Allahabad is a many-faceted, cultured, admirable jewel of India. Its historical, religious, spiritual, cultural as well as political influence is immense in India.
Allahabad is among the top tourist’s places in India due to its major attractions of ‘Triveni Sangam’ and ‘Kumbha Mela’. Moreover, it is full of exquisite antique tombs.
Allahabad: Many-faceted, cultured, admirable jewel of India.
It is a very popular city in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Its official name is now Prayagraj. It is also famous as Illahabad(‘Garden of Allah’) and Prayag. At first, it is the administrative headquarters of Allahabad district. It is the most populous district in the state. Besides, it is the 13th most populous district in India.
It is also the judicial capital of Uttar Pradesh with Allahabad High Court. As per 2011 census, it is not only the fifth most populous city in U.P. but also eighth in Northern India and twenty-four in India.
Festivals in Allahabad:
The following festivals are very popular here.
This is another very auspicious time to visit this holy and colourful city. ‘Ramleela’ is organized in every nook and corner of the city. Every class of people takes part with zeal along with enthusiasm. You can especially enjoy Pattharchatti as well as Pajawa. From 4-6 days of ‘Navaratri’, the renowned ‘Kali Dance’ is celebrated at Daraganj. People gather here in mass and enjoy it to the fullest.
At the same time ‘Durga Puja’ is also celebrated. Must see the pandals of Darbhanga colony and Jagat Taran Collage, in Allahabad.
To begin with, it is a prime pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism. It is held only in four pilgrimage sites in India. These holy river-bank sites are:
- Allahabad: Confluence of rivers the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati). Generally, it is held in the month of January and February.
- Haridwar: The famous pious river Ganges. (It happens around March-April).
- Nashik: The holy river Godavari. (August-September).
- Ujjain: River Shipra. (April-May).
As per Hindu astrology, this famous event occurs depending on the positions of Sun, Moon along with the Jupiter and the venues. Most importantly, this fair takes place rotationally in every three years among the above mentioned four places. Thus it occurs once in every twelve years as ‘Purna Kumbha’.
Furthermore, this festival is celebrated after 6years as ‘Ardha Kumbha’ only in Allahabad and Haridwar.
The last ‘Purna Kumbha’ was celebrated in 2013 and the next one will be held in 2025 whereas the ‘Ardha Kumbha’ was celebrated in 2019. As a matter of fact, 2013 was ‘Maha Kumbha’ which is held after every 144years.
On the very day of ‘Mauni Amavasya’ in 2013, 3 crore people recorded to attend Allahabad. So it is highly regarded as “World’s most massive act of faith”.
UNESCO added it in their Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the year 2017.
However, in other years, a miniature of this is held and it is famous as ‘Magha Mela’ or ‘Makar Mela’.
People gather in Allahabad in crores at these times not only from India but also from the whole world. People include all types of Hindu saints and monks along with the pilgrims. Pilgrims include both the rich and the poor of society. There may be celebrities also from different field of activities.
Generally, the pilgrims turn out in significant majority in three stipulated dates. But the ‘mela’ runs from 1-3 months. Although, this festival is celebrated in many places in India.
Actually, it is a ritual dip in the confluence. It is a general believe that bathing here is a ‘prayaschitta’ (penance or atonement) for past mistakes. The pilgrims strongly believe that a dip at this time will help to cleanse all the previous sins that they committed in their lives. As a result, they will go to the so-called ‘Swarga’(heaven) instead of ‘Nark’(hell). Therefore, they gather here in Allahabad in crores.
This year (2020) some holy bathing dates were:
- January 06: Paush Ekadashi Snan.
- January 10: Paush Purnima.
- (1st Shahi Snan)January 15: Makar Sankranti.
- January 24: Mouni Amavasya. (2nd Shahi Snan, the Main Royal Bath).
- January 30: Vasanta Panchami. (3rd Shahi Snan).
- February 09: Maghi Purnima.
- February 21: Mahashivratri.
The local government makes various special arrangements, like transport, medical, security etc for assisting the visiting pilgrims. There are a lot of makeshift houses or tents where the pilgrims stay apart from the hotels.
