Allahabad is located at 25°27'N 81°50'E25.45°N 81.84°E in the southern part of the Uttar Pradesh at an elevation of 98 meters (322 ft) and stands at the confluence of two, the Ganges and Yamuna.
Allahabad or City of God in Persian, also known as Prayag is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Allahabad is one of the fastest growing cities in India at present. It is located 238 kilometers south of state capital Lucknow. The ancient name of the city is Prayag and is believed to be the spot where Brahma offered his first sacrifice after creating the world. It is one of four sites of the mass Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela. It has a position of importance in Hindu scriptures for it is situated at Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and the ancient Saraswati River.
History of Kumbh Mela
Kumbh derives its name from the immortal Pot of Nectar, which the Demigods (Devtas) and Demons (Asuras) fought over, described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. It is these Vedic literatures that have stood the test of time, out of which the tradition has evolved into the one that the world now knows as The Kumbh Mela. Legend tells a tale from the bygone days of the universe when the demigods and the demons conjointly produced the nectar of immortality. The demigods, because cursed, were crippled of fear that eventually made them weak. The task being too sturdy for them alone, the demigods made a mutual agreement with the demons to complete it in full and share the nectar of immortality in half. It is said that the demigods and the demons assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. And it began!
For the task of churning the milk ocean, the Mandara Mountain was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the rope for churning. With the demigods at Vasuki’s tail and the demons at his head, the churning began. At first, the churning of the milk ocean produced a deadly poison which Lord Shiva drank without being affected. As Lord Shiva drank the poison, a few drops fell from his hands which were licked by scorpions, snakes, and similar other deadly creatures. Also, during the churning, the Mandara Mountain began to sink deep into the ocean, seeing which Lord Vishnu incarnated as a great tortoise and supported the mountain on His back. Finally, many hurdles and 1000 years later, Dhanwantari appeared with the Kumbh of immortal nectar in his hands. The demigods, being fearful of the demons' ill intent, forcibly seized the pot with its safety entrusted onto the four Gods - Brahaspati, Surya, Shani, and Chandra.
Demons, after learning that their part of the agreement has not been kept, went after the demigods and for 12 days and 12 nights, the chase continued. Wherever the demigods went with the pot of nectar, fierce fighting ensued. It is believed that during this chase, a few drops from the Kumbh fell at four places - Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. There is also a prevalent legend that it was actually the demons that were being chased by the demigods for 12 days and 12 nights, during which the drops of elixir of immortality fell at these four places. These four places are since believed to have acquired mystical powers. Because 12 days of Gods are equivalent to 12 years for humans; the Kumbh Mela is celebrated once every 12 years in each of the four places - banks of river Godavari in Nasik, river Kshipra in Ujjain, river Ganges in Haridwar, and at the Sangam of Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati in Allahabad, where the drops are believed to have fallen. Millions of devout, come together to partake in ritualistic bathing and ceremonies to cleanse themselves of all sins.
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In 2013 from 14th January to 25th February the Purna Kumbh Mela will be going held in Allahabad which occurs after every 12th years.
The Spectacle The Prayag (Allahabad) Kumbh Mela is the largest and holiest of all melas and is believed to be the most auspicious. On important bathing dates, lakhs of pilgrims take bath on the banks of the holy Sangam. The Purna (complete) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, which falls once every 12 years, is always held in Allahabad. Ardha Kumbh Mela is held every 6th year and the Magh Mela is the annual version of the Kumbh. The main bathing days are known as 'Shahi Snans' or 'Royal Bathing Days'. Sadhus at Allahabad Kumbhmela, 2007
The most recent Kumbh Mela was in 2001 in Allahabad and millions of pilgrims took a holy dip in Sangam on the auspicious the Mauni Amavasya on the 24th January 2001. The main bathing days for the Kumbh Mela are: Makar Sankranti, Paush Purnima, Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchmi, Maghi Poornima and Maha Shivratri
Auspicious Bathing Dates for 2013 Kumbh MelaThe highlight for most pilgrims during a Kumbhmela festival is the observance of a holy bath at the sangam. A holy bath in either of a sacred river has purifying effects, but where the three rivers meet, the purification is said to increase one hundred times. It is further believed that when one takes a sacred bathe at the sangam during the Kumbhmela the potency of the holy water increased one thousand times. For this reason Indians believes that the Kumbhmela is the most auspicious place in the universe to take a holy bath. Armed with this faith pilgrims attend the Kumbhmela and bathe in the Ganges in a mood of solemn reverence.
