Allahabad finds mention in the holy scriptures-the Vedas and the grand epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and in the Puranas-as Prayag. Hindu mythology has it that Lord Brahma, the creator, chose a piece land on earth, on which the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati would flow into a quiet confluence.
He referred to it as 'Tirtharaj' or the 'king of all pilgrimage centers.' Allahabad's antiquity attracted curious itinerants from even the Far East. Huen Tsang and Fa Hien, the Chinese travelers, who visited it in the fifth and the seventh centuries respectively, found it a flourishing state.
As time wore on, Allahabad found playing itself host to the royalty, including the illustrious Harsha, Akbar, Dara Shikoh, Khusro, and Queen Victoria. In 1575, the Mughal Emperor Akbar named it 'Illahabas.' Akbar realized its strategic importance and built a magnificent fort on the banks of the holy Sangam.
Over the centuries that followed, Allahabad remained on the forefront of national importance-more so 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, poets, writers, thinkers, and political leaders. Allahabad today is an important city where history, culture, and religion create a confluence-much like the sacred rivers that caress this God-graced land.
The meeting point of the Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati rivers, Sangam is around 7 km from Civil Lines. This is one of the most sacred places of the Hindu religion. It hosts the Maha Kumbh Mela (the largest gathering of Hindus) and Ardh Kumbh. 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. Boats are available for visitors.
Near the Sangam is situated the Allahabad Fort built by Akbar in the AD 1583. Unrivalled for its design and craftsmanship in its heydays, the fort is now used by the army and only a part of it is open to the visitors. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. The visitors are allowed to see the Ashoka Pillar, Saraswati Kup (a well said to be the source of the river Saraswati), and Jodhabai Palace. The Patalpur temple and the much-revered Akshaya Vat (immortal Banyan tree) are also here.
Swaraj Bhawan, the historical building built by Motilal Nehru, was donated to the nation in 1930 to be used as the headquarters of the Congress Committee. The former prime minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi was born here.
A fine museum today, Anand Bhawan was once home to one of the most powerful families of Indian politics, the Nehrus. Today, it houses memorabilia of the Gandhi-Nehru family.
Khusro Bagh is a large garden where tombs of Khusro, son of emperor Jahangir, and Shah Begum are located.
Hanuman Mandir is a unique temple famous for the supine image of Hanuman. This is the only temple to have Hanuman in a reclining posture.
Mayo Memorial Hall is situated near the Thornhill and Myne Memorial. This large hall has a 180-feet high tower. Professor Gamble of the South Kensington Museum, London, ornamented the interior of this memorial hall with designs. Completed in 1879, this hall was meant for public meetings, balls and receptions in commemoration of the assassinated Viceroy.
Other place to visit are Shankar Viman Mandapam, Mankameshwar Temple,
All Saints Cathedral (Patthar Girjaghar), Minto Park, Allahabad University,
Allahabad museum, Minto park, Muir College, Jawahar Planetarium, Chandra
Shekhar Azad Park, and public library.
Lucknow is well connected with the other important towns and cities of the country by air. Most of the domestic flight operators have regular scheduled flights to the Lucknow airport Amausi, which is about 15 km away from the main city area.
Almost all the major train routes touch this city. With the two major railway junctions namely Charbagh and Lucknow that lie side by side, one has a variety of choices for travelling to and from the city.
Lucknow is very well connected by a network of roads and road transport to all major towns of Uttar Pradesh and surrounding areas. Delhi is 497 km from Lucknow, Agra is 363 km away, Allahabad is 238 km, Dehradun is 582 km, Kanpur is 77 km, and Varanasi is 300 km.