Located at the confluence of three sacred rivers (one of them invisible, only mythologic) Allahabad is famous, above all, because it is here that is held the most important religious festival of India and the one which draws the greatest number of visitors in the world; the last edition, in 2013, saw a record of 30 million people gathering at the confluence in a single day.
This huge festival is the Kumbh Mela, which happens every 3 years in 4 different cities of India, but the most important one is the one in Allahabad. During the Kumbh Mela, the whole area along the sacred confluence, where the ghats lead the pilgrims down to the sacred waters of Ganges, Saraswati and Yamuna, becomes a proper city of tents, where pilgrims, visitors and ascetics are hosted. All this people believe in the spiritual benefits of attending the Kumbh Mela and bathing in the sacred confluence; benefits such as the possibility to be freed from one’s karma – from this life and the previous ones.
For the rest of the time, Allahabad is a sprawling and lively city, with many historic buildings and an amazing Mughal fort, where the only place where you can find some peace, sometimes, is the riverside area, where ascetics meditate seated on the sandy shore, while childrens play cricket and pilgrims bath in the sacred confluence.