Allahabad, one of the holiest cities in India, is in Uttar Pradesh. About 80 million people are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela - a Hindu pilgrimage in Allahabad. In Oct 2018, the city was renamed "Prayag" by the Uttar Pradesh state government.
Emperor Akbar renamed this city in 1575 and called it Illahabas, which has now become modern Allahabad. The monarch realized its strategic importance as a waterway landmark in North India and also built a magnificent fort on the banks of the holy Sangam.
Over the centuries that followed, Allahabad remained on the forefront of national importance, especially during the days of the Indian independence struggle. The chequered history of Allahabad with its religious, cultural and historical ethos also gave rise to several renowned scholars (M. N. Saha, Harishchandra, Ravindra Khattree, Amar Nath Jha), poets (Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Mahadevi Verma, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Sumitra Nandan Panth), writers (Mahadevi Verma, Ramkumar Verma, Jagdish Gupta), thinkers (Purusottam Das Tandon), statesmen and leaders (Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlala Nehru, Murli Manohar Joshi) and the actor Amitabh Bachchan.
The city, an important cantonment during the British Raj, has some beautiful remnants of colonial architecture. In the early 20th century, University of Allahabad was the foremost center of learning in the country. Allahabad today is an important city where history, culture and religion create a confluence, much like the sacred rivers that caress it.
Allahabad used to have a thriving industrial suburb (Naini) till the 1980s, but then those public sector units started closing down one by one, forcing entire generations of young educated Allahabadis to migrate out of the city in search of work. Today, Allahabad is slowly inching along in its dream to be an IT hub. And the government administrative offices remain alive and kicking.
In Allahabad, you can enjoy
- The politeness of "Aap" and "Hum" (literally, "us" and "we" in Hindi, used as a form of respect instead of the singular).
- The subtle sense of humour of the person on the street
- The fun of walking and travelling on rickshaws
Allahabad is on the trunk train route from Delhi to Kolkata and from Mumbai to Kolkata, so it is well-connected by trains. Innumerable trains stop at Allahabad.
The city has five railway stations:
Allahabad JunctionThe main station and where the majority of long distance trains call.
Allahabad City StationOften used by trains that terminate in the city.
Daraganj StationNear the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, useful for reaching the holy sites.
Prayag GhatNext to Daraganj Station, used mainly during the important religious festivals for the better management and control of extra pilgrim traffic on those occasions.
Prayag StationNorth of the city centre, near the university
By busNH 19 (old number: NH 2) connecting to Delhi and Kolkata, NH35 connecting to Mirzapur, Jhansi and Udaipur (old number :NH 76 and 76E merged), NH30 (old number:NH 24B and 27 merged) connecting to Lucknow, Rewa and Southern India and NH130 (old number: NH 96) connecting to Sultanpur-Faizabad runs through the city. Several buses ply to and from nearby cities and towns.
Auto rickshaws (3-wheelers) are also cheap modes of travel inside the city.
City buses are available on certain routes but their arrivals and departures are unpredictable.
During these days, Durga puja is also celebrated by Bengali community which makes a major section of Allahabadi society. Puja pandals of Darbhanga colony and Jagat Taran College are the best places to enjoy the marvelous works of craftsmen of the city.
Kumbh is the best time to immerse yourself in Hindu rituals and culture, organized once in every 12 years Kumbh 2001 became the largest ever human gathering in history when 80-90 million pilgrims converged.
The biggest festival for Hindus, the date are written in the ancient holy Vedas. The festivals of Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchami are the most auspicious days when 'Shahi Snaana' are held. The dates are set according to the complex hindu calender and change every year.
Every year, a smaller version of Kumbh called Magh Mela is organized which falls during the Hindu month of Magha (Usually January or February). Magh Mela is an auspicious time to get married and Allahabad will be bustling with marriage processions long into the night during this period.
The Kumbh area is a massive temporary settlement of tents at up on the flood plains of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
It is better to book the camps or hotels in advance as the number of visitors are unbelievably high and most regular accommodation sells out. Many hindu families spend an entire month in rented tents, or in governent tent camps where bunks can be booked for as little as 200IRP per night.
