Allahabad is a city that is defined by the sangam (sacred confluence
of two or more rivers), the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna.
According to legend, a third river, the mythical Saraswati is also
believed to join the two rivers here, giving the confluence or sangam
a holy dimension, replete with soul-cleansing powers. Brahma is
said to have called this spot Tirth Raj, or 'King of Pilgrimage
sites'. The holy confluence draws pilgrims at all times, but especially
at the time of the Maha Kumbh Mela, a jaw-dropping spectacle when
millions of devotees bathe ritually in the waters to break the eternal
cycle of reincarnation. On a more earthly level, Allahabad was a
British colonial settlement and also the family home of Pandit Jawaharlal
Nehru, whose daughter went on to found India's powerful Nehru- Gandhi
Allahabad was known in ancient times as Prayag, and Lord
Brahma is said to have performed a sacrifice there. The Chinese
pilgrim Xuan Zhang (Hieun Tsang) described visiting the city in
634 AD. Allahabad acquired its present name from the Mughals, who
named it Allahabad, or Place of God. The Mughal Emperor Akbar built
a fort here in 1583, which straddled the valley between the Ganga
and the Yamuna, an area of strategic significance. The Emperor Shah
Jahan murdered his brother Khusrau here in 1615, so that his accession
to the throne would be secured.
Later the town was taken by the Marathas, sacked by the Pathans,
and finally ceded to the British in 1801 by the Nawab of Avadh.
After that, the town became a British military cantonment.
After the first war of Indian Independence first war of Indian
Independence in 1857, the British moved the headquarters of the
north-western province here from Agra. Allahabad also witnessed
the formal transfer of power from the East India Company to the
Crown in 1858, which was announced by the then Viceroy Lord Canning.
The city also played an important role in the fight for national
Independence. It witnessed the first meeting of the Indian National
Congress in 1885. Allahabad is also where the non-violent freedom
movement of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated.
However, the city's strongest connection with the Independence
movement stems from the fact that it was the hometown of Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister and his father
Motilal Nehru, who also played a role in the freedom struggle.
Nehru would go on to lay the foundations for the Nehru-Gandhi
dynasty, a family that would dominate India's political life after
Allahabad is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh and is 125
km from Varanasi. It is situated at the confluence of the Ganga
and Yamuna rivers. The city is divided by the railway line running
through it. South of the tracks is the old Chowk area, while the
British-built Civil Lines is situated to the north, with all its
streets laid out in a grid.
The Yamuna river flows south of Allahabad until it reaches the
confluence point at the south-eastern extremity of the city. The
Ganga flows along its eastern edge. The Grand Trunk Road also
goes through the city, through the heart of the Chowk. Triveni
road leads from the Grand Trunk road to the sangam.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is Varanasi (125 km), which is connected with
the cities of Agra, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Delhi, Khajuraho and
Allahabad is an important rail terminus connected by rail with
all the major cities in India, including Agra, Delhi, Gorakhpur,
Gwalior, Kanpur and Lucknow.
Important road distances from Allahabad are:
Agra (483 km), Delhi (612 km), Lucknow (227 km), Lumbini (406
km), Khajuraho (294 km), Varanasi (125 km), Chitrakoot (128 km),
Kolkata (799 km), Jhansi (375 Km), Thiruvananthapuram (2,413 km),
Ahmedadad (1,207 km), Chennai (1,790 km), Kanpur (198 km), Nagpur
(618 km), Udaipur (956 km), Etwah (331 km), Patna (368 km), Bhopal
(680 km), Jaipur (673 km), Mumbai (1,444 km). There are also direct
bus services from Allahabad to Chitrakoot, Ayodhya, Varanasi,
Lucknow and Kanpur.
Sights to Visit
The confluence (or sangam of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna is what
makes Allahabad such a sacred spot to Hindus. The mythical river
of enlightenment, the Saraswati, is also believed to surface here.
