Allahabad is divided in
two distinct halves by the railway station with the orderly grid
patterned Civil Lines and adjoining districts forming the central and
northern parts. The old city spreads along the eastern banks of the
River Yamuna. Lying 7 kms from the centre is the holiest spot in
Allahabad, the Sangam
(confluence). Here the muddy brown Ganga meets the blue Yamuna and the
mystical Saraswati, with a broad flood plain forming a sandy patch in
Devotees come for ritual
bathing in the holy waters at the Sangam and priests or pandas perform
special rites of worship to help them in their quest for salvation. The
road to the Sangam is lined with stalls selling various religious
paraphernalia, including flowers, vermilion powder, coconuts and other
also come to these shores to perform the last rites of their relatives.
Boats can be hired at the main ghat (river
landing used for bathing) east of the fort and the official rate is Rs.
12 per head or Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 for a boat. The rate invariably goes
up during peak season, especially during the fairs at the Sangam.
To the south of the Sangam along the Yamuna lies the Saraswati
Ghat and closeby on the banks of the Yamuna is the new Mankameshwar
Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Allahabad Fort, commissioned by Emperor
Akbar in 1583, stands sentinel on the eastern bank of the Yamuna. The
fort is occupied by the Indian army and therefore much of its lies out
of bounds to the public. There are three gateways into the fort, which
is surrounded by a 7-metre wall. You get the full impact of this
impressive structure from boats on the river.
The areas open to the public are the Patalpuri temple, an underground
temple believed to have been visited by Rama, the hero of Ramayana and
an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Akshaya Vat, a venerable old banyan
tree, supposedly indestructible, sits in a protected space within the
temple. Mentioned by the 7th century Chinese traveller Hiuen
Tsang, this tree is considered sacred and devotees would jump from it to
gain moksha (salvation). The Saraswati Kup or Well of Saraswati
is believed to be the source of the elusive river Saraswati lies inside
the Fort. Close to the fort's main entrance is the polished sandstone
Ashoka Pillar, 10.6 metres high and dating from 242 BC. The pillar was
brought from the Buddhist site of Kausambi by Emperor Akbar and has the
edicts of Emperor Ashoka inscribed on it. It also carries an inscription
in Persian declaring Jahangir’s accession to the Mughal throne. To visit
the Fort, you will need to get permission from the Commandant at the
Ordnance Depot inside.
To the right of the fort is the Hanuman Temple,
dedicated to the Monkey God. Painted a bright vermilion red, the colour
associated with Hanuman, the temple houses a reclining image of the god.
During the monsoons when the Ganga floods its banks, the temple gets
submerged. A towering 130-feet structure called the Shankar Viman
Mandapam houses images of important Hindu saints and divinities. The
site of the ancient Bhardwaj Ashram,
said to have been visited by Lord Rama on his way to the forest now lies
in the centre of the city. The ashram once housed nearly 10,000 students
who studied under the tutelage of Sage Bhardwaj. To the west of the
riverfront is the Minto Park, laid out by Lord Minto in 1910. A memorial
in the park commemorates the proclamation of the assumption of rule by
the British crown, announced by Lord Canning in 1858.
The simple sandstone
tomb completed in 1622 lies next to that of Khusrau’s mother’s
double-storeyed burial chamber. Beyond is another tomb believed to
contain the remains of Khusrau’s sister.
The colonial area laid out in grid pattern during the
mid-19th century holds remnants of the Raj era. They include
the Uttar Pradesh High Court,
the All Saints Cathedral and
Allahabad University. The 19th
century All Saints’ Cathedral popularly known as Patthar Girjaghar
(stone church) is a towering Gothic structure that still holds prayers
and Sunday Mass. Designed by Sir William Emerson, the architect of the
Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, the outstanding feature of this church is
its vivid stained glass windows. The white marble exteriors are faced in
red stone and the altar displays fine marble inlay work. The St.
Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cathedral built in 1879 is to the northwest.