Getting around the camp :
The camp area was 40km long in 2019 and vehicles are generally banned (gurus and tourists on motorcycles are sometimes permitted). Ensure you know which sector your camp is in and arrive on the right edge or you could be forced to walk more than 10km.
There is generally no English signage, so asking police for directions may be your best option.
Temporary bridges across the river are generally one way, and the direction changes seemingly at random as police try to control the crowds.
Safety at Kumb:
Deadly stampedes during Kumbh are commonplace, the enormous crowds frequently panic and defy police. Be aware of your surroundings especially around the train station, bridges and rivers edge.
Basic sanitation is lacking in many areas. Pilgrims not using toilets, flooding and lack of drainage make diorhea outbreaks common. Drink and use only bottled water and bring anti diorhea medication.
Alcohol is strictly forbidden, as are glass bottles and glasses.
It is unclear how strictly these rules are enforced but you will find little occasion for drinking regardless.
Bhagwan Shri Dwadsh Madhav Yearly ParikramaThe parikrama of Bhagwam Shri Dwadash Madhav is the holiest and oldest parikrama on earth. Bhagwan Shri Madhav ji is the chief deity of Allahabad, known as Tirthraj (king of holy places). In parikrama, the devotee walks around the deity. As per Bhardwaj muni, sins of this birth and previous births are dissolved by performing this holy parikrama. The punya (good karma) rises by this. This parikrama is able to fulfill all desires of devotee. This parikrama was restarted in 2014, after a long gap of 600 years. This parikrama is of about 100 km. A yearly parikrama is usually organised in November.
SangamA dip in the holy Sangam of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati is a must for the spiritually inclined. Sangam is a Sanskrit word for confluence. It is a sacred holy site for Hindus. According to Vedic literature and myths it is called Triveni Sangam because three rivers meet up here namely the holy Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati which is believed to be flowing beneath the surface. At the time of churning of sea (Samudra Manthan) by Gods (Suras) and the Demons (Asuras) few drops of amrita (holy nectar that makes a mortal immortal) fell at four different parts of the subcontinent during a fight between Gods and Demons over it. That places are Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag and Ujjain and are considered holy and MahaKumbha Mela is organised once in 12 years. Millions of pilgrims, tourists, ascetics, sadhu/sant (holy men) visit Prayag at the time of month long Kumbha for taking holy dip at sangam and perform religious rituals and ceremonies. Also Magh Mela is organised annually on January-February (Magh month of the Hindu calendar) and millions visit to take holy dip at Sanagam.
All Saints CathedralAll Saints' Cathedral, designed by William Emerson (later President of the Royal Institute of British Architects) in complete Gothic style, was commenced in the year 1877. Standing in a grass compound at a major junction, it is in white stone with red sandstone dressings. The pavement to the choir and sanctuary is constructed pure Jaipur marble. Also known as Patthar Girja among local people, it is one of the oldest churches of India.
Allahabad FortThe Allahabad Fort, built from the year 1583 onwards by Akbar, stands at the junction of the two great rivers. It was the largest of Akbar's forts, and although its original form has been much impaired by early restoration work, the splendid Zenana Palace survives. It is a fine pavilion, with a central square hall carried on 64 columns bordered by a deep veranda of double columns and there are clusters of four in each corner.
Kumbha Mela Under the wall of the palace, there is the so-called "Undying Banyan Tree" or Akshai Vata. In front of the entrance to the Fort is the "Ashoka Pillar", 35 feet high, it is made up of polished stone. Edicts of Ashoka are inscribed on it. The fort was later garrisoned under Company Raj, this imposing structure stands on the bank of Yamuna at sangam nose. Due to military concerns, only a limited area of the fort can been seen.
Allahabad High CourtIt is the seat of Justice in Uttar Pradesh, and is the oldest high court in the country with largest strength of judges.
Churches and Convents of the cityAllahabad boasts of its magnificent churches that were buit during the epoch of British Raj. Some of them are All Saints Cathedral, St Josephs' Convent, Evangelical Church and Bethany Convent. Diocese of Allahabad was the first in North India and has played a major role in nurturing the missionaries in the region
Company Baghaddress: Panna Lal RoadIt is the place to experience the British era of Indian history. Encircled in this park are Allahabad Museum, Victoria memorial and public library. Historical relics are scattered throughout the park. It was in this park where Chandrashekhar Azad, who fought for independence, shot himself with his last bullet.