On the main bathing dates there will be a vivid, magnificent Procession of radiant saints on chariots and elephants at sunrise. As the saints pass by, they impart blessings of divine grace to all the people. Then the glorious saints took their dip (shahi snan) in the Holy River Ganges. This takes place according to tradition, each group proceeding to the river and then bathing in a particular sequence. After all these groups have bathed, then all other people will take their turn to march to the Ganges for their bath.
Below are listed the auspicious holy bathing dates at the Kumbh Mela.
Auspicious bathing dates for 2013 Kumbhmela, Allahabad
- 14th January 2013 Sunday Makar Sankranti
- 27th January 2013 Sunday Paush Purnima
- 06th February 2013 Wednesday Ekadashi Snan
- 10th February 2013 Sunday Mauni Amavasya Snan
- 15th February 2013 Friday Basant Panchami Snan
- 17th February 2013 Sunday Rath Saptami Snan
- 18th February 2013 Monday Bhisma Ashtami Snan
- 25th February 2013 Monday Maghi Purnima Shahi Snan
Do's and Dont's (For Tourists)
- Pilgrims are requested to use the bathing areas/ Ghats that are authorized by the Mela administration for their safety and security
- Pilgrims are requested to use the bathing places/Ghats nearest to their place of stay in Mela area or the city.
- If any unidentified or suspicious object is located, the Mela administration or the police control room should be informed about it.
- Pilgrims are requested to follow the traffic rules and regulations in the city and the Mela area
- The directions and advice given through the Central Public Address System may be followed to avoid any inconvenience.
- Garbage should be thrown only in the dustbins.
- Pilgrims and travelers are requested to be appropriately attired considering the religious and cultural sensibilities of the event. The local service providers will be happy to give advice on this issue.
- Use of plastic bags in Allahabad is prohibited by the Government and the Honorable High Court during the Kumbh Mela.
- Washing of clothes on the river banks should be avoided.
- Overcrowding of boats must be avoided.
- Pilgrims and travelers are advised not to encourage beggary.
- Use of soaps while bathing in rivers should be avoided.
- Throwing of the materials used for worship or rituals in the river should be avoided
Temples of PrayagPrayag has been known as the greatest pilgrimage since the Rig-Veda era. The basic reason is the confluence of two holiest rivers in India – the Ganga and the Yamuna. It is said one who dies at the Sangam is freed from the cycle of re-birth and attains salvation. The Mahabharat, Agnipuran, Padam Puran and Surya Puran also mention Prayag as the holiest of all pilgrimages. Vinay Patrika mentions that Gautam Buddha too had traversed through Prayag in 450 B.C.
At present it is located in Colonelganj locality. A shivling of Bhardwajeshwar Mahadev was established here by the sage Bhardwaj, and in addition there are hundreds of statues. Important among them are: Ram Lakshman, Mahishasur Mardini, Surya, Sheshnag, Nar varah. Maharishi Bhardwaj was the first patron of Ayurveda. Lord Rama had gone to the sage Bhardwaj’s ashram to get his blessings. It is a matter of research to find where the ashram existed then, but at present it is near the Anand Bhawan. There is a Shiv temple as also statues of Bhardwaj, Yagyavalkya and other sages, gods and goddesses. Bhardwaj was a disciple of Valmiki. Earlier a huge temple used to stand here that was razed, and there was a Bharatkund atop a mountain, that has been filled with garbage now.
