

      learner: Even I am unable to obtain much material on this. I will try to search if I can get any more information on that.

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      7 years ago

      can you please post more information about the coringa cyclone in 1839..... i am not able to get some good info on this.... so if you could help me by posting more about coringa that would be great....


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