Allahabad is considered as one of the holiest cities in the country. It can be best described as the Land of God. It hosts the world’s largest religious conglomeration of humans on the planet, known as the Maha Kumbh Mela, which is held once in twelve years. Located at the confluence of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, all three of these rivers are considered to have prime religious significance in Hindu scriptures. Gear up to be engulfed in this city’s divine magic. You’ll be amused by the various Hindu Sadhus you find here and see glimpses of the ancient Indian City named Prayag, you may have read about in classics. In recent times, it has been known as the City of Prime Ministers, as it has provided 7 Prime Ministers for serving the nation. Let me help you around the best things you can do when visiting Allahabad:
1. Triveni Sangam
The name Triveni Sangam is a Hindi word which means “Confluence of three rivers”. Located in Prayag (Allahabad) two physical rivers; Ganga and Yamuna, and one invisible (mythical) river; Saraswati, merge. The rivers can be easily distinguished owing to their different characteristics. Yamuna is deep, calm and greenish whereas Ganga is shallow, fierce and clear. The Saraswati has been named in ancient Hindu scriptures and is currently believed to be flowing underwater and cannot be seen. Taking a dip at this holy site is considered to wash away all sins of the present life and free oneself from the cycle of rebirth. This is also the site of the historic Kumbh Mela, which is held once every twelve years. From the banks of the river, you will need to take a ferry to reach the point of confluence, where a platform has been created to facilitate people taking a dip. During monsoons, the rivers flow at higher levels even more fiercely, making it pretty challenging to take a dip at the sangam during this time.
Address: Triveni Sangam, Prayag (Allahabad)
2. Allahabad Fort
Allahabad Fort is a museum of national importance, recognized by the Archaeological Survey of India. This fort was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583 on the banks of River Ganga. This fort is one of the largest forts built by Akbar and is an exemplary remnant of the craftsmanship, curation and design of the Mughal Reign in India. Legend has it, that there is an immortal banyan tree named Akshaya-vat inside the premises of this fort, which grants immortality to anyone who jumps from this tree’s high branches. Civilians however, are not allowed to see this tree and it is a part of the many restricted areas inside the fort. During the British Rule in India this fort was captured by the East India Company in the year 1798. They constructed a separate railway line to this fort and used this as the headquarters of their local army unit. Even now, this fort is used by the Indian army as an Ordinance Depot. Therefore, limited areas of this fort are open to the public. The fort also houses the famous 3rd-century BCE Ashoka Pillar.
Address: Allahabad Fort, Minto Park, Allahabad 211002
Opening Hours: Open from 7am to 6pm on all days
3. Khusro Bagh
Located in the heart of the city, Khusro Bagh is a large, quadrangle walled park housing three tombs from the Mughal era. These three mausoleums are of the, then Mughal Emperor, Jahangir’s family, including eldest son Khusaru Mirza, daughter Nithar Begum and wife Shah Begum. The garden is adorned with beautiful palm trees and fruit orchards containing guava and mango trees. When visiting the tombs, look around to observe the minutest details from the medieval era, elegantly etched in stone carvings for the royal family.
Address: Near Main Railway Station, Allahabad, India
Entry Charges: Free Entry
Opening Hours: Open daily from 6 am to 7 pm
4. Swaraj Bhawan & Anand Bhawan
Located next to each other, both of these houses hold great historical significance. First, Swaraj Bhawan was bought by Motilal Nehru in 1900 and it was the headquarters of Indian National Congress for the longest time. This house became the cradle of the Indian Freedom Struggle to overthrow the British rule in India and gain independence. Post-independence in 1970, this house was donated to the Government of India and has been since converted into a museum. Stepping inside the house takes you on a flashback ride to India’s toughest tryst with destiny. After Swaraj Bhawan was converted into the headquarters of Indian National Congress, Motilal Nehru constructed Anand Bhawan in the 1930s, to serve as a residence of the Nehru family. If you aren’t already aware, the Nehru family has been Independent India’s “First Family,” having given three Prime Ministers to the country to date and the sixth generation of the family still serves the Congress party. Besides a museum, the Anand Bhawan also has a planetarium named after Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Address: Anand Bhawan Museum, Near Balson Chauraha, Allahabad - Faizabad Road, Allahabad
Address: Swaraj Bhawan, Swaraj Bhawan Road, Tagore Town, Allahabad
5. Kumbh Mela
A fair which sounds like a fable, fascinates explorers globally and attracts the world’s largest religious conglomeration of humans on the planet every 12 years, the Maha Kumbh Mela was last held in 2013 and the next one has already been scheduled for 2025. For enthusiasts who want to experience the mystic energy and cannot wait until 2025, there is an Ardh Kumbh Mela (Half Kumbh Fair) organized every 6 years and is scheduled for 2019. If you still feel that is pretty far away, then there is an annual Magh Mela, which is not of the same proportions or magnitude, but upholds similar cultural belief systems for Hindus. It is spread over 45 days. So, you can expect to see Sadhus clad in saffron yellow or white dhotis. Even some Naga Sadhus! Capture different rituals being conducted. This includes the local government setting up a temporary township, complete with transport services, water supply, electricity and sanitation facilities.
Address: Triveni Sangam, Prayag, Allahabad
6. All Saints Cathedral
The All Saints Cathedral, also known as the Church of Stones, is Allahabad’s famous 13th-century Gothic style Anglican cathedral. It was built by the British during their rule in India between 1887-1891. Even after 125 years, this cathedral has been maintained as it was during the colonial era, with remarkable glass and marble work interiors and a lush green garden outside. The cathedral itself is a big structure with a length of 240 ft (73 m), width of 56 ft (17 m), and height of 103 ft (31 m), with a seating capacity of about 400 people.
All Saints Cathedral
Address: Sarojini Naidu Marg, Civil Lines, Allahabad
Believe it or not! Allahabad will allure you
I know everything about this city sounds unbelievable, right from the mythical invisible River Saraswati to the planet’s largest Maha Kumbh Mela. But, you have to see this to believe it! Visit Allahabad to transcend into a world of liberation, salvation, reincarnation and immortality. Whether it is true or not is not the question, experiencing it is tranquility.
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