It is located inside the Qila on the bank of the Yamuna. Legend has it that, that it is an eternal true that would not get destroyed ever. It is said that anyone who prays at this tree or dies under it attains salvation. The boundary of the fort is 15 feet away from the tree, and its branches hang out into the Yamuna river. In 1992, marble was laid around the tree, and in 1999 a small temple was made near it with the statues of Ram, Lakshman and Sita. About 22 meters of cloth is used in wrapping around the tree near its roots. The Akshay Vat, or the eternal tree that is indestructible. It is said that Lord Ram had spent a night near this tree while on his way to the wilds. It is also a holy site for the Jains. Permission has to be sought from Army officials to visit this tree.
Nag Vasuki Temple
This temple is located on the north of Sangam in the northern corner of Daraganj on the Ganga bank. It has statues of Nag Raj, Ganesh, Parvati and a reclining statue of Bhishma Pitamah. There is a Shiv temple in the premises. A big fair is held on Nag Panchami day.
It is situated near Minto park on the west of the fort along the Yamuna river. It has a black stone lingam and statues of Ganesh and Nandi. There is a grand statue of Hanuman and an ancient peepal tree near the temple. This ancient Shiv temple is located in Barra tehsil 40 km south-west from Allahabad. The Shivling is installed on top of a 80-feet high hillock among picturesque surroundings. It is said that the 3-1/2 feet Shivling is much deeper underground and it was installed by Lord Ram while going to Chitrakoot. There are many smaller idols here, a huge banyan tree and a well.
It is located 3 km north-east of Phaphamau in Soraon tehsil. It is made completely of stone and has several statues. A big fair is held here on Shivratri and in the month of Phalguna.
It is located in Soraon tehsil, 33 km from Allahabad on the Allahabad-Lucknow highway. One has to go about 3 km off the highway towards the Ganga. Its official name is Sigraur. It was the ashram of Shringi rishi. There is a temple of Shringi rishi and goddess Shanta. Ruins of the fort of Nishad king Guh are also here. Ram, Lakshman and Sita had stopped here while on their way to exile from Ayodhya, and had asked the kevat for a boat to cross the Ganga. Mention of Shringverpur is made in several religious texts and later, in official documents. It was possibly a center of sun worship. Several excavations were held there, yielding invaluable findings.
Lalita Devi Temple
It is located in Mirapur locality and is about 108 feet high. There are several statues inside the temple and an ancient papal tree in its compound. It is counted among the 51 Siddha Shaktipeeth in the country.
It is said that the Kaurav king Duryodhan had got it made to trap the Pandavas and eliminate them. However, Vidur alerted the Pandavas who escaped from a secret door while it was set on fire. It is located 6 km south of Handia on the bank of the Ganga.
Alopi Devi Temple
This ancient temple is located in Alopibagh locality west of Daraganj. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple there is a round platform there is a coloured cloth below which there is a small cot. Devotees pay obeisance here. It is said to be one of the Shaktipeeth and a big fair is held during the Navratri. There is an idol of Lord Shiv and Shivling.
This is a temple of Takshakeshwar Lord Shankar located in south of Allahabad city in Daryabad locality on the bank of the Yamuna. A little away is the Takshak kund in the Yamuna. Legend has it that Takshak the serpent had taken shelter here after being hounded out of Mathura by Lord Krishna. There are many lingas and idols in here as well as an idol of Hanuman.
It is situated on a big, high mound on bank of the Ganga. It is about 15 feet in diameter and is built of big stones. The entire premises are surrounded by a stone wall. It is said that it was built by the king Samudragupta hence the name. It is also said that the water level below the well is equal to the sea level, hence the name.
It is built below the ground level inside the fort on the bank of the Yamuna. There is a long corridor and there are 44 idols in here with a Shivling in the center. It was renovated by Bajirao Peshwa in 1735, and some idols date back to 17th or 18th century. Legend has it that Lord Rama had come during his exile.
