Location : 135 km west of Varanasi
Also Known As : Prayag, Sangam, Triveni
What To See : Allahabad Fort, Anand Bhawan, Allahabad University
Famous For : Maha Kumbh Mela
Devotees taking bath Sangam, Allahabad
Allahabad or Prayag as it was once called, has been a Hindu pilgrimage city for thousands of years. It is the revered city of union affording the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati, at Sangam. It is the place where a once in 12 years festival the Kumbh Mela is staged, witnessing the largest ablution event of the world. Renowned for its world class university, Allahabad has given the country some of its most eminent political leaders and scholars. The name was given to the city by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583. The "Allah" in the name does not come from Allah as God's name in Islam but from the Din-Ilahi, which was the religion founded by the Mughal emperor. Nestling 135 km west of Varanasi in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, this peaceful city can be a quiet retreat for those looking for a tranquil holiday.
The city is divided into two distinct quarters; the well
planned Civil Lines, once the home for the Raj administrators, and the old
congested Chowk area. Experience the colonial days at the Gothic All
Saints' Cathedral designed by Sir William Emerson. With its exquisite
stained glass windows and its historical brass plaques, the cathedral is
worth a visit. Hire a 'tonga' (horse cart) and leave for the rejuvenating
breeze of the Ganges at Sangam. After slicing a few kilometres of sand,
you will come across the colossal Allahabad Fort, nestling on the pristine
sands of the peacock-blue Yamuna, near the confluence site. Once it was
unrivalled for its design, construction and craftsmanship. Today, only a
part of its grandeur peeps through the unsurpassable barricade of Indian
Army for the visitors.
Wander around the sun-kissed ramparts to see the amazing Saraswati 'Kup' (well), said to be the source of the legendary Saraswati river. The gigantic Ashoka Pillar in red sandstone dates back to 232 BC. Try to read the curious Persian inscriptions of Emperor Jahangir engraved on it, commemorating his accession to the throne. The impressive florals and motifs at the Jodhabai's palace is surely going to enchant you. Spare out some time to touch the green leaves of the famous Akshaya Vat (immortal tree) roosting in the underground Patalpuri Temple. Ask the caretaker and he will entertain you with many interesting stories of Hindu mythology. Believed to have been visited by Lord Rama, the temple also affords the footprints of the famous globe-trotter Hiuen Tsang.
Spend your evenings exploring the broad, shady avenues of Civil Lines, reverberating with the modern aroma floating in its Raj-style bungalows, bustling shopping areas, opulent hotels and calling restaurants. Incidentally, you will find most of the action here. Turn the pages of history at Anand Bhawan, the ancestral home of the Nehru family, now turned into a fine museum of memorabilia. Feel like a teenager at the sprawling Allahabad University campus, with the students running for their next class amidst pillars that mark Victorian and Islamic architectural styles. Meet the students and know more about the university, famed as the 'Oxford of the East' in the 19th century, the revered shrine of knowledge also holds the world record to deliver world's first letter by airmail (from Prayag to Naini, just a few km. across the river Yamuna).
Kumbh Mela, Allahabad
In the morning, hire a 'phatphat'or 'Vikram' (local taxis) and leave for the most visited pilgrimage destination in Allahabad, the hallowed yet serene Sangam. Nestling on the wide flood plains and muddy banks overlooking the eastern ramparts of the colossal Allahabad fort, the sacred Sangam sees the confluence of three of the holiest rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Rent a boat from the ghat immediately east of the fort at the recommended government rate to reach Triveni Sangam, where you can actually see the muddy and pale yellow water of Ganges merging with emerald water of Yamuna. If you happen to be during the famous Kumbh Mela, held in every 12 years, you will see that the deserted banks come to life with millions of devout from all across the country. The sun-kissed sands reverberate with holy ceremonies and ritual ablutions, performed by the saffron-hued 'pandas' (priests) in the shallow waters. One can even see the sheared hairs of the pilgrims who come to offer 'pind' (food for spirits) for their deceased ancestors.
Allahabad's Civil Lines is an area of broad avenues, picturesque Raj-era bungalows, colourful modern shops and elegant outdoor eating stalls. The place is separated from the dense, older part of the town, known as Chowk, by Allahabad Junction. Nearby airports are at Lucknow (210 km) and Varanasi (140 km). The city of confluence has four railway stations Prayag Station, City Station, Daraganj Station and the Allahabad Junction. The latter serves as the main entry to the city, and is comfortably connected to Delhi and Kolkata through broad gauge lines. Besides Allahabad is located on NH 2 and 27, both are in good condition and connects Sangam to all major destinations of the state. The main bus terminus, the Civil Lines bus stand is located in the posh sector. Besides, the city also has two more bus junctions catering to different directions. Tourist taxis, auto-rickshaws and tempos are available for local transport and the rates are usually negotiable. City bus service also connects various parts of the town.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Allahabad
The Confluence of Faith
The Seat of Salvation At Prayag
Allahabad University Enlighting Since Ages
Look For The Ashoka Pillar
Shop A Little of Allahabad
Pilgrimage Spiritual Tour
» Splendrous Taj Mahal
Glorious Golden Triangles (I & II)
Delhi : Capital of Hearts
Jaipur : The
Power and Valor of Rajputs
Pradesh : Ecstasy in Hills
Chandigarh : Tradition