As I recall the one free day I got to spend in Allahabad, where I had to travel to because of a sudden work-related reason, it strikes me how sometimes one ends up with memorable experiences without intending it. After I was done taking care of my business, I had one free day on my hand to do whatever I pleased.
Given that this was my first time in the city, and me being someone who was always fascinated by new places, sights, and experiences, I decided to go book a taxi service in Allahabad and explore the city as much as I possibly could in a day. To make my plans, I asked around the reception of the hotel I was staying at about places of interest and other relevant information, and of course, I googled. Having to come up with a proper schedule, I retired for the night, in preparation for my “tour” for the next day.
My first stop, and the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when it comes to Allahabad, was, of course, Triveni Sangam, and I reached there around 6:30 in the morning. For those who don’t know, the word “Sangam” literally translates to confluence, and the name is fitting as it is the site of the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. The place is one of the holiest places for Hindus, and thus attracts thousands of travelers and pilgrims. I am not an extremely religious person, but one doesn’t have to be, to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the place. One can clearly distinguish the different hues of the three rivers: the brownish Yamuna and the greenish Ganga, while Saraswati is subterranean and can not be seen from the surface. Hundreds of pilgrims were using boats to reach the platforms where they could take a dip in the holy waters of the site, which is widely believed to cleanse off his or her sins.
Migratory birds, including the Siberian Gull, were everywhere (it was November), and many people were feeding them from the boats. Despite all this activity, somehow, it was still very serene, and peaceful. After spending about an hour there, it was time for me to visit the next spot on my list: Allahabad Fort.
Being a short distance from the Sangam, on the bank of the Yamuna, it took me a short while to reach. This fort was built by the Mughal ruler Akbar, and is raved to be the largest fort that he ever built. As instructed by the hotel staff, I took a boat ride around the fort, because apparently, it’s the best way to experience this site. I quickly realized that they were right, and the gigantic rising towers, gateways, and walls soon transported me back to a different era as I gazed upon the incredible feat of architecture, it was as if they spoke to me. As clichéd as it
might sound, the more I learned about the history of the place, the more connected I felt to a time centuries before my existence, almost visualizing the scenes that might have taken place.
Shankar Viman Mandapam
My next destination was Shankar Viman Mandapam. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are lots of temples in Allahabad but interestingly enough, what set it apart was its architectural style. At first glance, it reminded me of South Indian temples and soon enough I learned that it was indeed created in the Vimana style that is often seen in temples in South India. It was a sight to behold. The structure was grand 4 stories adorned intricate craftsmanship, telling the stories of different gods and goddesses. There were some pilgrims, carrying sweets and flowers to give as offerings, but not nearly as many as the other sites I visited before this. With the change of scenery, I prepared to visit my last destination for the day.
Famously named as the Khusro Bagh and located at an approximate 7km distance from the Shanear Viman temple, it is a large walled garden that houses the famous burial complex at Muhalla Khuladabd which is very close to Allahabad junction railway station. Named after Jahangir’s eldest son Khusrau Mirza, the three sandstone mausoleums within this walled garden portrays the Mughal architecture in its full divine glory. I took numerous photos of the mausoleums as I strolled through the inner pathways of this garden.
With this, my very brief one day Allahabad tour came to an end. I won’t deny that it was not possibly the most comfortable day but the beauty that I experienced within those few hours after I had decided to book a cab from Lucknow to Allahabad had taken my breath away. The experience I had in the city overshadowed all my tiredness and I hired myself a tuk-tuk back to my hotel with a full heart and a gallery full of beautiful pictures.