Khumb Mela, Allahabad The most sacred spot in Allahabad is Triveni Sangam, the confluence of three of the holiest rivers of the Hindu mythology, the holy Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Devout Hindus from all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy waters. It is believed that a holy dip taken at the Sangam washes away all sins.
The Prakrista Yajna was performed here by Lord Brahma. That is how it received its ancient name, Prayag. Allahabad is also called Tirtha-Raja, king of all holy places. It is said that Lord Rama visited Allahabad when He was in exile.
Allahabad is one of the oldest cities in India. It is located 135 km west of Varanasi, at the confluence of India's two most important rivers-the Yamuna and Ganges. It is 585 km southeast of Delhi and 160 km south of Ayodhya. The main spiritual reason for coming here is to take bath in the Sangam, to confluence (where rivers meet), of the Yamuna, Ganges, and the underground Saraswati Rivers. It is one of the major pilgrimage sites in all of India.
Unique Pilgriamage Attraction of Allahabad
Kumbha -mela is held here every 12 years. It also takes place in three other holy places in India every 12 years-Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. The Kumbha-mela in Prayag (Allahabad) is considered especially auspicious. It draws about 15 million people and is the largest attended event in the world. This is a very interesting event.There are several especially auspicious bathing days. A huge temporary city is created for the millions of pilgrims that arrive for the most auspicious bathing days.
Every 6 years there is an Ardha-mela (half mela), which draws about 7 million people. Each year there is a regular Mela during the month of Magha, January-February, which draws one or two million people. The next Kumbha-mela is January, 2001. One of the most auspicious bathing days is Amavasya, the new moon day.
Kumbha-mela is like a "Yogi Convention", where yogis, sadhus(saints), holy people, and pilgrims come from all over India. Many sadhus come from various holy places, the most remote forests, and mountain caves in the Himalayas. The most famous are the Naga Babas, Siva worshipers who are completely naked. They cover their bodies only with ash and wear their hair in dreadlocks.
On the most auspicious bathing days there is a big parade, and the bathing order is very strictly observed. Not only are there especially auspicious days, but there are especially auspicious times of the day to bathe, and people are willing to die to bathe at the most auspicious time. The first to enter the water are the Naga Babas, who arrive dancing with enthusiasm. Then each different religious group enters the water in a prearranged order.
The holiest of all the rivers, Ganga or the Ganges is a perennial river, which is held in high regard by the Hindus. The Ganga river has an exalted position in the Hindu ethos.
The Gangotri Glacier, a vast expanse of ice five miles by fifteen, at the foothills of the Himalayas (14000 ft) in north Uttar Pradesh is the source of Bhagirathi, which joins with Alaknanda (origins nearby), to form Ganga at the craggy, canyon-carved town of Devprayag.
Bath in Kumbh Mela FestivalThis is where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. This place is considered to be the most important holy bathing place in India. The muddy-colored Ganges in shallower and more rapid. The Yamuna is bluer and deeper. The most auspicious time to bathe in the Sangam is during Kumbha -mela. It is also especially auspicious to bathe here during the month Magh (January-February).
Hanuman is in a reclining posture, a few feet below the ground, instead of his usual standing posture. It is said that every year the Ganges floods until it touches the sleeping Hanuman's feet and then it starts receding.
This temple is located by the Sangam side of the Fort and is busy small temple open to non-Hindus. There are nice carvings on the nearby Sri Adhi Shankara Temple, which has a Sri Tirupati Balaji Deity.
Patalpuri Temple (Undying Tree)
It is located through a small doorway, in the wall of the fort, on the way to the boats that go to the Sangam. It is an underground temple with many different deities carved in stone. The Akshayavata Tree is said to never die, even when the entire world is destroyed. It is located in the underground temple. The tree is on a deep niche, above an underground hole that is said to lead to the Triveni.
This ashram is mentioned in the Ramayana. Allahabad University now occupies the place where the ashram of Bharadwaja Rishi and his 10,000 disciples is said to have been located. There are the temples of Bharadwajeswara Mahadeva, Rishi Bharadwaja, and Kali here. It is said that Lord Rama and Sita visited this place when they began Their 14-year exile.
Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math
There is a Gaudiya Math temple, the Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math, on South Mallaca Street, in the Madhavapur area. This temple is by the Ganges River on the way to the Sangam from downtown. Srila Prabhupada took initiation here from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Maharaja.
At Ramchaura-Shringverpur(40 km.), on the bank of the Ganges, there is a platform called Ram Chabutara, which marks the spot where Lord Rama is supposed to have stayed before going to the forest in exile. It is said that before Lord Rama corssed the Ganges here, the boatman washed His feet. There are also temples dedicated to Panchmukhi (five-faced) Hanuman and Shring Rishi. Lakshagriha (45km) is said to be the place where the house of lac of the Pandavas was located. A big mound marks this spot.
One of the largest congregations of devout Hindus from all over the world, the Kumbh Mela is held once every 12 years, on the banks of the Sangam. A holy dip in the sacred waters, and offerings to the Sun-God, are believed to cleanse the soul.
Ardh Kumbh Mela
The half Kumbh, this festival is held once every six years, on the banks of the Sangam.
Dussehra time in Allahabad is an experience, unrivalled by any other in the rest of northern India. During this period, in the evening and at night, beautifully decorated tableau are taken out from different localities, depicting various scenes from Indian mythology.
How to Get There
The nearest airports are Varanasi, Kanpur and Lucknow.
The city has direct rail connections with important cities like Delhi, Calcutta, Patna, Gwalior, Meerut, Chennai, Mumbai, Varanasi and Guwahati.
Allahabad, on National Highway 2 and 27, is connected to the rest of the country by good, motorable all-weather roads.