Allahabad or Prayag is also called the “Tirth Raj”, the king of all pilgrimage centers. There are many references to Prayag or Allahabad in Indian epics, Vedas and Puranas. Allahabad stands at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna (two of India’s holiest rivers) and Saraswati River (a mythical river which is not visible). The place where river Ganga and river Yamuna meet is called Sangam (union). Sangam is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals, and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. The most important event at Prayag is the Kumbha Mela. Millions of people from all over India and the world gather at Prayag to take a holy dip at Sangam.
Though Prayag has been in existence for ages, the name Allahabad was given by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar. Realizing the strategic position of Allahabad, emperor Akbar built a magnificent fort on the banks of the holy Sangam. During the British period too, Allahabad remained an important center, which is reflected in the remnants of the colonial architecture. Allahabad has remained on the National forefront all the times, more importantly, during the Indian independence struggle. Allahabad, with its religious, cultural and historical traditions, has produced several renowned scholars, poets, writers, thinkers, statesmen and freedom fighters.
Its sanctity is manifest by references to it in Purans, the Ramayan and the Mahabharata. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Brahma, the creator God of the Trinity, chose a land on earth(ie Prayag) to perform ‘Prakrista Yag’, at the beginning of the creation and he also refereed to it as Tirth raj or the King of all pilgrimage centres’ As per writing of ‘Padam Puran’ – “As the sun is amongst the moon and the moon amongst the stars, likewise ‘Prayag is best amongst all places of pilgrimage” The bathing at Prayag is mentioned in Brahma Puran s “ in the month of Magha at the bank of Ganga Yamuna in Prayag bestows results of millions and millions of Ashvmedha Yajna
Prayag is birth place of Som, Varuna and Prjapati. Prayag has been associated with mythological personalities in Brahmanical(Vedic) and Buddhist Literatures. It was the seat of the great sage Bhardwaj, sage Durvasa and Sage Pannas sage Bhardwaj lived here circa 5000BC and taught more than 10000 disciples. He was the greatest philosopher of ancient world.
The Present Jhunsi area very close to sangam was the kingdom of Chandrabanshiya ( lunar clan ) king Pururava. Nearby Kaushambi bloomed to prosperity during Vatsa and Maurya Rule. The earliest monument of antiques Ashok Pillar with inscriptions of third century B.C. clears the inscriptions of his directions to his fellow Rajas and praise of King Samudragupta. The Chinese traveler Huan Tsang in 643 BC found Prayag inhabited by many Hindus who regarded the place very Holy.
1575 AD Emperor Akbar founded the city in by the name of “ ILLAHABAS” which has now become ALLAHABAD meant “ The City of Allaha” impressed with the strategic importance of the SANGAM. In medieval India the city enjoyed the honour of being the religio-cultural center of India. For a long time it was Provincial capital of the Mughals. Later it was captured by Marathas
1801 AD British History of the city begun in this year when the Nawab of Oudh ceded it to the British Throne. British army used the fort for their military purposes.
1857 AD The town was the centre of war of Independence and later became the crucible of Indian Freedom Movement against British.
1858 AD The East India Company officially handed over India to British Government here at Minto Park After the first war of independence the town was named “ALLAHABAD” and was made the capital of United Province of Agra and Oudh.
1868 AD it become a seat of Justice wjen Allah bad High Court was established .
1871 AD British architect Sir William Emerson erected a majestic monument All Saint Cathedral thirty years before he designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata .
1887 AD Allahabad become the fourth oldest University. Allahabad has been rich in numerous Victorian and Georgian buildings made in synthesis with Indian architectural traditions.
This city was the heart of the Indian Freedom Movement against the British rule with Anand Bhawan being the epicentre, It was in Allahabad the Mahatama Gandhi proposed his program of non-violent resistance to liberate India. Allahabad has provided the largest number of prime ministers of Post independence India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P.Singh. Former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar was student of Allahabad university.
Allahabad is basically an Administrative and Educational city. High Court of Uttar Pradesh, Auditor General of Uttar Pradesh, Principal Controller of Defence Accounts ( Pension ) PCDA, Uttar Pradesh Madhymik Shiksha Prishad ( UP BOARD ) office, Police HeadQtrs and in education Moti Lal Nehru Regional Engg. College MNREC, Medical and Agriculture College , Indian Institute of Information Technology ( IIIT ) ITI Naini and IIFCO Phulpur , Triveni Glass are some of major industries here.
