Allahabad is among the largest cities in Uttar Pradesh. Hindu mythology has it that for the Prakrishta Yajna, Lord Brahma, the creator God of the Hindu Trinity, chose a land on earth, on which the three rivers would flow in to a quiet confluence. Brahma also referred to it as Tirth Raj or the King of all pilgrimage centres. Recorded evidence also exists in the Hindu scriptures (the Vedas and the grand epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as also in the Puranas) of this holy place formerly called Prayag. Allahabad stands at the confluence of two of India's holiest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna. Sangam, as the confluence is called, is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals, and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. This number swells to millions during the world-famous Kumbh Mela. An annual Magh Mela is also held in Allahabad around the Sangam areas in the month of January (Magh is the name of month in Hindu calendar). A third mythical Saraswati river, believed to flow underground towards the Sangam, gives the confluence its other name, Triveni.
Emperor Akbar renamed this city in 1575 and called it by name of 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
The best way to reach Allahabad, if you are coming from outside India, is to take a direct flight to Delhi and then take one of the numerous connecting trains from Delhi to Allahabad. The Kolkata Rajdhani express, though a better train, lands at a very odd hour in Allahabad (23:43) from Delhi which can be inconvenient for Allahabad being a really quiet place at night. Best train from Delhi to Allahabad is the PrayagRaj Express (Train No. 2418) which leaves from New Delhi Railway Station at 21:30 and arrives in Allahabad at 06:00 next day. The train runs every day. Newly launched is Duranto Express leaving Allahabad for New Delhi on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays at 22:40 hours and reaches New Delhi at 06:05 the next day with number 2275. This is a non-stop service with AC1, AC2, AC3 and non-AC 3 Tier composition. Down service from New Delhi leaves on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 23.00 and reaches Allahabad at 06:20 the next day with number 2276. Fares are marginally higher than other superfast and express trains.
Allahabad Airport (IXD) also called Bamrauli Field is essentially a military base with a one-room passenger terminal and one commercial flight per day run by Air India (IC 7801). The flight departs Delhi and arrives in Allahabad after a brief stop in Kanpur. The plane then returns to Delhi. Baggage is hand delivered after arrival so wait in the terminal if you have checked luggage for it to be delivered. A new (2014) flight from Mumbai by Air India runs only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The city has four railway stations, with Allahabad Junction being the main station and where the majority of long distance trains call. Allahabad City Station, in Rambagh, is often used by trains that terminate in the city. Daraganj station is near the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna and useful for reaching the holy sites. In addition, a temporary railway station known as Prayag Ghat is opened next to Daraganj during the important religious festivals for the better management and control of extra pilgrim traffic on those occasions. Finally, there's Prayag station north of the city centre, near the university.
Allahabad is on NH2 and NH27 and is, therefore, well connected by road. Several buses ply to and from nearby cities and towns.
Hire a cyclerickshaw. It is the cheapest, best and most widely available means of transport. You will have to haggle for the prices, though.
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.
Dussehra is another auspicious time to visit the colorful city. In every corner of the city famous 'Ramleela' is organized with zeal and enthusiasm. Every class of society participates in the festival. Ramleela of Pattharchatti and Pajawa are worthy of seeing. Famous 'Kali dance' is organized in Daraganj in late nights of 4th,5th and 6th days of Navratri. People horde in large numbers in narrow streets of Daraganj to see the dance.
During these very 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 get the glimpse of Hindu rituals and culture. Organized once in every twelve years, Kumbh 2001 was the largest ever human gathering in history. Vedas contain the laurels on the divine period of Kumbh, which make it the biggest festival for Hinduism. Festivals of Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchami are the most auspicious days and 'Shahi Snaana' are held. The Kumbh area is a temporary settlement of tents made on the flood plains for Ganga and Yamuna which are vastly sprawled. It is better to book the camps/hotels in advance as the number of visitors are unbelievably high. Plan the visit around 6 months before the starting of the fair. Deadly stampedes during Kumbh are unfortunately commonplace.
Kumbh is the largest gathering of human beings on the planet when it occurs. In 2001, 80-90 million pilgrims came for the divine Kumbh. 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.
A 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 Hindu Calendar) and millions visit to take holy dip at Sangam.
- All Saints Cathedral. All 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 church of India.