Sheetla temple at Kada
It is located about 69 km north-west of Allahabad. The great sage Sant Malookdas was born in 1631 at Kada, where his samadhi and ashram are located. There is a temple of goddess Shitla Devi and a pond. There are ruins of a great fort also.
There is an entire locality by this name on the bank of the Yamuna and a temple of goddess Kalyani Devi. There are idols of the goddess and that of Lord Shankar, said to be dating back to the 20th century.
Prabhas GiriIt is located about 50 km north of Allahabad city in Manjhanpur tehsil of present day Kaushambi district. This region, 10 km from Kaushambi, was once the capital of the Vatsa empire. Legend has it that Lord Krishna left this earthly world here after being shot by an arrow. There used to be a big Jain temple here and the place is pilgrimage for the Jain community. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the entire region as protected.
On the northern end of Allahabad city on the bank of the Ganga is Shivkuti temple and ashram. There is the ashram of Shri 1008 Shri Narayan Prabhu established by him in 1948. The grand Lakshmi Narayan temple with marble idols and a Durga temple attracts a big fair in the month of Shravan.
Kamauri Nath MahadevIt is located in the railway colony near the Surajkund locality. In 1859 the railway track had to be diverted because of this temple. It has an idol of five-faced Mahadev. It is said that Lord Shankar had destroyed the cupid god Kamdev here.
Hatkeshwar Nath Temple
It is situated in the heart of the Allahabad city on the Zero road. There are many idols in it, including that of god Hatakeshwar Shiv.
Krishna Pranami Bhajan TempleKing Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand had initiated the Pranami sect. This temple is said to have been built in 1700 and a huge fair is held here on janmashtami.
Bhita Danuha (Sujawan Dev)It is located on the bank of Yamuna river about 3 km west from Ghoorpur. There is a temple of Shankar and Yamuna, the sister of Yam, built in the river.
Bargad Ghat Shiv TempleThis small temple is located at Bargad ghat on the bank of the Yamuna near Meerapur. There is a black stone Shivling and an ancient bargad (banyan) tree. There are four peepal trees and an idol of reclining Hanuman.
Siddheshwari PeethIt is located in front of the bus station at Civil Lines in Allahabad city. There is a small temple with idols of Shankar, Ashtabhuja Devi and Hanuman.
Shankar Viman Mandapam
This grand temple was built on the initiative of Shankaracharya Chandrashekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi Kamakoti Peeth and was inaugurated by Shankarachrya Jayendra Saraswati in 1986. Built in the Dravidian architecture style this three-storied structure is made on 16 huge pillars on the bank of the Sangam. Its height is 130 feet and it was completed in 16 years. It has the idols of Kamakshi, Lord Balaji and Lord Shiv. The Shiv idol weighs 10 tons.
Shankar temple MahuawanThis historical temple is situated on Koraon-Kaurhar road 8 km north-west of Koraon in Meja tehsil of Allahabad. This Shankar temple is situated near a pond and has a black stone idol and an ancient peepal tree.
Veni Madhav Temple
It is located in Daraganj locality and has attractive idols of Radha and Lord Krishna. There are 12 Madhav deities in Prayag but the Veni Madhav temple at Daraganj close to the Sangam is especially significant.
Towards the east of Prayag on the bank of the Ganga at Kakra Kotwa and 5 km south of Hanuman bazar, this ancient ashram is located. It has a grand statue of sage Durwasa and a fair is held in the month of Srawan.
Shankar temple JamsotIt dates back to the 11th century Kalchuri empire and is located near the Lapri river 15 km west of Koraon. It is in a dilapidated state and an idol found here is displayed at the State Museum at Lucknow.
Amiliya Sheetala DeviThis Shaktipeeth is situated in Tarhar area of Barra tehsil, 50 km from Allahabad. There is an idol of Masuriyan Devi and a fortnight-long fair is held in the month of Agahan.
It is located 50 km from Allahabad towards south-west on the Jabalpur road. There is an ancient fort and several Chandragupta era idols.
