A city that itself is a confluence in identities galore, each one asserting in much distinction and as being of much importance, the case in Indianness for Allahabad is one of many influences. Steeped in the prime identity of having been the capital of the country for a day but recognised more in its holy heritage of being the prime point of occurrence of the Tribeni Sangam, and drawing upon this latter strand of global prominence to emerge specifically as a pilgrimage site in its touristic endeavor, Allahabad finds itself expressing through an existence of multilinear leanings.
Rich in all aspects of history and heritage, ambient in its appreciation of the arts and culture, and profusely steeped in profound ideals of the religious to be sacrosanct almost, this well known city of the famous Kumbh Mela alluding has scouted out also for itself different expanses of residing courtesy its many a names. Revered in Hinduism as the ‘king of all pilgrimage centers’ by the creator Brahma while occurring in the Mughal understanding as the Garden of Allah or Ilahabad by Emperor Akbar and no less significant as well in its more recent endowing of emerging as Prayagraj, drawing in fact upon the Vedic veneration of it as Prayaga or the ‘city of offerings’, this is an existence in dynamism forever holding on to its differential appeal. Here’s what fans further the famed essence of this living city-
A specimen of Mughal architecture in Allahabad is the walled garden and burial complex of Khushro Bagh. In its quadrangled appearance, the garden houses the three mausoleums of Jahangir’s revolting eldest son Khusrau Mirza alongside that of his mother Shah Begum and sister Nithar. Named also after Khusrau, the present day tourist attraction though isn’t just ubiquitous in its Mughal identity. Equally relevant has been its occurring as the headquarters of the sepoys during the Revolt of 1857 against the British rule in India, making this historic already structure even more deeply immersed in the experiences of history.
One of the oldest modern universities of India and recognised as well as an Institution of National Importance, the Allahabad University is another proud area of dwelling for the city. Established in 1887, this institution of higher education is also referred to as the Oxford of the East despite the identity of Pune University being more intertwined with that description in esteem. Asserting as a central university in its present state of existence, this namesake university of Allahabad is a premier center of learning with its alumni finding eminence in different fields of recognition over the years.
Indeed much of the essence of Allahabad as a holy land arises out of it being one of the points of confluence of the three rivers. Emerging as the point where the clear Ganga waters distinctly blend with the green water of the Yamuna river with also a revered and mystical Saraswati believed to be the third identity of this coming together of the sacred waters is the city of Allahabad in its much celebrated identity.
Occurring some 7 kilometers away from the Civil Lines, this site of immense religious importance is a tourist attraction indeed in all its prominent significance. The phenomenon makes also for a sight to behold though, in the stunning merge of the colors as well as in the view of the numerous platforms raised upon which puja is performed. A dip in the waters at that point is believed to be the holiest form of salvation that Hindus can attain during their lifetime, making this place always emerge as being a crowded but soulful still expanse of existence.
Upon this premise of prominence as being the place of congregation of the three rivers emerges also another as distinctive identity of Allahabad. Unfurling as the world’s largest peaceful gathering is the Kumbh Mela or the Maha Kumbh that takes place every 12 years with Allahabad being one of the venues. An occurrence in religious celebration as well as festive revelry is this pilgrimage festival, the fair also sees a six year spacing out of Ardh Kumbh celebrations as well as an annual Magh Mela that takes place every January. A gigantic phenomenon to witness and experience both in the feel and essence of it, the assertion of the Kumbh indeed is one of the most prominent standpoints of the tourism scene in Allahabad.
City of Prime Ministers
Finding reference as one of the world’s earliest cities in Hindu mythological texts has been the assertion of Allahabad as a very historic city. It isn’t however just its rooting in antiquity that makes it partaking of a history much distinguished. Equally historic in another area of revealing is this place famed as being the Indian City of Prime Ministers. With seven of the nation’s fifteen Prime Ministers till date hailing from this Uttar Pradesh metropolis not necessarily in birth though, including the first and longest serving PM of independent India Jawaharlal Nehru, the city has very aptly come to be known as the Prime Minister Capital of India. Quite a prime distinction indeed to claim for itself that characteristic fame in which it is so steeped today.
All Saints Cathedral
The city of Allahabad might be one revered in its religiousness by the Hindus but one standout structure of the city happens to be the All Saints Cathedral. Built in the Gothic style of architecture by the British during their rule over India in beige sandstone, and known therefore also as the Patthar Girja, this is an impressive specimen indeed resplendent in its beautiful glass and marble work. Housing also a remarkable lantern tower, the Victoria Tower, the cathedral makes for a famous tourist attraction in both sightseeing and pious relaying of essence.
Allahabad might be an ancient city but not every feature of distinction about the place is rooted in history. A modern identity in fame for the place happens to be emerging from a certain residential neighborhood making up the present day city. Known as Kareli, this development of 1979 happened under the Awas Vikas as one of the biggest planned neighborhoods in the entire country. Currently the second largest colony of India in terms of area, Kareli occurs also as one of the expensive residential localities in Allahabad and had been particularly impressive at the time it was developed.
Allahabad is known for its many temples- something very characteristic indeed of its manifestation as a place of religious importance. With many ancient such places of Hindu worship scattered all over its territory, including 12 Madhava Temples, the city might be prominent again in this aspect of residing as well. But what strikes still as an uniquity in this wide recurrence of the templed identity is a certain Hanuman Mandir. While the architecture of the structure itself is one of magnificence and the vibe of the place is one as assertive as well what with a 20 foot long gigantic statue of the Lord gracing the interiors, this particular temple also has another definite dimension of boasting.
An important landmark of Allahabad located near the city’s namesake fort is this Hanuman temple that gets completely submerged in the waters of the Ganga when the river is in full flow. Legend has it that the extent of this rise in the water level of the Ganges occurs out of a desire to touch the feet of the statue. No wonder that with such display of reverence, the temple has been one of the most visited attractions of the city.
Allahabad is unique indeed a city in boasting of its food in a certain form of it. While many a pan Indian favorites of the culinary tend to be redefined in their special preparation in this part of the country much like everywhere else, it is a certain fruit that endows upon Allahabad a distinction that can never be claimed by any other. Stunningly pink in its apple shaped show and as delicious in taste, the Allahabadi surkha is one of the varieties of guava that standouts yet again as an alluding to the diversive geographical identity.
A GI tagged food indeed, this sweet smelling and juicy guava is famous the world over. Specifically in the city of its origins, the fruit is sheer delight with even an array of medicinal properties attributed to its pleasing ‘personality’. Striking as well in its apple red skin and delightful in its less sporting of seeds, this makes for a bite of heaven worthy of relishing anytime you happen to be in the city steeped already in all connotations of the divine.
Also called the New Yamuna Bridge, this architectural landmark of Allahabad stems also in a national prominence of being the longest cable stayed bridge in India. Offering stunning vistas of the river as well, while being serving still of the requirement in connecting Allahabad with Naini, this among one of the first six laned bridges of the country is a definite identity of the city across which it spans.