Posted 07 October 2022
The city of Prayagraj is a conurbation in the state of Uttar Pradesh with its economic, religious, cultural and political factors holding prominence. The city is situated at the confluence of three rivers also known as the ‘Triveni Sangam’ which include; Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, which is a sacred locus in the Hindu custom. Regarding its etymological significance, the term means "the king among the five prayāgas," significant its prominence among the five prayags (or confluences) in India.
In his Akbarnama, the Mughal Emperor Akbar stated that he found ‘a great city’ in the landmark, Ilahabas or Ilahabad. The city is the host to various festivities including the Indira Marathon and the Prayag Kumbh Mela. With an illustrious past brimming with history, the city is home to mythological and historical events. It is a mini-India with people of different cultures residing together in harmony. Why is Prayagraj considered holy? Well, its sanctity is unquestioned given its references mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharat.
The city has also given the country its prime ministers namely; Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh. And former prime minister Chandra Shekhar who is an alumnus of Allahabad University. From its early days to the modern wheels in motion, Prayagraj has been a holistic centre of the country, being the gracious hosts of history, learning and wisdom.
The Triveni Sangam is a sacred confluence of three rivers; the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati and hold prominence in Hindu culture. As per Hindu beliefs, a holy dip in the pious waters of the Sangam can relieve a person of their sins. People also take a dip into the river to attain moksha or salvation. The evening ‘aarti,’ a ceremony wherein devotees’ light candles to seek blessings from God is a sight not to be missed. Held at the Nehru Ghat and the Saraswati Ghat, are located near the Sangam, the entire flight of steps can be seen illuminated with diyas and candles. The rivers radiate the light from diyas and exhibit hues of orange and yellow. To savor the pious atmosphere, one can also take a boat at Qila Ghat.
The Prayagraj Fort stands as a reminder of the past of the city. Built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1583, the fort presides on the banks of Yamuna and is recognised by the Archaeological Survey of India as a landmark of national importance. The intricacies in its composition and magnificent craftsmanship have made this landmark a popular landmark.
Within the walls of the fort are located the Ashoka Pillar and Saraswati Koop. The Ashoka Pillar celebrates the fourth ruler of the Mughal empire- Jahangir, which is inscribed in Persian and is situated 10.6 m high. Within the fort lies three corridors whose area have been limited for the visit as it has now been occupied by the army. The exterior walls of the fort wash up with the water of Yamuna and is a sight not to be missed.
The fort is open to visitors all days, from 07:00 to 18:00 hr.
The Shankar Viman Temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. A major landmark in Prayagraj, the temple is located on the north of Triveni Sangam and is built in the fond memory of Adi Shankaracharya, a renowned Indian theologian and philosopher, who was also the founder of four monasteries that have believed to help India succeed in the revival and advancement of Advaita Vedanta.
The four-story landmark boasts a south Indian ‘Vimana’ composition and houses idols of various deities. This site is open to devotees and visitors all days a week from morning to evening. The Shankar Viman Temple is for every pilgrim who wishes to indulge in the divine ambience of the temple and appreciate its surroundings.
The Madan Mohan Malaviya Park is located along the bank of river Yamuna. It is named after the Indian scholar and education reformer Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, who is also known for his contribution to the freedom struggle of the nation. The construction of a memorial with four lions is a popular attraction of the park and was constructed by the Earl of Minto. Apart from its lush greenery and clear skies, the park also has certain historical significance. In 1858, the declaration of Queen Victoria’s proclamation was read out here. The park stays open to visitors all days of the week from morning to evening and is the perfect spot for a family outing.
Built in 1979 and located near Anand Bhawan, the Jawahar Planetarium is managed by the Nehru Fund. This landmark is the perfect experience for children as it offers educational and interactive sessions and generates their interest in science.
A notable attraction of this place is the sky watching session that allows you to appreciate the night sky through an artificial layout. This is a complete fun packed session for your kids as the centre provides all facts and information regarding galaxies, the universe and satellites. There is also a provision of lectures hosted for interested kids above five years of age. The lecture is annually held on the birth anniversary of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. The planetarium remains accessible throughout the year from Tuesday to Sunday. The planetarium remains closed on Monday and every fourth Thursday of the month.
Built in 1931, the Prayagraj Museum is set up within the premises of Chandra Shekhar Azad Park and is maintained by the Ministry of Culture. Setting an example in saving energy, the museum has become the first in its history to use solar power in power generation.
The museum has an assorted repository of valuable sculptures that date back to the Gupta period in the history of the nation. Besides this, the nation also has an array of paintings, records, artefacts and photographs on display. It houses galleries dedicated to Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, each displaying valuables possessed by the figureheads throughout their lifetime. Furthermore, the pistol of Chandra Shekhar Azad is also preserved in the museum.
The museum is the perfect landmark for history enthusiasts and not just them- it must be visited by every Indian to learn a fragment of the historic Independence struggle. The place will imbibe within you a sense of pride and gratitude to the forefathers who spent their lives freeing India.
The museum is open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed for the public on Monday. There is a fee levied on domestic and international citizens and an extra amount is also charged for clicking pictures. All in all, this landmark is a must-visit.
The Khusro Bagh is a walled garden and is one of the heritage attractions of the city.
The structure composition of the place induced with intricate designs justifies the work of Mughal architecture. This historical landmark houses a mausoleum complex - it holds the tombs of Jahangir’s son Khusro Mirza, his wife Shah Begum, and his daughter Sultan Nithar Begum. The three tombs are constructed with red sandstone and encapsulate a fake cenotaph, a classic to Islamic architecture. This landmark is open to visitors and does not charge any entry fee for domestic as well as international visitors.
With regards to local getaways in the city, buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis are common ways to travel through the city.
Common to north-Indian plains, the city experiences a humid subtropical climate. The temperature reaches above 48°C from March to September so it is not recommended since the climate is not very accommodating. The monsoon season starts from June to August and the climate during that time is moderate. However, the optimum time to
visit the grandeur of the city would be during the winter season which ranges from December to February. Low temperatures give way to pleasant weather making your visit to the temple city of India, a great success.
With an exuberant arrangement of architectural composition throughout, Prayagraj is a diverse city that encapsulates important landmarks from different faiths. Visiting this city is an experience of a lifetime.