Thousands of spiritual travellers are flying to India from all over the world during the Kumbh Mela, a mass spiritual fair celebrated with much zeal. A pilgrimage of faith for Hindus, it is recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
The Ardh Kumbh Mela will be held from 15th January to 4th March in Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) this year. Learn about some of the places you can visit in the city during the fair.
The confluence of three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati – Triveni Sangam is one of the holiest places in India among Hindus. It is believed that a dip here cleanses away the sins of the devotees and frees them from the continuous cycle of births. It is a peaceful place that witnesses huge crowds during the festival of Maha Kumbh Mela which takes place every 12 years.
A major tourist spot in the city, Swaraj Bhawan is a large mansion which was owned by Indian leader Motilal Nehru, father of India’s first Prime Minister. People attending the Kumbha Mela must visit the mansion that has served as the ancestral home of the Nehru family and is now a museum open to the public. Visitors can learn about the life and achievements of the Nehru family through their personal belongings and photographs of the Indian freedom movement; you can also visit the Jawahar Planetarium, situated right next to the Bhawan.
Built by the Mughal emperor Akbar, Allahabad Fort is a splendid work of architecture situated on the banks of the confluence of the River Ganga and Yamuna. Known as the largest fort ever built by Akbar, the fort draws tourists from across the globe due to its architectural magnificence and historical importance. The Zanana Palace, the Saraswati Koop and a 3rd century BC Ashoka Pillar are some of the major attractions within the fort. There is also an Immortal Tree or Akshayavat which can be spotted from the southern wall of the fort.
Khusro Bagh is a historical walled garden and burial complex. It is home to three mausoleums designed in the Mughal style of architecture and appeals to history and architecture aficionados. These tombs belong to the eldest son of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir – Khusaru Mirza, his first wife – Shah Begum and his daughter – Nithar Begum. The stone carvings and motifs, and the fine specimens of Mughal arts and architecture are a true delight, making it one of the most visited spots during the Kumbh Mela.
All Saints Cathedral
Also known as Patthar Girja, All Saints Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, displaying a stunning 13th century Gothic revival architecture. One of the most fascinating buildings from the colonial India, this cathedral was built in 1891 and is visited by a large number of people. This massive building spans across an area of 1250 square metres and functions as a lantern tower. A memorial of Queen Victoria, inside the cathedral, is the major draw of this place.