During the fair, the local temples in Allahabad are nicely decorated and fully lit up to honour the celebration. Apart from the holy bath, there goes religious discussions, devotional singing. Moreover, there are mass feeding of both the poor and the holy men.
However, one can find several spiritual and traditional features of the various sects of Hinduism. Here we will meet some sadhus and saints whom you can see only at this time. You can see
- Naga Sadhus: wear no clothes, remain smeared in ash.
- Kalpawasis: bathe three times daily.
- Urdhwavahurs: non-indulgent or abstaining in physical pleasure.
- Shirshasins: standing for all the 24 hours and meditating.
- Parivajakas: always silence, because of their vow.
They transform the area into a truly spiritual realm. Observing so many spiritual diversity, their ‘Darshan’ is an indispensable ritual of here.
Places to visit in Allahabad:
The following places are the main attractions to visit this holy and cultured town. All these places are in and around the Sangam area.
It is not only the topmost holy place in Allahabad, but also regarded as one of the holiest places in India. Even it is very famous amongst foreigners. To begin with, it is the confluence of three highly holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, as per Indian mythology. Therefore, this place holds remarkable religious importance.
This is a very holy place according to Hindu mythology. Here world famous Full Kumbha is held in every 12 years. According to Hindu mythology, they believe that a bath in this holy confluence will flush away all the sins of life. Added to this, one will be free from rebirth.
However, the scenic beauty of this place is marvellous. The brownish Ganga and the greenish Yamuna are flowing side by side and meet at the holy point(confluence) is striking. Additionally, thousands of migratory birds (particularly in winter season), with their colours, chirps and activities add to the charm of this place. Furthermore, one can see the fascinating Yamuna bridge and magnificent Akbar’s fort from here.
All these make this place the most attractive place in Allahabad.
Besides gentle breeze is blowing. A boat ride in this alluring and spiritual atmosphere will simply manifold the joy. It will be such an amusing and memorable experience that we will find it nowhere in India.
Furthermore, the local Government has arranged a makeshift wooden bank at the confluence point. Hence, the devotees can easily dip or bath in the holy Sangam. Generally, they go there by boats. For support one can catch ropes and dip. However, the water here is enough clean, particularly in the winter. Added to this the area is not very deep. Therefore, devotees can easily enjoy their holy bath at this Sangam.
2. Allahabad Fort:
Situated in the bank of the river Yamuna near the ‘Triveni Sangam’ Allahabad Fort is a splendid example of architectural majesty. It is the largest among all the Akbar’s forts.
Unfortunately, due to military camp, tourists can access only a limited area (5%)of the fort. However, tourist can access this fort only at the time of ‘Kumbha Mela’.
In front of the entrance, there is a 35 feet high ‘Ashoka Pillar’ which is made of well-polished stone. Edicts of Ashoka are also inscribed on it.
Inside it, we will see the holy ‘Undying Banyan Tree’ or ‘Akshaya Vata’. This is a legendary tree. There we will also see the Patalpuri temple. It is amongst the oldest temples in India. In fact, it is an attractively carved underground temple.
The best way to explore this fort is to watch from outside while enjoying the boating in the morning or evening.
3. Ashoka Pillar:
It is another tourist attraction just outside the Akbar’s fort in ‘Triveni Sangam’. If you notice closely, then you will find 232 BC Brahmi inscription of king Ashoka. The renowned Gupta emperor Samudragupta attributed another inscription in Gupta script around 375 CE.
4. Hanuman Mandir:
It is another must-visit place of Allahabad. Located in the ‘Triveni Sangam’ area beside Akbar’s fort, this temple is not only magnificent but also unique. Here, you can see 20feet long and 8 feet wide a huge idol of Lord Hanuman in a fully reclined or lying down position. This is also popular as ‘Bade Hanuman Ji’. There is a geographical quirk regarding this holy temple. When the holy river the Ganges is in full flow, this temple gets submerged. Mythological believe behind it is that the pious river wants to touch the holy feet of Hanumanji.