- Allahabad Fort. The 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 still survives. It is a fine pavilion, with a central square hall carried on sixty-four 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 Court. It 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 city. Allahabad 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 Bagh (Alfred Park or Chandrashekhar Azad Park), Panna Lal Road. It 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 Planetarium. 11:00-16:30. A 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) ₹20.
- Khusro bagh. 08:00-20:00. Khusro 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 Park (Between Fort and Yamuna Bridge). A historical spot where 'Company Raj' came to its end and India was formally 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 Kothi, Daryaganj.
- Nagvasuki Temple (In Daraganj).
- Thornhill Mayne Memorial (Allahabad Public Library), Chandra Sekhar Azad Park, ☎ +91 0532 2460197, e-mail: email@example.com. The 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. Presently 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 Campus. The 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.
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 museum, Botany Department, university of Allahabad, Allahabad-211002., ☎ +91 532 246 1887. Summer : 07:00 to 12:00; winter: 10:00 to 17:00; closed : Sunday and university holidays;.
- Allahabad Museum, Chandrashekhar Azad Park, Kamala Nehru Road, ☎ +91 532 240 7409, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:30 to 16:30; closed : Mondays and gazetted holidays and Sunday falling after second Saturday. Spot 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. Adult Indian citizens: ₹5, children below 12: ₹2, foreigners: ₹100.
- Anand Bhawan Museum, Moti Lal Neharu Marg, e-mail: email@example.com. 9.30am-1pm & 1.30-5pm Tue-Sun (exclusive of a lunch break between 13:00 and 13:30); closed: Mondays and gazetted holidays. Learn 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. ₹5.-(for first floor only).
- Anatomy Museum, M.L.N. medical College. July 1 to April 30: 09:00 to 16:00, May 1 to June 30: 08:00 to 12:00, closed university holiday. Dissected parts of the human body, models of human organs embryology models to study various branches of anatomy.
- Archaeological Museum, Museum Department of ancient History, culture and Archaeology, university of Allahabad -211002.. Summer : 07:00 to 12:00; winter ; 10:00 to 16:00; closed: Sunday and other university holidays.
- Ganganath Jha kendriya Sanskrit vidyapeetha, C.S. Azad Park, ☎ +91 532 2460957, +91 532 2504081, +91 532 2506892. 09:30 to 18:00; closed: Saturday, Sunday & gazetted holidays;. Mainly Sanskrit manuscripts about 50,000; along with in Telugu, Bangali, Maithili and oriya,
- Hindi Sangrahalaya, Hindi Sahitya Saammelan. Summer: 06:30 to 11:30 Winter: 11:00 to 17:00; closed; Sunday and major holidays. Books, periodicals, manuscripts, coins, letters, photographs, memoir trophies and personal belongings of literary personalities
- Ankaleshwara Temple (Stanley Rd, Mehndauri Colony).
- Bharadwaj Ashram. The hermitage of Saint Bharadwaj, as per Ramayana. There is a temple of Lord Prayagraj, the God of the Prayag city.
- Bade Hanuman Ji Temple, The Adelphi, Allen Ganj (Near the Sangam). Here lies a magnificent statue of Lord Hanuman which is believed to be of Ramayana era.
- Dashaswamedh Gath (On the bank of Ganges in Daraganj). According to Hindu mythology this was the spot where Lord Bramha performed Parikshit Yajna and city got its name Prayag
- Jhusi-Tallest Hanuman Mandir. The temple is an unusually tall Hanuman deity along with 108 Shivalingas.
- Mankameshwar Mandir. The 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 Vimana Mandapam. Build in South Indian style, the temple offers a great view of Sangam and surrounding areas.
- Someshwar Mahadev Temple.
- Fun Gaon Amusement Water Park, Kaushambi Road, Allahabad. 11:00 to 18:00.
- Hear the azaan. Wake up at dawn and hear the azaan as the temple bells ring.
- Take a dip at Sangam. Spiritual 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 Yamuna. Always bargain for a good price, and for safety avoid wearing jewellery.
- Walk in the Magh/Kumbh mela area. The 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 Yamuna. Various 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.
- Astrology. Being 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.
- Kriyayoga Ashram and Research Institute, Near Shastri Bridge, Jhunsi, ☎ +91 532 256 9243, e-mail: KriyayogaAllahabad@hotmail.com. Allahabad 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
- Rasgulle. A 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 Ganga. Small brass pots of water from the Ganga sealed with wax make a good souvenir, and are widely near Sangam.
