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ALLAHABAD is situated at the confluence of the two rivers, the Yamuna and the Ganga in the state of Uttar Pradesh. With a population of almost 5 million inhabitants, it is one of the largest cities in Uttar Pradesh. The region of Allahabad is ancient city that was called the Vats country in the pre-Buddhist period. Vats was one of 'Rishis' or sages of Vedic period. In antiquity the city was called Prayag and after Varanasi, it is according to many scholars the oldest continuously inhabited city of India. It was one of the early Aryan settlements in the planes of Yamuna and Ganga Rivers. "Prayagasya Praveshshu Papam Nashwati Tatkshanam" - all sins are cleaned with entry in Prayag, says an ancient Sanskrit language text. The 'Sangam' or confluence of Yamuna and Ganga Rivers in Allahabad is the place of the world's largest religious festival - the Maha Kumbha Mela, that takes place every twelve years. The next Maha Kumbh Mela will take place at Sangam in February 2013. In the last Maha Kumbh Mela in 2001 about 70 million pilgrims participated. The earliest monument of antiquity in Allahabad is the Ashoka Pillar from 3rd. century BCE on which an inscription was added praising the Raja Samudragupta and advising the other Rajas of the neighboring region. The Chinese traveler Huan Tsang in 643 CE found Prayag inhabited by many Hindus who regarded the place very Holy.
In 1575 CE the third Mughal Emperor Akbar, impressed by the religious importance of the city, renamed the city "Illahabas" - the present name of the city is derived from it. He built a fort near the Sangam on the banks of Ganga River in 1583. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire the Maratha rulers occupied the city until late 18th. century. It was later part of the Kingdom of Awadh ruled by the Nawabs of Lucknow. In 1765 the British East India Company established a garrison in the Fort of Allahabad. The East India Company later forced the Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Lucknow to cede Allahabad to them and pay Rs. 800,000 for the repair and maintenance of the fort. Allahabad was actively involved in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857. In 1858 in Minto Park in Allahabad the British East India Company officially handed over the rule of India to the British Crown. The city was officially named Allahabad and made the capital of the United Provinces of Agra and Awadh. In 1868 the Allahabad High Court was established in the city. In 1871 the "All Saints Cathedral" was designed by the British Architect, William Emerson, who later designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. In 1887 the Allahabad University was established, it is the 4th. oldest university in India. Pandit Motilal Nehru, a moderate nationalist freedom fighter, who was born in Agra on May 6, 1861, settled in Allahabad after his education in the university of Cambridge. His home, Anand Bhawan, later became a symbol of India's freedom struggle. The Allahabad city produced 6 Prime Ministers of India. India's famous freedom fighter and its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was born on November 14, 1889 in Anand Bhawan. Allahabad was host to the annual convention of the Indian National Congress in 1888 and 1892. Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed "Satyagrah" - non-violent and peaceful resistance movement in this city. India's third Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, was born in the nearby town of Mughalsarai on October 2, 1904. He grew up in Allahabad. His successor, Prime Minister Indirapriyadarshini Gandhi, was born in Swaraj Bhawan in Allahabad on November 19, 1917. Though Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was born in Mumbai on August 20, 1944, his parents Indira Priyadarshini and Feroze Gandhi, lived in Anand Bhawan for some time. Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, the Raja of Manda, was born on June 25, 1931 in Allahabad. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, born on July 1, 1927 in Ballia District, grew up in the city and later studied at Allahabad University.
Monuments of Allahabad:
Allahabad Fort is partially open to public. The areas that can be visited are Ashoka Pillar, Saraswati Kup and Jodhabai's Palace. The rest of the fort is occupied by military.
Patalpuri Temple and Akshaya Vat are located inside the Allahabad Fort. This is actually an underground temple, alluding to associations with Lord Rama. The famous Akshaya Vat one of the most revered trees of the Hindus is in this temple.
Khusrau Bagh is a walled enclosure with three important Mughal period mausoleums. The oldest tomb in this enclosure is of Shah Begum, the Rajput princess of Amber and sister of Maharaja Man Singh, who was the first queen of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. She was the mother of the proclaimed heir-apparent Prince Khusrau and his sister who is also buried in this enclosure. Her tomb bears the inscription of 1606-07 as the year of construction. A British traveler named Finch visited this mausoleum during his journey in India. Prince Khusrau lost the battle of succession against his younger brother Khurram and was buried in a tomb that was constructed by a famous Persian painter Aka Reza. The area surrounding these mausoleums is now a bustling residential colony also named after this garden enclosure.
Anand Bhawan is the former home of Pandit Motilal Nehru and birthplace of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It was subsequently donated to the Government and now houses a museum on the history of Nehru family.
Swaraj Bhawan is another building built by Pandit Motilal Nehru next to Anand Bhawan. Prime Minister Indirapriyadarshini Gandhi was born in this house. It is also a museum now.
Allahabad Museum, housed within Chandra Shekhar Azad Park, on the Kamala Nehru Road, was established in 1931, The items on display include artifacts from Indus Valley Civilization, stone sculptures, terracotta figurines from Kausambi, Rajasthani Miniatures, Buddhist Thankas and coins and beads of Gupta period. The sculptures date back to 2nd century. Also seen are rare manuscripts of medieval age. The unique displays are the paintings by Nicholas Roerich and artifacts donated by the Nehru family. India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, inaugurated this museum in 1947.
Allahabad Archaeological Museum, founded in 1949, in the university campus showcases prehistoric tools from earlier times to the end of the Pleistocene. The Allahabad University's Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology Department maintains the museum. Fossils unearthed from Belan and Son Valley, Mesolithic tools, human and animal skeletons excavated from Vindhya area and the Ganga Valley are displayed here. Neolithic tools and other related antiques, collections from Ghositaram, the famous Buddhist monastery are other major artifacts in this museum.
3-star hotels in Allahabad:
Hotel Yatrik - 39 rooms
Grand Continental Hotel - 47 rooms
Milan Palace Hotel - 40 rooms
Distance from Allahabad in kilometers and miles
Lucknow - 238 kilometers or 146 miles
Varanasi - 125 kilometers or 76 miles
Patna - 360 kilometers or 224 miles