Jawahar PlanetariumA place for those who are interested in astronomy. Shows are at every hour and charges are nominal. Children under age of 7 are not allowed.(Closed on Mondays)
Khusro baghKhusro Bagh is entered through an old doorway that is 60 feet high. Khusrau was the elder brother of the Emperor Shah Jahan. He died in the year 1615 and the tomb was completed seven years later. The actual burial chamber is underground. It was enriched with plasterwork and was painted with birds and flowers and Persian inscriptions. West of the tomb is another tomb, which is believed to be the tomb of Khusrau`s sister. The place is also known for famous 'Allahabadi Guavas'.
Minto ParkA historical spot where 'Company Raj' came to its end and India was transferred to the British crown. In the park is a replica of the Ashok Pillar, upon which the national emblem of Indian Republic is perched.
Moti Mahal and Bari Kothiaddress: Daryaganj
phone: +91 0532 2460197address: Chandra Sekhar Azad ParkThe marvelous monuments is perched in Company Garden. The monument has served as the house of legislative assembly in British era when Allahabad was the capital of United Provinces. It has been converted to a library which is popularly known as Public Library. The monument is beautifully carved from white sandstones and is drenched in Gothic serenity.
University of Allahabad CampusThe 4th oldest university of India, it has various neo-Gothic monuments. Zoological museum in Department of Zoology homes a collection of skeletons of mammoth and elephants.
Yamuna bridgeA stroll or a cycle ride on the bridge at sunrise or sunset is extremely refreshing.
Visit to a historical city like Allahabad can not be complete without understanding and feeling its vibrant and varied history. The city is rich in museums and offers attractive spots for people of every discourse.
Agharkar museumphone: +91 532 246 1887address: Botany Department, university of Allahabad, Allahabad-211002.
phone: +91 532 240 7409address: Chandrashekhar Azad Park, Kamala Nehru RoadSpot for the lovers of ancient history. Allahabad being a historical city, the museum offers a convenient way to explore the history of the city and vicinity. Stone sculptures, terracottas, miniature paintings, modern Indian paintings, seals, sealing, coins, presents from Pt. Jawaharalal Nehru, miniature objects, handicrafts, firms, manuscripts, arms and armour inscription, thangkas. Citivithika half yearly. Library. Guide service; film shows on request; Lectures. Photography allowed on payment of ₹25 per snap. Multi-purpose museum.
Anand Bhawan Museumaddress: Moti Lal Neharu MargLearn about the intricacies of Indian struggle for freedom during early 20th century. Among many things, you will find the personal correspondence and family photographs of the Nehrus. Besides Anand Bhawan is Swaraj Bhawan, ancestral place of the Nehru clan. It offers a best way to know about Nehru family via its video shows which are scheduled hourly. Anand Bhawan and Swaraj Bhawan are the places which have served as the parliament in real sense during British era. Many important decisions and happenings have been witnessed by these monuments. Picture gallery of national movement, painting textile books parquetry. Library.
Anatomy Museumaddress: M.L.N. medical CollegeDissected parts of the human body, models of human organs embryology models to study various branches of anatomy.
Archaeological Museumaddress: Museum Department of ancient History, culture and Archaeology, university of Allahabad -211002.
Ganganath Jha kendriya Sanskrit vidyapeethaphone: +91 532 2460957,+91 532 2504081,+91 532 2506892address: C.S. Azad ParkMainly Sanskrit manuscripts about 50,000; along with in Telugu, Bangali, Maithili and oriya,
Hindi Sangrahalayaaddress: Hindi Sahitya SaammelanBooks, periodicals, manuscripts, coins, letters, photographs, memoir trophies and personal belongings of literary personalities
Bharadwaj AshramThe hermitage of Saint Bharadwaj, as per Ramayana. There is a temple of Lord Prayagraj, the God of the Prayag city.
address: DaraganjHere lies a magnificent statue of Lord Hanuman which is believed to be of Ramayana era.
Dashaswamedh GathAccording to Hindu mythology this was the spot where Lord Bramha performed Parikshit Yajna and city got its name Prayag
Jhusi-Tallest Hanuman MandirThe temple is an unusually tall Hanuman deity along with 108 Shivalingas.