Allahabad is paradise for those who are made for taste. If you are in Allahabad, then do not forget to enjoy the Mughalai cuisine of North India.Out of innumerable spots for having delicacies of the North Indian cuisine, a mere glimpse is here. Loknath area of the city may be your favorite spot if you are foody and comfortable with hustle and bustle of 'ilahabadi raunak'.
Cheap 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 Bhandar, 60-B, Loknath, Chowk, ☎ +91 532 645 2079. a candy store selling also sandwiches and Indian snacks
- Hari Ram & Sons, Loknath, 16, Chowk, Rani Mandi, ☎ +91 94546 99618. Salted 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 Wala. for 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 main gate
- Cheap 'Dhaba style' restaurants are located near the railway station. They are a good option for having a heavy Mughalai nosh-up. Try Milan Da Dhaba at Leader & Station Rd (+91 80049 22576).
- Chaat at Bahrana Triangle
- Enjoy 'Paan' - Indian mouth freshener, kiosks at every step in the city
- Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), Shop No. 3-5, Elgin Road. Mon-SUN 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM. The Allahabad' outlet of the Indian café chain. popularly known as CCD, A trendy hangout for teen/young people. Sandwiches, veg burgers, pastries, coffee & tea
- Domino's Pizza, Ground Floor, 31A/31, Plot No. QQ1, Sardar Patel Marg, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 226 0752. 11AM–11PM. Veg Pizzas, Double Cheese Margherita, Mexican Green Wav, Veggie Paradise etc.
- The Patio, Strachey Road, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 256 0123. A multi Cuisine restaurant at the lobby floor of Kanha Shyam Hotel. Indian specialties are served at the second floor.
- Sagar Ratna, 3/3, Hashimpur Road, Balson Crossing, Near Anand Bhawan,, ☎ +91 532 329 0523. 10AM–11PM No rest day. Indian, Chinese, Continental, pizzas and pasta dishes in a simple, family-friendly restaurant.
- Cafe 1866, 16 Tashkent Marg, ☎ +91 532 2407835. The poolside restaurant at the Allahabad Regency Hotel serves local, continental and Chinese dishes.
- El Chico, 24, M.G. Marg, Civil Lines., ☎ +91 532 2420075. 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 Restaurant, 49A, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 94508 48669. 9AM–8:30PM. Sunday closed. Continental cuisine, tasty non-veg dishes.
- Khana Khazana, 13, Sardar Patel Marg, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 226 0631. 6.30 am until 11 pm. Located at 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.
Pubs are very few. Glassy Junction at hotel Milan Palace, Civil Lines, is a good one to hang around on weekends. Another place that comes closest to being a pub is on the top floor of the Kanha Shyam hotel in Civil Lines. Some restaurants, like Hasty Tasty restaurant, Hotel Regency, and the Tourist Bungalow, all situated in Civil Lines, offer chilled beer and liquor. However, most other restaurants do not have liquor on their menu. Drinking in public is frowned upon, drinking in family restaurants is not allowed at all.
Allahabad is the host of the largest gathering in the world and rich in hotels in almost every part of the city.Details of a few of them are here.
Various dharmshalas are available at negligible charges in old city. Daraganj and Kydganj have plenty of Dharmshalas which are freely available.
- Hotel Kanha Shyam (Civil Lines), Strachey Road, ☎ +91 532 256 0123. Check-in: 12:00 noon, check-out: 12:00 noon.
- Royal Hotel, Nawab Yusuf Rd (near Allahabad junction Train Junction), ☎ 2427201, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12 noon. Used 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. ₹200-₹700.
- Hotel Kohinoor, 10, Nurulla Road,, ☎ +91 532-2655501 +91 93071 44330. Garden, Veg, non veg restaurant, 24 hour security staff & Video surveillance in hallways
- Valentines Hotel, 7/3/2B, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 256 0030. All rooms are AC with double bed. 24 hours internet. Open air restaurant
- Clarks Inn Ajay International, A/2/D,Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg,Civil Lines,Opposite GPO, ☎ +91 93367 62824.
- Hotel Allahabad Regency (Regency), Tashkent Marg, ☎ +91 532-2407835, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Hotel Milan Palace, 4/2, Strachy Road Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 2421 505, toll-free: +91 5032 242109, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Samrat, 49A, MG Marg, Civil Lines, ☎ +91 532 256 1200.
- 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
- Nandan Kanan amusement park - 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