Radha Madhav TempleIt is situated on the old GT road in the Nimbark ashram at Madhwapur. It has 200-year old idols of Radha,, Krishna, Ram-Lakshman and Sita. The stone structure has exquisite engravings and in 1992 a huge idol of Hanuman was installed here.
This goddess Kali temple is situated in the Mutthiganj locality. There is an awe-inspiring idol of the goddess and also small temples of Satyanarayan, Ganesh, Hanuman, Shiv and Shanidev. There is a sacrificial chamber also.
Loknath TempleIt is situated in the old Loknath locality. It has a Shivling and an old well, besides idols of many gods and goddesses.
Kunaura MahadevIt is situated 12 km north of Handia market. There is an ancient Shankar temple near a pond, a Hanuman temple and an ancient banyan tree.
Patthar Shivala TempleIt is situated in Khuldabad sabji mandi on the old GT Road. The stone temple has a black stone Shivling. It has a unique architectural design and many idols.
Shankar Temple BolanThis temple is near a pond situated near the Vindhya mountains in the Meja tehsil. The water in the pond comes from the mountains and it is full of lotus flowers. The well near the pond is known as Banganga. Legend has it that Arjun had tore apart the mountains to get water for the purification of demon queen Hidimba. A lot of poisonous snakes are found here.
How to Reach Allahabad
Allahabad is served by the Allahabad Airport (Bamrauli Air Force Base) and is linked to Delhi and Kolkata by JetLite and Air India Regional. Other larger airports in the vicinity are at Varanasi (Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport 125 km) and Lucknow (Amausi International Airport 238 km).
Major Airlines between Delhi and Allahabad:
• Air India
Major Airlines between Delhi and Varanasi:
• Air India AI-406
• Jet Airways 9W-723
• Spice jet SG-114
• Jet Konnect 9W-2637
Major Airlines between Mumbai and Varanasi:
• Air India AI-695
By Rail:Allahabad is the headquarters of the North Central Railway Zone, and is well connected by trains with all major cities in India.
• Dibrugarh Rajdhani 2424=12424
• Kolkata Rajdhani 2302=12302
• Patna Rajdhani 2310=12310
• New Delhi Allahabad Duronto 2276=12276
• Poorva Express 2304=12304
• Shiv Ganga Express 2560=12560
The major trains between Mumbai to Allahabad are:
• Rajendranagar Janata Express 3202=13202
• Kolkata Mail 2322=12322
• Pawan Express 1061=11061
• Godaan Express 1055=11055
The major train between Chennai to Allahabad is:
• SanghMitra Express 2295=12295
The major train between Bangalore to Allahabad is:
• SanghMitra Express 2295=12295
• Kolkata Rajdhani Express 2301=12301
• Howrah Jodhpur Express 2307=12307
The major trains between Guwahati to Allahabad are:
• Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express 2423=12423
• Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express 2501=12501
NH2 runs through the middle of the city. NH96 connects to NH28 at Faizabad. Another is NH27 which starts from Allahabad and ends at Mangawan in Madhya Pradesh connecting to NH7. There are other state highways that link Allahabad to all other parts of the country.
Other Attractions to visit in AllahabadSangam: It's the place where the confluence of three holy rivers-Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati takes place. Center of attraction for hundreds and thousands of religious travelers
Allahabad Fort: Built by Akbar in AD 1583, this fort exhibits fine depictions of art, design, architecture, and craftsmanship of the fort
Patalpuri Temple and Akshaya Vat: Located inside the Allahabad Fort, this is actually an underground temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
Anand Bhawan: the ancestral home of the Nehru's, the Anand Bhawan now becomes one of the excellent museums of India.
Allahabad Museum: the Allahabad Museum preserves the paintings of Nicholas Roerich, terracotta figurines, Rajasthani miniatures, coins and stone sculptures from the 2nd century BC till date.
Weekend Excursions to nearby places like Jhusi, Kaushambi, Bhita, Shringverpur, Kara, Upardaha Lake and the Tons River Aqueduct.