From the days of civilization Allahabad has been seat of learning, wisdom and writing. It is the most vibrant politically spiritually conscious and spiritually awakened city of India.
Place To Visit
Sangam is the place where River Ganga and Yamuna merge with the mythological river, Saraswati. Sangam is around 7 km from the heart of Allahabad. The eastern ramparts of the Allahabad fort overlook Sangam. The holy Sangam is the site for Annual Magha Mela/Ardh Kumbh/Kumbh Mela. It is during the Kumbh/Ardh Kumbh that the Sangam truly comes alive, attracting millions of devotees from all over the country.
According to legends, Lord Vishnu was carrying a Kumbh (pot) of amrita (nectar), when a scuffle broke out between the Gods and demons, four drops spilled on Earth. The nectar drops fell at Prayag, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain (venues of Kumbha Mela). The event is commemorated every three years by the Kumbh Mela, held at each of these four places in turn; the Sangam is known as Tirtharaja, the “King of Tirthas”, and the Kumbha Mela, once every twelve years, is the greatest and holiest of all.
The Mughal emperor, Akbar, built the Allahabad fort. The fort stands on the banks of the Yamuna near the confluence site. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. Presently, the army uses the Allahabad fort and only a limited area is open to visitors. The magnificent outer wall is intact and rises above the water’ edge. The main attractions at the fort are the Ashokan Pillar, Patalpuri temple, Akshaya Vat, Jodhabai Palace and Saraswati Kup, a well, said to be the source of the Saraswati River.
The Patalpuri temple is located inside the Allahabad fort. Within the Patalpuri temple lays the Akshaya Vat – or the immortal tree. It is believed that Lord Rama visited the Patalpuri temple. The famous Chinese pilgrim and traveler, Hiuen Tsang also visited the Patalpuri temple.
This pillar was originally erected in the 3rd century BC by the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka. The Mughal emperor, Akbar, moved the Ashoka pillar to the Allahabad Fort, in 1583. The Ashoka pillar is made of polished stone and extends 10.7 m in height with an Ashokan edict inscribed over it.
The Akshaya Vat (literally means immortal banyan tree) is located within the Patalauri temple, inside the Allahabad fort. It is mentioned in the description of several ancient scriptures, writers and historians.
Located near Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers of India – Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati, is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple houses one big idol of Lord Hanuman in a slightly reclined posture. When the water of Ganga overflows, the temple gets submerged.
Swaraj Bhawan & Anand Bhawan
Anand Bhawan is the ancestral home of the Nehru family where many decisions and events related to the freedom struggle have been known to take place. Today it is a museum which houses the memorabilia of the Nehru family. Swaraj Bhawan, on the other hand, used to be the headquarters of the Congress Committee. Both the Bhawans together served as the Parliament during the British Raj era.
Chandra Shekhar Azad Park
Also known as Alfred Park or Company Bagh, Chandra Shekhar Azad Park is dedicated to the great freedom fighter and a martyr – Chandra Shekhar Azad. Allahabad Museum, Victoria Memorial, and the Public Library (75,000 books, manuscripts, and journals) are also bordered alongside the park. History makes itself visible at every nook and corner of the park.
All Saints Cathedral
Clad in white stone with red sandstone dressings, All Saints Cathedral is the finest example of Anglican architecture in Asia. Designed by Sir William Emerson in 1870 and consecrated in 1887, it is one of the oldest churches in India and is popularly known as Patthar Girjaghar among the local people. The fantabulous inlay and mosaic work is sure to mesmerize you with its elaborate designs.
Khusro Bagh was completed in 1622 AD and houses the tombs of Khusrau Mirza (eldest son of Emperor Jahangir), his mother Shah Begum, and his sister Sultan Nithar Begum. Adorned with birds, flowers, and Persian inscriptions, it is another fine example of Mughal architecture.
Other Tourist Destinations
Mayo Memorial Hall
Water Sports at Yamuna River