“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that catches your heart“
Hello! today sitting by a sigree on a cold chilly day, I thought to pen a blog about a place close to my heart as I was brought up here (my father was posted here) spent my growing up years in this beautiful place. You must be curious to know about the place I am going to write. Sometimes a thought of immortality must have pervaded your mind what if you get nectar of life (Amrit) your life get devoid of any sin you have committed and get rejuvenated.A place where largest congregation of people on earth come to celebrate the myth of elixir on the confluence of 3 rivers (one mythical mentioned in the Vedas) stand testimony to its golden era. Lets explore Allahabad (Prayag) the city of elixir.
Geographical condition: We all must have studied geography now its time to use it to locate Allahabad (Prayag)
Latitude & longitude: 25.45N, 82.5E
Weather: Allahabad has subtropical weather hot humid in summer and dry cold with fog during winters much similar as other north Indian cities.
picture courtesy:mapsof india.com
Historical past: Though for few, history seems boring but this one is interesting. It is said that once after Brahma created universe performed Prakrista Yagya making it one of the most holiest place as referred in various scriptures. It is also the birthplace of some, Varuna, Prajapati also many sages like Bharadwaj, Durvasa make it their seat of learning. Gradually during passage of history it was ruled by Mauryan, Maratha, Mughals when Jahangir making it a capital for a day. Nearby places like Kaushambi and Jhunsi are equally important historically. Thereafter British ruled and built many monuments like Mughals. During independence it was prominent in its freedom struggle. After independence it gained prominence with many politicians, scholars, stalwarts shaping its destiny.
Interesting & popular places: People always want to know about the popular joints in the city. Here are few of them which makes Allahabad and gets its recognition from:
1.Sangam (place of confluence of 3 rivers Ganga,Yamuna, mythical Saraswati) place of Kumbh Mela
2. Akbar fort(built by Akbar in 1575)
3. Leta Hanuman Mandir
4. Anand Bhawan & Planetarium
7. Hathi park
8. Chandra Shekhar Azad park
9 Lalita Devi Mandir
Educational institutes: 1. Allahabad University
2. Medical College
5. Agricultural Institute
Famous schools:1.Girls high school
2.St Marys School 3.Boys High School 4.St. Joseph’s School 5. Bishop Johnson School 6.Maharshi Patanjali 7. Kendriya Vidyalaya to name only a few
Some lesser known places:
Bharadwaj ashram, Shiv kuti,parela mahadev mandir, ram krishna mission, gaudiya math
Kumbh Mela: Story behind
“anyakshetre kritam paapam punyakshetre vinashyati.punyashetre kritam paapam prayag teerthanayake vinashyati”(all sins can be eradicated in allahabad) rig veda
We all know that kumbh Mela occurs after 12 years at Allahabad (Mahakumbh) and Ardh Kumbh at nasik, Haridwar & Ujjain where millions throng to bath and get rid of their sin,but do we really know about the story behind, lets catch the folklore.
This folklore started the foundation of Kumbh Mela earliest reference could be found in Hiuen Tsang(traveler) travelogue where king Harsh Vardhana continued the tradition of mahakumbh. Later Adi Shankaracharya gave its vedic sanatan approach making it largest congregation of saints, learned disciples and formed 10 Akharas existing till today.
Secrets of Kumbh Mela: When nectar fell in Prayag there was specific constellation which when fall, then only Mahakumbh occurs.When Jupiter enters Aquarius (Jupiter takes 13 months to go to another constellation) & Sun enters Aries. During Simhasta Kumbh Jupiter enters Leo. Now the folklore is due to this extraordinary constellation, produces magnetic energy so mythical Saraswati bubbles its way up mixing with Ganga & Yamuna producing elixir like properties, where bathing itself free us from the clutches of disease & sin but also reaches 88th generation of ancestors and purify them. Its amazing that 120 million people from various parts of the world Saints, Scholars, learned, Naga sadhus attend. Main baths (snans) are: 1. Mauni Amabasya, 2. Makar Sankranti, 3. Basant Panchami, 4. Shivratri.
Shivratri is celebrated in Varanasi where Kashi Viswanath resides, to know everything visit
Festivals: Since the festive season have started its interesting to note that all the festivals are celebrated with much fervor, Holi(Choti Holi, Badi Holi with color splashed all over) at evening Kavi Sammelan (poet congregation) occurs and people meet and greet each other followed by sweets (ghujiya ) and hand made papads (I distinctly remember mummy making papads and sweets painstakingly and offering to guests) that aroma still lingers on conscious mind. Diwali is celebrated for 2 days as Choti Diwali, Badi Diwali preceded by Dhanteras. Durga puja and Dussehra are added attractions when unique Ramdal processions(Patherchatti, Pajawa are famous ancient Ramdals) are taken out. Ramlila (genuine one not the Bollywood movie) does happen in every corner also Jagran (devotional songs played by singers whole night) takes place. Dussehra reaches its peak with Raavan Vadh (folklore has that Lord Rama killed Raavan in fierce battle on Vijayadashami ) ie Dussehra.
Food trail: Talking of food Allahabad has quite a number of world famous food corners.street food is also popular among the people. We use to go and savor this delicacies during my childhood days whether at civil lines or chowk it was lip smacking as rich aroma of namkeens, chaat, kachouris, panipuri wafted through air. Here I am listing some of the food joints which I really like.
1.Netram ki Kachouri Sabzi
2.Heera halwai ke samose
3. Nirala ki chaat:
5. Churmura at Civil lines:
6. Loknath ke Achaar
7. Sweets from Hanuman Mandir: They are really affordable made of desi ghee and tastes best.
8. Raja ram rabri
9. Radhe ki fruit cream
10. Sulaki ki Balushahi
11. Hari ke namkeen: This is most popular for namkeens
Other Famous joints:
Kanha Shyam: This is star rated hotel with good ambience, food catering to niche clients. I visited twice and felt the same.
El-chico, Hot Stuff: These 2 places quite popular among the youngsters we use to flock there with our friends for a pastry or pizza during our school/college days.
Tamarind Tree: This place is somewhat new but the ambience and sitting arrangement with rustic setting ,serving south Indian food is amazing.
Vinayak complex: This a new mall having cineplex and food joints like pizza hut and KFC.
Other shops: Sanwaldas, Tantuja, Gaya Prasad Gokul prasad
Unknown facts of ALLAHABAD:
1.New Yamuna Bridge to Naini, longest cable stayed bridge in India.
2. During Kumbh temporary city is erected near the river banks
3.Allahabad guavas. Sukhna, Safeda, Arka Mridula is world famous & we use to savour with rock salt during winters. The taste still lingers while I am writing.
4.Sea gulls from Siberia in Ganges are found during winters.
5.Allahabad was a capital for a day.
6.Celebrities: 7 prime ministers, poets, film stars, scholars
7.Allahabad university once known as oxford of the east.
8. IST-measured from Allahabad 82.5 E longitude reference line.
9.Worlds first airmail service from Allahabad in 1911.
10.Allahabad high court- 1869 first in India.
11.Akbar fort has Patalpuri, Akshay Vat, Asoka pillar
12.Hub of civil service aspirants & publication house like Wheelers, Patrika, Mitra Prakashan.
Conclusion: Though want to write more but there is limitation of space & time. All I can say is do visit ALLAHABAD once, you will find peace within the tranquil waters of Ganges where boatmen sings his folk songs and take you to Sangam where your soul unifies for an infinite pleasure. Till my next blog which would be a special edition happy traveling.
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some picture courtesy: pixabay,flickr, alamy.