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Some Hidden Gems

Allahabad is not on your normal tourist map. I had gone there this year after spending three days in Benares. We stayed in a rather crappy hotel near the station, so if you don't mind spending some money, stay at The Yatrik Hotel.

Allahabad lies at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, and this is called the Sangam, because of the confluence of a third, mythical, subterranean river called the Saraswati. That is why the area is sometimes called Triveni, or Prayag. We were there at dawn, and while it does not draw as many crowds as Benares (except every January), it is a beautiful place to be on a boat when the sun comes up.

The Allahabad Fort is built on the banks of the Yamuna. You can't see much of it, because it has been taken over by the army. The Fort was built by Akbar The Great in the years gone by. I do hear, however, that the army may move out and that it may be opened to the public. Who knows? We did enter from the back, and walked around the temple there. Some of the priests objected to my photography, and abused me straight off the bat! Some priestly spirit the buggers have!

You need to be careful when walking around the area, because you do see the occasional chap shitting amongst the bushes!

From there, we were back at the hotel, and then we went to see Anand Bhawan. This was the place where our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru lived. It is also the site of many meetings of the Congress National Party, and the site of many discussions prior to our Independence. You can see his room, his clothes, his study; and even the room where Mahatma Gandhi lived when he visited. Photography inside the rooms is not allowed, but you can photograph the building.

From there, we went into a little gully, to see some temples that were built in honour of one Rishi Bhardwaj. It seems Rama and Sita of Ramayana fame popped by here during their 14 year exile.

And, from there, a tonga ride to the real hidden gem – Khusrau Bagh. This was built by the Mughal Emperor as a garden, and then as a tomb for his son Khusrau. Fatherly love came late in the day. Khusrau had rebelled against his father, and was blinded for his pains. Later he was murdered by his brother Khurram – the future emperor Shah Jahan.

It is a marvel. I can only recommend Khusrau Bagh late in the afternoon, to sunset. Visit the place, and walk in the gardens.

Allahabad is not a great place for street food. The best places to be, and to eat, are in the Civil Lines. My favourite is El Chico… Still a wonderful place to eat!

Catch the Prayag Raj Train and come back to Delhi.


COUNTRY


Profile photo of Rajiv Chopra

I have been in the corporate world all my life, and have decided to take a sabbatical from this world. I am now a budding entrepreneur in my old age. This is wonderful because, apart from giving me the freedom to paint my own canvas, and to choose the canvas, it also gives me the time to do some of the things that I really like to do. These are, to travel, to photograph and to write. I still use a Nikon D 200. I started with B&W film, and this is something that I still love. The things that I am really grateful to the corporate world are, that I got the chance to travel the world, and meet lots of very interesting people. I have, over the years, become very interested in history, physics, culture,conservation, the environment and street food! I love landscapes, street photography, people, macro photography, geometrical shapes



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