Mankameshwar MandirThe temple is at the bank of Yamuna river near Triveni Sangam. You can't miss it as it has flashy neon animations at its entrance.
Shankar Viman MandapamBuild in South Indian style, the temple offers a great view of Sangam and surrounding areas.
Someshwar Mahadev Temple
address: Kaushambi Road, Allahabad
Hear the azaanWake up at dawn and hear the azaan as the temple bells ring.
Take a dip at SangamSpiritual and refreshing. Sitting along the river banks and seeing the flowing water is also worth to be done. However sitting alone in aloof areas is risky for women and foreigners. Nagvasuki Ghat and Saraswati Ghat are suitable places for enjoying the serenity of river. Go at sunrise or after sunset to avoid crowds during Magh Mela.
Take a boat down the YamunaAlways bargain for a good price, and for safety avoid wearing jewellery.
Walk in the Magh/Kumbh mela areaThe days which are best to visit Allahabad falls in the Hindu month of 'Magha'. A stroll in the make shift streets of Mela area is blissfully energizing. Be sure to keep a close watch on your purse/day-pack, not flash any cash or wear expensive jewellery to avoid being a target for theft.
Water sports in YamunaVarious water sports can be enjoyed in the waters of Yamuna. Skiing, para-sailing, kayaking, canoeing, wind surfing enterprise, yachting boat, optimist sailing, water snookering, shallow water diving. Allahabad Boat Club is the organiser.
AstrologyBeing a seat of leaning, Prayag is a hub of famous astrologists and Sanskrit Vidyapeeths (Institutes). Get your kundli evaluated and your problem solved by Indian astrology. Approach a 'jyotishi' if you have faith in soft sciences.
phone: +91 532 256 9243address: Near Shastri Bridge, JhunsiAllahabad is the best place to learn Kriya Yoga. Details can be obtained from Kriya Yoga Research Institute.
- Guavas are best bought in winter. The red-spotted guavas available in plenty (and at unbelievably cheap prices) are a major attraction.
- Mangoes in summer
- Namkeens at LokNath, Chowk
RasgulleA type of gulaabjamun, 'rasgulle' (in vernacular language) are a speciality of Allahabadi cuisine. Some remarkable shops in city are near Madwapur Petrol Pump, in front of Kamla Nehru Hospital and Netram in Katra. Try to get the taste of rasgulla's at Dadoli Canal (Pratapgarh Rd) and at Rewa Road.
Water from the GangaSmall brass pots of water from the Ganga sealed with wax make a good souvenir, and are widely near Sangam.
BudgetCheap eats can be found at Chowk bazaar, the historic city center. So take a bus and get off at Jawahar Square Chowk, then amble down the Loknath Line and tackle the stalls on both sides. This street is the heart of the historic city center as well as its stomach. The smells are unbelievable. Great eateries are reported below:
Nirala Misthan Bhandarphone: +91 9389066601address: 60-B, Loknath, ChowkA sweet shop selling sweets like Indian chats and snacks like dosa, chole bhature and chinese. All prepared in pure Deshi ghee.
Hari Ram & Sonsphone: +91 94546 99618address: Loknath, 16, Chowk, Rani MandiSalted food products all made of pure deshi ghee (Samosa, Dal Moth, Khatte Channa). This spot was the favorite of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri
Rajaram Lassi WalaFor a refreshing glass of lassi with rabri, kulfi or burfi
In every area of the city there are options and variety for cheap foods. Below some tips:
- The best crepes from rice batter and black lentils (Masala Dosa) are sold in the stalls around Motilal Nehru Medical College
- Cheap 'Dhaba style' restaurants are located near the railway station. They are a good option for having a heavy Mughalai nosh-up. Try at Leader & Station Rd (+91 80049 22576).
