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Allahabad is one of the largest cities of the State of Uttar Pradesh in India.
The ancient name of the city in was Prayaga ("place of sacrifice" and "Confluence") and is considered to be the place where Brahma offered his sacrifice after creating the world.
It is one of the sites for the grand Kumbh Mela. Allahabad is of religious importance to the Hindus as it is situated at the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna, and the Hindu belief says that the invisible Sarasvati River also joins here.
The summer season is from April to June with the maximum temperatures ranging between 40°C to 45°C. Monsoon begins in early July and lasts till September. The winter season lasts for the months of December, January and February in which temperatures drop to zero degrees Celsius with a maximum of 12 to 14 °C. Allahabad also witnesses severe fog in January resulting in massive traffic jams. It does not snow in Allahabad.
Lowest temperature recorded -2 °C; highest, 48 °C.
Around 7 km from Civil Lines, overlooked by the eastern ramparts of the fort, wide flood plains and muddy banks protrude towards the sacred Sangam. At the point at which the brown Ganges meets the Greenish Yamuna, pandas (priests) perch on small platforms to perform puja and assist the devout in their ritual ablutions in the shallow waters. Beaches and ghats are littered with the shorn hair of pilgrims who come to offer pind for their deceased parents.
The sacred Sangam is the confluence of three of the holiest rivers in the Hindu mythology – Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. At the Sangam, the waters of the Ganges and the Yamuna can be distinctly seen merging into one. It is during the Kumbh / Ardh Kumbh that the Sangam truly comes alive, attracting the devout from all across the country.
The holy Sangam is the site for Annual Magha Mela/Ardh Kumbh/Kumbh Mela. Boats are available for visitors.
Hindus traditionally regard river confluences as auspicious places, so the Sangam at Allahabad, where the Yamuna and the Ganges meet the River of Enlightenment, the mythical Saraswati is considered at the most auspicious place for the Hindus. According to a legend, Vishnu was carrying a kumbh (pot) of amrita (nectar), when a scuffle broke out between the gods, and four drops were spilled. They fell to earth at the four tirthas of Prayag, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain (tirtha means "ford of a river".
Sangam is a place where the devout can cross from this finite world into divine celestial realms. The event is commemorated every three years by the Kumbh Mela, held at each tirtha in turn; the Sangam is known as Tirtharaja, the "King of Tirthas", and its Mela, once every twelve years, is the greatest and holiest of all.
Patalpuri is an underground temple, inside the Allahabad fort. In this temple lies the Akshaya Vat – or the immortal tree. It is believed that Lord Rama, has visited the temple and the temple was also seen by the famous Chinese traveller and writer Hiuen Tsang during his visit to this place.
The immortal tree within the Patalauri temple, has found mention in the description of several ancient scriptures, writers and historians. The tree stands in a deep niche above an underground shaft, which is said to lead to Triveni.
The Hanuman Mandir near Sangam is unique in North India, for its supine image of Hanumana. The big idol of Lord Hanumana is in a reclining posture.
When the Ganga is in spate, this temple gets submerged.
Shankar Viman Mandapam
Shankar Viman Mandapam is 130 feet high with four floors, it has the idols of Kumaril Bhatt, Jagatguru Shankaracharya, Kamakshi Devi (with 51 Shaktipeethas around), Yogsahastra Sahastrayoga Linga (with 108 Shivas around).
Mankameshwar temple is situated near Saraswati Ghat, on the banks of Yamuna, this is one of the famous Shiva Temples of Allahabad.
The massive fort built by Emperor Akbar in 1583 A.D., the fort stands on the banks of the Yamuna near the confluence site. In its prime, the fort was unrivalled for its design, construction and craftsmanship. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. At present is used by the army and only a limited area is open for visitors. The magnificent outer wall is intact and rises above the water edge. Visitors are allowed to see the Ashokan Pillar and Saraswati Kup, a well, said to be the source of the Saraswati River and Jodhabai Palace. The Patalpur temple is also here. So is the much revered Akshaya Vat or immortal Banyan tree.
This gigantic Ashoka pillar, of polished sandstone stands 10.6 meters high and dates back to 232 B.C. The pillar has several edicts and a Persian inscription of Emperor Jahangir in scripted on it, commemorating his accession to the throne.
Parks and Gardens
Minto Park is situated near Saraswati Ghat, it has a stone memorial with a four-lion symbol on top, the foundation of which was laid by Lord Minto in 1910.
How to reach
By Air : There is no air link to Allahbad. Nearest Airports are Varanasi (147 km) and Lucknow (210 km).
By Rail : Allahabad is well connected by trains with all major cities, viz. Calcutta, Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai. Some of the important trains providing access to Allahabad are :
- 2311/2312 Kalka Mail (Kalka/Delhi-Calcutta)
- 2381/2382 & 2303/2304 Air Conditioned Express (Amritsar-Delhi-Calcutta)