Location : Uttar Pradesh
Attractions : Kumbh Mela, Sangam Bath, Ardh Kumbh
Languages : Hindi, English
Allahabad, sacred city of Hinduism was formerly called 'Prayag'
in commemoration of a sacrifice done by Lord Brahma. It is best
known as host to the mind-boggling number of Kumbh pilgrims
who visit this endearing city every 12 years. According to Hindu
mythology for the 'Prakrishta Yagna' Lord Brahma chose a piece
of land on the earth on the confluence of the three rivers -
the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mytical Sarswati would merge
into a confluence. The land being surrounded by these 3 rivers
would serve as the prime and central altar and came to be known
as 'Prayag' today known as Allahabad.
The most sacred spot in Allahabad is Triveni Sangam, the confluence
of three of the holiest rivers of the Hindu mythology, the holy
Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Devout Hindus from
all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer
prayers and take a dip in the holy waters. It is believed that
a holy dip taken at the Sangam washes away all sins.
Lord Brahma performed the Prakrista Yajna here. That is how
it received its ancient name, Prayag. Allahabad is also called
Tirtha-Raja, king of all holy places. It is said that Lord Rama
visited Allahabad when in exile.
Allahabad is one of the oldest cities in India. It is located
135 km west of Varanasi, at the confluence of India's two most
important rivers-the Yamuna and Ganges. It is 585 km southeast
of Delhi and 160 km south of Ayodhya. The main spiritual reason
for coming here is to take bath in the Sangam, to confluence
(where rivers meet), of the Yamuna, Ganges, and the underground
Saraswati Rivers. It is one of the major pilgrimage sites in
all of India.
How to Get There
By Air : The nearest airports are Varanasi, Kanpur and Lucknow.
By Rail : The city has direct rail connections with important
cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Patna, Gwalior, Meerut, Chennai,
Mumbai, Varanasi and Guwahati.
By Road : Allahabad, on National Highway 2 and 27, is connected
to the rest of the country by good, motorable all-weather roads.
Unique Pilgrimage Attraction of Allahabad
Kumbha -mela is held here every 12 years. It also takes place
in three other holy places in India every 12 years-Haridwar,
Ujjain and Nasik. The Kumbha-mela in Prayag (Allahabad) is considered
especially auspicious. It draws about 15 million people and
is the largest attended event in the world. This is a very interesting
event. There are several especially auspicious bathing days.
A huge temporary city is created for the millions of pilgrims
that arrive for the most auspicious bathing days.
Every 6 years there is an Ardha-mela (half mela), which draws
about 7 million people. Each year there is a regular Mela during
the month of Magha, January-February, which draws one or two
million people. The next Kumbha-mela is January, 2001. One of
the most auspicious bathing days is Amavasya, the new moon day.
Kumbha-mela is like a "Yogi Convention", where yogis,
sadhus(saints), holy people, and pilgrims come from all over
India. Many sadhus come from various holy places, the most remote
forests, and mountain caves in the Himalayas. The most famous
are the Naga Babas, Siva worshipers who are completely naked.
They cover their bodies only with ash and wear their hair in
On the most auspicious bathing days there is a big parade,
and the bathing order is very strictly observed. Not only are
there especially auspicious days, but there are especially auspicious
times of the day to bathe, and people are willing to die to
bathe at the most auspicious time. The first to enter the water
are the Naga Babas, who arrive dancing with enthusiasm. Then
each different religious group enters the water in a prearranged
Top Pilgrimage Attractions
The holiest of all the rivers, Ganga or the Ganges is a perennial
river, which is held in high regard by the Hindus. The Ganga
River has an exalted position in the Hindu ethos. The Gangotri
Glacier, a vast expanse of ice five miles by fifteen, at the
foothills of the Himalayas (14000 ft) in north Uttar Pradesh
is the source of Bhagirathi, which joins with Alaknanda (origins
nearby), to form Ganga at the craggy, canyon-carved town of
This is where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. This place
is considered to be the most important holy bathing place in
India. The muddy-colored Ganges in shallower and more rapid.
The Yamuna is bluer and deeper. The most auspicious time to
bathe in the Sangam is during Kumbha -mela. It is also especially
auspicious to bathe here during the month Magh (January-February).
Hanuman is in a reclining posture, a few feet below the ground,
instead of his usual standing posture. It is said that every
year the Ganges floods until it touches the sleeping Hanuman's
feet and then it starts receding. This temple is located by
the Sangam side of the Fort and is busy small temple open to
non-Hindus. There are nice carvings on the nearby Sri Adhi Shankara
Temple, which has a Sri Tirupati Balaji Deity.
Patalpuri Temple (Undying Tree)
It is located through a small doorway, in the wall of the fort,
on the way to the boats that go to the Sangam. It is an underground
temple with many different deities carved in stone. The Akshayavata
Tree is said to never die, even when the entire world is destroyed.
It is located in the underground temple. The tree is on a deep
niche, above an underground hole that is said to lead to the
This ashram is mentioned in the Ramayana. Allahabad University
now occupies the place where the ashram of Bharadwaja Rishi
and his 10,000 disciples is said to have been located. There
are the temples of Bharadwajeswara Mahadeva, Rishi Bharadwaja,
and Kali here. It is said that Lord Rama and Sita visited this
place when they began their 14-year exile.
Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math
There is a Gaudiya Math temple, the Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math,
on South Mallaca Street, in the Madhavapur area. This temple
is by the Ganges River on the way to the Sangam from downtown.
Srila Prabhupada took initiation here from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
At Ramchaura-Shringverpur(40 km.), on the bank of the Ganges,
there is a platform called Ram Chabutara, which marks the spot
where Lord Rama is supposed to have stayed before going to the
forest in exile. It is said that before Lord Rama corssed the
Ganges here, the boatman washed His feet. There are also temples
dedicated to Panchmukhi (five-faced) Hanuman and Shring Rishi.
Lakshagriha (45km) is said to be the place where the house of
lac of the Pandavas was located. A big mound marks this spot.
Kumbh Mela - Held every 12 years.
Ardh Kumbh Mela - Held every six years.
Dussehra -Dussehra time in Allahabad is an experience, unrivalled
by any other in the rest of northern India. During this period,
in the evening and at night, beautifully decorated tableau are
taken out from different localities, depicting various scenes
from Indian mythology.