Apart from their role as central or nodal places, many towns and cities perform specialised services. Some towns and cities specialise in certain functions and they are known for some specific activities, products or services.
However, each town performs a number of functions. On the basis of dominant or specialised functions, Indian cities and towns can be broadly classified as follows:
- Administrative towns and cities: Towns supporting administrative headquarters of higher order are administrative towns, such as Chandigarh, New Delhi, Bhopal, Shillong, Guwahati, Imphal, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Jaipur Chennai, etc.
- Industrial towns: Industries constitute prime motive force of these cities such as Mumbai, Salem, Coimbatore, Modinagar, Jamshedpur, Hugli, Bhilai, etc.
- Transport Cities: They may be ports primarily engaged in export and import activities such as Kandla, Kochchi, Kozhikode, Vishakhapatnam, etc. or hubs of inland transport such as Agra, Dhulia, Mughal Sarai, Itarsi, Katni, etc.
- Commercial towns: Towns and cities specialising in trade and commerce are kept in this class. Kolkata, Saharanpur, Satna, etc. are some examples.
- Mining towns: These towns have developed in mineral rich areas such as Raniganj, Jharia, Digboi, Ankaleshwar, Singrauli, etc. Garrisson Cantonment towns These towns emerged as garrisson towns such as Ambala, Jalandhar, Mhow, Babina, Udhampur, etc.
- Educational towns: Starting as centres of education, some of the towns have grown into major campus towns such as Roorki, Varanasi, Aligarh, Pilani, Allahabad etc.
- Religious and cultural towns: Varanasi, Mathura, Amritsar, Madurai, Puri, Ajmer, Pushkar, Tirupati, Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Ujjain came to prominence due to their religious/cultural significance.
- Tourist towns: Nainital, Mussoorie, Shimla, Pachmarhi, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udagamandalam (Ooty), Mount Abu are some of the tourist destinations.
The cities are not static in their function. The functions change due to their dynamic nature. Even specialised cities, as they grow into metropolises become multifunctional wherein industry, business, administration, transport, etc. become important. The functions get so intertwined that the city can not be categorised in a particular functional class.
Source: India People and Economy by NCERT