Prayagraj (former Allahabad) is a fascinating city with a blend of a rich cultural and historical heritage hosting a wide range of styles of the Maratha, Mughal, Holkar and British era. Chhatris, Laal Bag Palace, Kanch Mandir are cues of its architectural exellence. Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and "invisible" Saraswati rivers, is considered holy by Hindus. It’s near the 16th-century Allahabad Fort, built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. In the fort are the ancient sandstone Ashoka Pillar, the underground Patalpuri Temple and a sacred banyan tree.
Prayagraj stands on the site of ancient Prayag, a holy city that was comparable in fame to Varanasi and Haridwar. Prayag’s importance in the ancient Buddhist period of Indian history is attested by the inscriptions on a pillar attributed to the 3rd-century-BCE Mauryan emperor Ashoka. The pillar—which is believed to have been erected in a nearby locality and moved to Prayagraj in Mughal times—still stands inside the gateway to the old Prayagraj fort, which is situated strategically at the confluence of the two rivers. The site’s religious importance to Hinduism persists. Each year a festival takes place at the rivers’ confluence, and every 12th year a much larger festival, Kumbh Mela, is attended by millions of devotees.
Prayagraj has long been primarily an administrative and educational centre. It has a modest industrial base and is a marketplace for agricultural products. Tourism has grown in importance in the region, visitors being drawn to the many historic and religious sites located within and near the city. The administrative and professional sector and a military cantonment (base) are located north of the city proper. Prayagraj is a major road and rail hub and is served by a nearby airport. The city has several museums. Prayagraj has a Government House dating from the British period, Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, and the Jāmiʿ Masjid, or Great Mosque.
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