One of the oldest cities of the Indian subcontinent and having an indelible link with Hindu mythology, Allahabad or Prayag thus holds great recognition and significance in the story of India. The sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati converge here at the sangam. It is said to be the capital of the Hastinapur Empire, and thus the centre for the epic Mahabharata. Some tales also lead us to believe that the some of the nectar from the Samudra Manthan, or the churning of the ocean, fell upon the earth here. For these reasons the Mahakumbh Mela, the largest religious festival in the world takes place here every twelve years. Devotees gather here by the hundreds during the Kumbha Mela to pray and absolve from sins. Other than this, various other festivals and locations are found here, each holding great significance in the world of history, education etc.
As one of the largest cities in Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad has the Allahabad Airport located towards the outskirts of the city. This airport has regular flights that are well connected to all cities across the country. Railway connectivity is similar, and there are four railway junctions within the city itself. Roadways are well connected and well maintained too. Bus services from various cities within Uttar Pradesh as well as neighbouring states to Allahabad are managed by the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC).
Allahabad, being located in the plains, suffers from severe heat waves during the summer months. Months of moderate temperatures are October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
1. Triveni Sangam
Triveni Sangam means confluence of three rivers. The Sangam at Allahabad is the most significant one as it is the confluence of the three greatest rivers in India, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. As such, a lot of important mythical events from the scriptures are said to have taken place here. A dip in these waters is said to absolve devotees of any sin they might have committed. Boat rides are available across the river, from where one can view the banks, which are lit up in the evening with prayers. There are also species of migratory birds that can be witnessed here.
2. All Saints Cathedral
Built in the 19th century in the Gothic architectural style, this Church is a remarkable example of Colonial structures in India. It was designed by Sir William Emerson, who was famous for designing the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. At 240 feet tall and 56 feet wide, this Church has been made with some beautiful glass and marble work which is still intact today. It is also a memorial to British nationals who have lost their lives in India, with artwork on the walls depicting their stories.
3. Allahabad Museum
Established in 1930, the Allahabad Museum has a fascinating collection of artwork from across various genres. Today, the museum has been modified to include modern amenities as well. The collection at the museum includes ancient sculptures from Mathura, Rajasthani miniatures, terracottas of Kausambi, Bhumra and Jamsot, paintings from Bengal School of Art and the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich and the autobiography of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Chandra Shekhar Azad’s pistol as well as manuscripts of other prominent Hindi authors and the Gandhi Smrithi Vahan.
4. Chandra Shekhar Azad Park
This is the famous park where Chandra Shekhar Azad lost his life during his struggle against the British. Previously known as Alfred Park, this is the biggest park in Allahabad. Other than the Chandra Shekhar Memorial, it also hosts various other interesting sites such as the Allahabad Museum.
5. Khusro Bagh
Allahabad hosts the tombs of Emperor Jahangir or Shah Jahan’s first wife, Shah Begum and her son and daughter, in the form of a great walled garden. Built in the 17th century, this great sandstone structure, with its domes and various floors is an example of the beauty of Mughal architecture and art. This garden had also been a site of the Revolt of 1857, where revolutionaries took shelter and decided their plan of action.
6. Allahabad Fort
Allahabad has been named after this Fort, originally known as Illahabas Fort (blessed by God). Built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar himself on the banks of the Sangam, this fort was meant as a resting place for the pilgrims to the Sangam. This large Fort hosts various legends and tales and historic monuments. It was also captured and used by the East India Company.
7. Ashoka Pillar
Ashoka, after his famous conversion to Buddhism, had spent much of his time and energy in trying to spread the word of Buddha. As such he built many columns, covered with wise inscriptions. These inscriptions have given us great and very accurate insight into those times. Added onto the inscriptions of Ashoka are those of the Gupta emperor Samudragupta as well as the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
Allahabad is a busy city that is growing at an exponential rate. However, it is still a deeply religious and rooted city. One must visit this city and enjoy the spiritual liberation that it has to offer.