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Allahabad - City of God

     The city of Allahabad is 135 Km west of Varanasi at the confluence of two of India's most important rivers - the Ganges and the Yamuna(Jumna). This meeting point of the rivers, the Sangam, is believed to have great soul cleansing powers and is a major pilgrimage site. It is even more holy because the invisible Saraswati river is supposed to join the Ganges and the Yamuna at this point. Every 12 years the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest's pilgrimage gathering, draws millions for a holy dip here.


     Built on a very ancient site, Allahabad was known in Aryan times as Prayag, and Brahma himself is said to have performed a sacrifice here. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang described visiting the city in 634 AD, and it acquired its present name in 1584, under Empror Akbar. Later Allahabd was taken by the Marathas, sacked by the Pathans and finally ceded to the British in 1801 by the Nawab of Awadh.

     It was in Allahabd that the East India Company officially handed over control of India to the British government in 1858, following the Mutiny. The city was a centre of the Indian National Congress and at the conference here in 1920, Mahatma Gandhi Proposed his programme of nonviolent aggression to achieve independence.


     Allahabad is less congested and more modern than its sister city, touristy Varanasi. Civil Lines, with its modern shopping centre(and numerous bookshops), has broad treelined avenues and the main bus terminals. The older part of town is near the Yamuna river. The hub of the older part of the city is known as Chowk, and this is also the location of the main produce market, Loknath.

Kumbh Mela