Alfred Park or Company Bagh is now known as Chandra Shekhar Azad Park. A
memorial tower stands within the park. The Public Library of Allahabad
was shifted to its new location within the Park in 1879. The library has
a collection of some 75,000 books besides historical manuscripts and
On the edge of the Chandra Shekhar Azad Park sits the
Allahabad Museum. The grounds of the museum have a display of ancient
sculptures, while the interior houses a collection of ancient
terracottas and stone sculptures. A remarkable image amongst the
exhibits is a 12th century Shiva-Parvati from Khajuraho. The
museum also exhibits ancient coins, traditional Rajasthani miniature
paintings and works of some modern artists including Jamini Roy and
Nicholas Roerich. The other sections of the museum include a portion
devoted to natural history where stuffed birds and animals are in
residence and a gallery on the independence movement with a good
collection of photographs and historical documents.
North of the Museum is
the 19th century Allahabad University
with its Indo-Saracenic buildings. Among the most prominent colonial
buildings within the campus is the Muir College, now housing the Science
Faculty, built in 1874 by Sir William Emerson. A quadrangle within has
tall ornate arches and a 61-metre tower crested with domes. The tower
was built in ochre stone brought from Mirzapur, while the floors are
made of marble and mosaic.
The domes are covered
with blue and white glazed tiles from the town of Multan, now in
Pakistan. The Mayo Memorial Hall, built in 1879, had a 180 feet tower.
Decorated by Professor Gamble of the South Kensington Museum in London,
the hall commemorated Lord Mayo and was built to host public meetings,
receptions and balls.
kilometre from the Museum is the sprawling Anand Bhawan, an elaborate
Victorian building set amid well laid out lawns. Home of Pandit Motilal
Nehru and his son Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, this house has now been
turned into a museum. Memorabilia of the Nehru family are displayed
here. The old section of the Anand Bhawan called Swaraj Bhawan was
donated to the nation in 1930 by Pandit Motilal Nehru. Swaraj Bhawan was
used as headquarters of the Congress Party. Indira Gandhi, the daughter
of Jawaharlal Nehru and later Prime Minister of India was born here. .
Within the grounds of Anand Bhawan is the
Jawahar Planetarium. Running
four shows in Hindi in a day, the planetarium is of special interest
Tourist Attractions Allahabad
The Sangam is the meeting
point of three holy rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. At the
Sangam, a few drops of nector is believed to have fallen… making the
waters truly magical. The place comes alive, during the Kumbh Mela and
the Ardh Kumbh, attracting millions of devotees from all across the
country. The Sangam is the site for important fares and festivals, the
The lofty Allahabad Fort,
built by Emperor Akbar Stands close to the Sangam. It can be best
appreciated from boats on the river. Much of the fort remains in
military occupation, public access is restricted to the corner around
the Patalpuri temple and the 'Akshayavata' or the undying tree. At the
main gate of the fort, stands the restored polished stone Ashokan
Pillar dating back to 232 B.C. The 10.6 metre high pillar has several
edicts recorded on it along with the Persian incription by Emperor
Jahangir, at the occasion of his accession to the throne. Permission
is required from Administrative Officer, Ordnance Depot, Fort, for
entering into the area where 'Akshayavat' is situated.
The underground temple,
inside the fort, with the Akshayavat or immortal tree is said to have
been visited by Lord Rama.
The Hanuman temple also near
the Sangam, houses the largest unique reclining image of Lord Hanuman.
It is believed that the river rises during the annual floods to touch
the feet of the image before receding back.
This is a 130 ft. high
structure with four floors, and idols of Kumaril Bhatt, Jagat Guru
Shankaracharya, Kamakshi Devi, Tirupati Balaji (with 108 Vishnus),
Yogshastra sahastrayoga Linga (having 108 Shivas) adorn the interior.
Khusru Bagh is a walled
garden where remains of Prince Khusro, the eldest son of Jahangir, lie
buried in a simple sandstone mausoleum. His mothe Shah Begum is buried
next to him.
Several history making
events of the freedom struggle took place here. Today, this ancestral
home of the Nehru Family, houses a Museum displaying the memorabilia
of the family. Visiting time 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and
This is the old Anand
Bhawan, which in 1930, was donated to the Nation by Motilal Nehru. He
also renamed it Swaraj Bhawan. Open 9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2 p.m.
to 5.30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Lord Rama is said to have
visited this Ashram during his exile. It's also associated with Rishi
Beni Madhav Temple
An old Lakshmi Narain
Temple in Daraganj locality, where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is believed to
have paid his homage.