It is believed that the purifying power of a sacred river is strengthened
at a confluence. This gives the sangam great soul-cleansing powers,
and all Hindus hope to bathe here at least once in their lifetime,
to wash away their sins.
Around 7 km from Civil Lines, overlooked by the eastern ramparts
of the Allahabad fort, wide flood plains and muddy banks protrude
towards the sacred sangam. At the point at which the brown Ganga
meets the greenish Yamuna, 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 (offerings) for their
Boats to the sangam, used by pilgrims and tourists alike, can
be rented at the ghat (steps leading to water) immediately east
of the fort, for the recommended government rate of Rs 12 per
However, most pilgrims pay around Rs 36 and you can be charged
as much as Rs 150. Official prices for a whole boat are between
Rs 100 and Rs 120 but can soar to more than Rs 250 during peak
The massive fort built by Emperor Akbar in 1583 AD stands on the
banks of the Yamuna near the confluence site. The fort has massive
walls and three gateways flanked by high towers. At present it
is used by the army, so only a limited area is open to visitors.
The outer wall is intact and rises above the water's edge. The
fort is impressive when viewed from the river, so you can catch
a boat from the sangam to view it or walk along the riverbank
footpath which skirts the fort's southern wall.
Visitors need permission to visit the fort, which can be obtained
from the Commandant, Ordinance Depot, Fort, Allahabad. Tel: 6064738,
Once inside the fort, see the Ashoka Pillar that dates back to
232 BC. A small door in the fort's eastern wall leads to the underground
Patalpuri temple which houses the Undying Banyan tree, also known
as the Akshai Veta. This tree is mentioned by Xuan Zhang (Hieun
Tsang), who describes pilgrims sacrificing their lives by leaping
to their deaths from it in order to achieve salvation. There is
not much of it left now, though.
The Hanuman temple
Close to the Allahabad fort, this temple is distinguished by the
reclining image of Hanuman. It is said that the each year during
the floods, the water of the Ganga rises to touch the feet of
the idol before receding.
The Saraswati ghat is close to the sangam and also a popular spot
with devotees. Women perform aarti or evening worship here by
floating diyas, or small oil lamps downstream.
Close to Allahabad junction station, these walled gardens mark
the spot where Prince Khusrau, the son of Emperor Jehangir, was
murdered by his brother Emperor Shah Jahan. The tomb of Khusrau
is a sandstone mausoleum, which was completed in 1622. The tomb
to the west is thought to be his sister's. Still further west
is the two-storied tomb of Khusrau's Rajput mother, who is said
to have poisoned herself in despair over her son's determined
opposition to his father.
Anand Bhavan is the family home of the Nehru family and the boyhood
home of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Independent India's first prime
minister. This ornate Victorian structure has been converted into
a museum, and visitors can walk around the verandas, peering through
glass panels into the various rooms, including the one in which
Mahatma Gandhi used to stay.
Next to Anand Bhavan stands Swaraj Bhavan, which was where Motilal
Nehru lived until 1930 and where his grand-daughter Indira Gandhi
was born. Within the grounds is also a planetarium and a building
that hosts a pictorial display of Jawaharlal Nehru's life.
Not far from Anand Bhavan, the ashram houses a collection of small
temples. It is named after the philosopher, scientist and ascetic
Bharadwaj who is mentioned in the Ramayana. He is said to have
had a hermitage here, which was visited by Rama. Legend relates
that the ashram once had 10,000 students. Unusually, women here
act as priests and care-takers.
This has galleries devoted to local archaeological finds, including
terracotta figurines and other artefacts from Kausambi. It also
has natural history exhibits, an art gallery featuring paintings
by Nicholas Roerich and Jamini Roy among others, an exhibit on
the freedom struggle and a room of artefacts donated by the Nehru
family. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to
All Saints Cathedral
This is the most visible presence of the British empire in Allahabad.
