“Incredible India”, the country’s official slogan, is no exaggeration at Allahabad. Legend has it that the god Brahma named it Tirth Raj or “king of pilgrimage centres”. It is here that the incredible Maha Kumbha Mela is held once every 12 years.
Allahabad is the second oldest town in India and a key pilgrimage centre. Its original name was Prayaga, which means “place of offerings”. According to Hindu mythology Brahma the creator god chose a place for himself where three sacred rivers would meet. A confluence of three rivers is called a Triveni Sangam.
In Allahabad, the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati meet (the Saraswati is not visible, but legend has it that it flows underground). It is at the Triveni Sangam that pilgrims take boats to the ritual bathing platforms.
Allahabad is one of the cities that host the spectacular Kumbha Mela, a pilgrimage lasting a month and a half during which millions of Hindus meet to bathe in a sacred river. This vast “fairground” is considered the world’s largest religious assembly. Eighty million people came to Allahabad for the 2013 Maha Kumbha Mela!
The Kumbha Mela pilgrimage is held every three years, alternating between Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain, so that its takes place in each town once every 12 years. But every six years Haridwar and Allahabad host an Ardha Kumbh Mela (half Kumbha Mela) and Allahabad also hosts the Magh Mela every year in January.
= > Other places to visit in Allahabad : Patalpuri temple in Allahabad fort, Hanuman temple, Anand Bhavan, Khusro Bagh, Allahabad Museum.
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