Chandra Shekhar Azad Park

A sprawling 133-acre green complex, Chandra Shekhar Azad Park was built in 1870. It is believed that the park was made to commemorate Prince Alfred's (Duke of Edinburgh) visit to Prayagraj. It is therefore also called Alfred Park. During the rule of the British, it was known as Company Bagh and was renamed as Chandra Shekhar Azad Park after the Indian freedom fighter, after he killed himself at the spot in 1831 while fighting against the officers of the Raj. In fact, the colt revolver, which the revolutionary used to shoot himself is exhibited in the Allahabad Museum that is housed inside the park's compound. An imposing statue of Azad is one of the highlights of this green area. The park is home to recreational areas for kids, a musical fountain, the Allahabad Public Library (also known as Thornhill Mayne Memorial), the Prayag Sangeet Samiti (an institution for music) and Madan Mohan Malaviya Stadium.

Chandra Shekhar Azad Park

Kaushambi

While the present-day district was carved from the city of Prayagraj in 1997, the heritage site of Kaushambi is steeped in history. Not only does it find mention in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata but was once a popular centre for Buddhist learnings as well. In fact, during the time of Lord Buddha, Kaushambi was one of the six important and flourishing towns in India. It played host to Lord Buddha twice when he came to deliver discourses.The texts of the Puranas, however, narrate a different story. According to that, Nicaksu, a ruler of the Bharata kingdom, transferred his capital from Hastinapur to Kaushambi after the former was washed away in a flood. An old fort, an Ashokan pillar, large number of figurines, cast coins, terracotta objects, sculptures and a grand monastery were unearthed here during excavation that reflect its rich history.

Kaushambi

Shringverpur

A quaint village set in a scenic location, Shringverpur is situated roughly 40 km away from Prayagraj. It finds mention in the Hindu epic Ramayana as the capital of the royal kingdom of Nishadraj or the king of fishermen. According to legend, the village was named after Shrangi Rishi, a sage. It is also said to be the place from where Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshmana crossed River Ganges to go into exile after resting for the night. Local lore has it that the boatmen refused to ferry them. To resolve the situation Nishadraj himself arrived at the spot and made the necessary provisions on one condition  to be given a chance to wash Lord Rama's feet. The wish was granted. The site where the king was said to have done so has been named Ramchura and is marked by a platform. A serene location, surrounded by greenery and a gushing river  Shringverpur is slowly gaining popularity amongst tourists.

Shringverpur

Ashoka Pillar

The 10.5-m-high Ashoka Pillar is one of the three attractions inside the Prayagraj Fort (earlier known as Allahabad Fort) that visitors are allowed to see. That Prayagraj played an important role in Buddhism can be verified from the inscriptions that appear on this pillar that dates back to 232 BCE. The imposing structure is said to be made of polished sandstone and according to local lore, is believed to have been erected in the ancient city of Kaushambi (in Uttar Pradesh) and moved to Prayagraj later. Apart from Ashoka's inscriptions, the pillar also bears those of Samudragupta, a ruler of the Gupta empire (330-380 CE), and Mughal emperor Jehangir. Inscriptions that praise the Gupta ruler were said to have been made by Harisena, a renowned poet of the royal court. The fort is currently used by the Indian Army and although the pillar is accessible to tourists, it is necessary to acquire permission to visit it.

Ashoka Pillar

Prayagraj Fort (Allahabad Fort)

Of the several architectural marvels constructed under the commission of Mughal emperor Abkar, the Allahabad Fort is said to be the biggest. Standing tall by the banks of the River Yamuna, close to where it merges with the Ganges, this majestic fort was said to have been built in 1583 and boasts three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers.

According to an oral legend, it is believed that the emperor visited the site in the 16th century and was so taken with its location that he had the fort constructed there and named it Illahabas or abode of God. It was under the reign of Shah Jahan that the name was changed to Allahabad. Within the fort premises lies the Jodhabai Palace (a royal residence dedicated to  Jodhabai, the emperor's wife), a spectacular example of the coming together of the Hindu and the Islamic styles of architecture.

Prayagraj Fort (Allahabad Fort)

Anand Bhawan

Once the residence of the Nehru family, it is said that the estate of Anand Bhawan was bought by Motilal Nehru, the father of the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, after his older house, Swaraj Bhawan, started serving as the offices of Congress.

 

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Anand Bhawan