This Gothic Revival church structure has retained much of its
stained-glass and has an altar of inlaid marble. It was designed
by Sir William Emerson, who was also the architect of the Victoria
Memorial in Kolkata. Its brass memorial plaques commemorate past
congregations and the manner of their death
A short distance to the north-west is the Roman Catholic Cathedral
of St Joseph's, built in 1879.
A fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the college is
dominated by the 200-foot-high minaret tower. It forms a quadrangle
comprising the convocation hall, lecture rooms, library and professor's
rooms linked by arcaded verandas.
It was here that Lord Canning proclaimed in 1858 that India would
be ruled by the Queen of England, bringing the rule of the East
India Company to an end.
This nineteenth-century sandstone structure is situated north
of the Allahabad museum. It has a small museum containing artefacts
from the excavations at Kaushambhi.
Your Itinerary for Allahabad
(Delhi - Mathura - Vrindavan - Agra - Varanasi - Allahabad - Varanasi
- Khajuraho - Orcha - Jhansi - Bhopal - Ujjain - Indore - Delhi
- Rishikesh - Delhi )
(15 Nights / 16 Days)
Day 01: Delhi
Arrival in Delhi and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 02: Delhi
After B/fast, full day sightseeing of old & New Delhi visiting
Day 03: Delhi - Mathura - Vrindavan
After B/fast, drive to Agra, enroute visit temples of Mathura
& Vrindavan. Reach Agra, transfer to hotel. O/N at the hotel.
Day 04: Agra
After Breakfast, sightseeing tour of Agra city visiting Taj Mahal,
Fort,Sikandra. O/N at the hotel.
Day 05: Agra - Varanasi
After B/fast, day free for your own activities. Afternoon, transfer
to Airport for Flight to Varanasi. Arrive Varanasi, and transfer
to Hotel. Evening visit Sarnath. O/N at Hotel
Day 06: Varanasi
After B/fast, full day city tour of Varanasi, visiting various
Temples & holy places in and around near River Ganges. O/N
stay at the hotel.
Day 07: Varanasi - Allahabad
After B/fast, drive to Allahabad, reach in afternoon & transfer
to the hotel. In the evening visit various temples and ashrams
of Allahabad , also visit Sangam. O/N at hotel.
Day 08: Allahabad - Varanasi - Khajuraho
After B/fast, drive back for Varanasi. Reach Varanasi & transfer
to Airport for flight to Khajuraho.Arrive Khajuraho & transfer
to Hotel. O/N at the hotel.
Day 09: Khajuraho - Orcha
After B/fast, visit Temples of Khajuraho. Afternoon, drive for
Orcha & transfer to Hotel.O/N at the hotel.
Day 10: Orcha - Jhansi - Bhopal
After B/fast, trasfer to Jhansi Railway Station to catch Shatabdi
Express for Bhopal. Reach Bhopal in the afternoon, then drive
for Ujjain. Reach Ujjain in the late evening & Transfer to
Hotel. O/N at hotel.
Day 11: Ujjain
After B/fast, visit Mahakaleshwar Temple of Lord Shiva, and various
temples in Ujjain, situated near the bank of river Shipra. O/N
Day 12: Ujjain - Indore - Delhi
Early morning leave for Indore to take a flight to Delhi. Arrive
Delhi & transfer to hotel. O/N at hotel.
Day 13: Delhi - Rishikesh(Haridwar)
After B/fast, drive for Rishikesh, enroute visit Haridwar &
attend evening prayer at Har ki paudi. Reach Rishikesh & transfer
to hotel. O/N at hotel.
Day 14: Rishikesh
After B/fast, visit Rishikund, Triveni Ghat, Laxman Jhoola and
various other temples in Rishikesh, situated near the bank of
sacred river Ganges. O/N at hotel.
Day 15: Rishikesh
After B/fast, explore the temples & ashrams in Rishikesh.
O/N at hotel.
Day 16: Rishikesh - Delhi
After B/fast, leave for Delhi. Reach Delhi & transfer to IGI
for flight to onward Journey.