Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
A city of many dimensions is what befits a description of Allahabad. In addition to being a major pilgrimage centre, the city has played an important part in the formation of modern India. Hindu mythology states that Lord Brahma, the creator god, chose a land for 'Prakrishta Yajna'. This land, at the confluence of three holy rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, blessed by gods, came to be known as 'Prayag' or 'Allahabad'.
Around 7 km from Civil Lines, overlooked by the eastern ramparts of the fort, wide flood plains and muddy banks protrude towards the sacred Sangam. At the point at which the brown Ganges meets the Greenish Yamuna, pandas (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 for their deceased parents.
The sacred Sangam is the confluence of three of the holiest rivers in Hindu mythology – Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Boats are available for visitors.
The Maha Kumbh Mela - the "Great" Kumbh Mela - is the largest religious fair in India, attended by literally millions of rejoicing the vast floodplains and river banks adjacent to the confluence are overrun by pilgrims, tents, organized in almost military fashion by the government, the local authorities and the police.
The massive fort built by emperor Akbar in 1583 A.D., the fort stands on the banks of the Yamuna near the confluence site. In its prime, the fort was unrivalled for its design, construction and craftsmanship. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. At present is used by the army and only a limited area is open to visitors.