This unique temple remains very busy on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
5. Company Bagh (Alfred Park or Chandrashekhar Azad Park):
Time: 5.00 AM-11.00 PM.
Entry Fee: INR 5.
This beautiful garden is the largest park in Allahabad. It covers over 133 acres. There are innumerous shady trees as well as the blooming shrubs in this garden. The visitors can see a gigantic statue of George V and Queen Victoria in the centre of the park. During the British era, it was the venue of their official ceremonies.
It gained importance as the famous freedom fighter Chandrasekhar Azad shoot himself here during a revolutionary encounter. We will find a colossal statue of him at his shooting spot to commemorate him.
One of the beautiful things about this park is its walking pavements for the pedestrians. If you walk barefooted on the pavement, then you can feel its speciality. Of late, elderly people use this for morning and evening walks.
The Kamala Nehru Museum is also inside the park.
6. Ananda Bhavan:
Close: Monday and all public holidays.
Entry fee: INR 10 for Museum.
INR 20 for Planetarium show.
It is another must-visit place in Allahabad.
It is the historical home of the Nehru family. In fact, it is the ancestral home of our first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Moreover, Motilal Nehru and Indira Gandhi resided here. Mahatma Gandhi also stayed here. This two-storied mansion showcases imported timber furniture from Europe and China.
Now it is used as a splendid museum where we can see various memorabilia belonging to the Nehru family. Added to this, we can see brief paintings and photos of several situations of their colourful lives.
There is also the Nehru planetarium inside the Ananda Bhawan. The main purpose was to inculcate local school kid’s interest in science. There are lush green gardens surrounding it. It is also popular as Allahabad Planetarium.
Motilal Nehru donated his original house, the old Ananda Bhawan to Indian National Congress which is famous as Swaraj Bhawan. It was once the headquarters of the Congress Committee. It is also situated within the same premise. Now it also serves as a museum. However, common visitors can enter only a section of this historical mansion.
7. Khusro Bagh:
Open All the 7 days of the week.
The time needed: roughly 1 hour.
It is another famous tourist attraction in Allahabad. This walled garden, spreading over 40 acres, is a Quadrangle in shape. King Jahangir built this beautiful garden for his son Khusro. Actually, this is the burial ground of Khusro. We can see three fascinating mausoleums of the prince as well as that of his mother Shah Begum and his sister Nesa Begum.
In fact, these are some exquisite species of the Mughal architecture. They are intricately nicely decorated with fascinating stone carvings and motifs.
8. All Saints Cathedral:
Time: 8.30 AM- 5.30 PM.
Entry fee: Nil.
It is also popular as ‘Patthar Girija’. This is the most famous cathedral in this city. The citizens also revere this massive church as a very sacred place. The total area is around 1250 square meter. It was constructed in Gothic style in the 19th century. It is extraordinary because of its intricate works along with its designs on the marble altar.
9. Allahabad Museum:
Timings: 10.30 AM-4.45 PM.
Closed on Monday.
The time needed: around 1-2 hours.
Entry Fee: Indians INR5, Foreigners INR100.
At first, it is situated inside the famous Chandrasekhar Azad Park. The visitors can glimpse into the culture, heritage, history as well as Indian independence movement. This is a fascinating museum situated amidst the lush greenery of the park.
It is popular not only for its rock sculptors but also for its literary and artwork from Bengal. Added to this is terracotta works from Kaushambi and miniature paintings from Rajasthan.
Here we can see great artefacts of the history, literature, art, architecture, archaeology and environment. Starting from the Harappan civilization, the medieval period, the carvings of the Gupta dynasty and Khajuraho till the independence struggle.
10. Allahabad Planetarium:
It was set up in 1979 beside Ananda Bhawan. It is also famous as Jawahar Museum.
11. Alopi Devi Mandir:
It is also close to the holy Sangam. Indeed, it is an unusual temple because there is no presiding deity. It is believed to be one of the 52 Sakti piths of Mata Sati. So it is revered as a very holy place by the Hindus.