- Baati Chokha Near
- Chaat at Bahrana Triangle
- Kachauri (spicy snacks with normal thali) at (University gate)
- Enjoy 'Paan' - Indian mouth freshener, kiosks at every step in the city
address: Shop No. 3-5, Elgin RoadThe Allahabad outlet of the Indian café chain. popularly known as CCD, A trendy hangout for teen/young people. Sandwiches, veg burgers, pastries, coffee & tea
phone: +91 532 226 0752address: Ground Floor, 31A/31, Plot No. QQ1, Sardar Patel Marg, Civil LinesVeg pizzas, double cheese Margherita, Mexican Green Wav, Veggie Paradise etc.
McDonald'saddress: M G Marg
The Patiophone: +91 532 256 0123address: Strachey Road, Civil LinesA multi cuisine restaurant at the lobby floor of Kanha Shyam Hotel. Indian specialties are served at the second floor.
phone: +91 532 329 0523address: 3/3, Hashimpur Road, Balson Crossing, Near Anand Bhawan,Indian, Chinese, Continental, pizzas and pasta dishes in a simple, family-friendly restaurant.
Mumbai Masalaaddress: Civil LinesGood theme restaurant serving mostly Indian Food.
phone: +91 532 2420075address: 24, M.G. Marg, Civil Lines.A family-run restaurant established in 1964 as a small Espresso Coffee outlet. With the passage of time El Chico has graduated into a reputed multi cuisine Restaurant, from Italian to Chinese and off course Indian. The restaurant at the first floor has a better ambiance. The pastry shop beside the restaurant is also good with daily baked cookies and French/Masala/garlic bread.
Connoisseur Restaurantphone: +91 94508 48669address: 49A, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Civil LinesContinental cuisine, tasty non-veg dishes.
phone: +91 532 226 0631address: 13, Sardar Patel Marg, Civil LinesOn the Grand Continental lobby floor, the restaurant serves various cuisines such as Indian, South Indian, Tandoor, Continental and Chinese. Khana means food, Khazana means Treasury.
BudgetVarious dharmshalas are available at negligible charges in old city. Daraganj and Kydganj have plenty of Dharmshalas which are freely available.
phone: +91 532 256 0123address: Strachey Road
Royal Hotelphone: +91 532 2427201address: Nawab Yusuf RdUsed to be a royal stable but was converted into a hotel. Basic rooms reasonably spacious with bathrooms, hot water, it's a bucket and scoop job. All in all, a lovely old building.
Hotel Kohinoorphone: +91 532-2655501, +91 93071 44330address: 10, Nurulla Road,Garden, veg, non veg restaurant, 24 hour security staff & video surveillance in hallways.
phone: +91 532 226 0921address: 33 Sardar Patel Marg
phone: +91 532 256 0030address: 7/3/2B, Civil LinesAll rooms are AC with double bed. 24 hours internet. Open air restaurant
phone: +91 93367 62824address: A/2/D,Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg,Civil Lines,Opposite GPO
phone: +91 532-2407835address: Tashkent Marg
phone: +91 532 226 0631address: 13, Sardar Patel Marg & Strachey Road, Civil Lines
phone: +91 532 2421 505address: 4/2, Strachy Road Civil Lines
address: Civil LinesThis modern hotel is the only one in Allahabad run by a national chain.
Hotel Samratphone: +91 532 256 1200address: 49A, MG Marg, Civil Lines
- Power outages are frequent so be prepared and carry a flashlight. Alleys are hard to navigate during the day, and even harder at night, so always be prepared. Sometimes you might run into a cow in an alley.
- Women should dress conservatively and be very careful as sexual assaults, such as random gropings, can be common. Don't travel alone, especially in less populated areas.
- Knowing some basic Hindi and/or Urdu will help, although you can manage with English.
- Be prepared to haggle with cyclerickshaw pullers (the best means of transport), for a short trip the price should be about ₹50, autorickshaws slightly less.
- Agra there is an overnight sleeper from Allahabad but it leaves at 11:15 at night and takes approx. 7 hours.
- Chandauli - Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary (Chandraprabha)
- Mirzapur - Vindham Falls
- - Water park with pools and slides
- Pratapgarh - Belha Devi Temple and multiple temples located in city of Pratapgarh
- Rishabdev Tapasthali - Beautiful Jain Temples in Jusi, about 15 km from Allahabad city on the road toward Varanasi. The place has arrangements for stay and food. (Call +91-532-2567067, +91-9956260218)
- Satna by train - and bus to Khajuraho
- Tones river