12. Lalita Devi Temple:
It is one of the two Shaktipeeths in Allahabad. It is also a very sacred place.
If you have time, then you can see the Allahabad University, the High court, the Yamuna Bridge, Mankameshwar temple, Minto Park, Fun Gaon Water Park, Nandan Kanan Water Retreat.
Moreover, there are several shopping malls along with restaurants.
Best time to visit:
One can visit Allahabad at any time of the year. But, the best time is between October to March. From April it is very hot. July-September is the rainy season.
Generally, tourist prefer ‘Makar Mela’ or ‘Magh Mela’ or the famous ‘Kumbha Mela’
How to reach there:
If anyone is coming from outside India, then the best way is to reach Delhi by a direct flight.
Next, take another flight or a train from Delhi to Allahabad. The road distance is 692km and it will take around 12 hours. Although you will need only 1hour and 20 minutes by air.
It is basically a military base. Although there is a small civil enclave. As the baggage are hand-delivered, so it will take time. But Varanasi and Lucknow are easier to go. It is because you will get better services.
Allahabad Junction: It is well connected by trains from almost all over India. This is the main station of Allahabad. Almost all the trains for here use it.
Some other stations are:
Allahabad city station: Generally, city-bound trains terminate here.
Prayag Ghat: Next to Daraganj station. It mainly comes in use at the time of religious festivals to control the pilgrim pressure.
Prayag station: It is near the university in the north of the city.
Daraganj Station: it is near the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna. So it is useful if you want to reach the holy ‘Sangam’.
Allahabad is very well connected by road with every part of the country. A few national highways like NH 19, NH35, NH 30, NH 130 are connecting it with all major cities of India.
Kolkata: The distance is 792 km and requires 17 hours by car.
Ghatshila: It is approximately 680 km and will take 15 hours.
Visakhapatnam: It is 1162 km and needs 26 hours.
Murshidabad: It is 756 km and will take 17 hours and 34 minutes.
Mumbai: It is 1390 km from Mumbai and requires 26 hours.
Nearest places to visit from Allahabad:
Nainital: It is 589 km away. It will take 13 hours and 12 minutes.
Lucknow: It is 221 km. It needs only 4hours and 22 minutes.
Mussoorie: It is 972 km and requires approximately 16 hours.
Varanasi: It is only 121 km and needs 2 hours and 43 minutes.
Manali: It is 1223 km and will take around 23 hours.
Chitrakoot: It is around 134km and needs 3hours.
Munsyari: It is 786km and requires around 20 hours. Also, see Chaukori nearby.
For staying in Allahabad at night:
There are a lot of hotels at various prices. Some of them are as follows:
Budget Hotels in Allahabad:
- Hotel Raj.
- Prayag Hotel.
- Hotel Amit Palace.
- Luxmi Hotel.
- City Hotel.
- Hotel Swagtam.
- Hotel Shree.
- Vineet Hotel.
- Hotel Atul.
- Golden Palace Hotel.
- Hotel Limra.
- Hotel Neelkanth.
- Amber Lodge.
- Hotel Ashoka.
Hotels near Triveni Sangam:
- Hotels Placid.
- Utkarsh Villa.
- Hotel Naveen Continental.
- OYO 1540 Hotel Tulip inn.
- Hotel Relax Inn.
- Ankur Guest House.
- Hotel Mandiram.
- Ranjan Villa.
- Hotel Neelkanth.
- Hotel Galaxy.
- OYO 27941 Sangam Darshan.
- Sangam Villa.
- OYO 30569 Hotel Anjali.
- OYO 18363 New Shanti Hotel.
Hotels near Allahabad City Railway Station:
- City Hotel.
- Hotel Raj.
- Luxmi Hotel.
- Hotel Kanha Shyam.
- Hotel Yatrik.
- Milan Palace Hotel.
- OYO 905 Galaxy View Hotel.
- OYO 8771 Hotel Allahabad Regency.
Generally, people visit Allahabad due to its immense religious importance. If you have time, then come here and enjoy the holy bath in Triveni Sangam. This will surely better our level of happiness.
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