In ancient times this sacred place in northern India was known as Prayag. Today it is named Allahbad. The name Prayag arose from the fact that Brahma performed yagnas here. It is also considered as the birthplace of Soma (moon deity), Varun (water deity) and Prajapati.
Besides the yagna spots, Dashashwamedh ghat,the ancient Akshayvat and Triveni Sangamare three holy places important for pilgrims.
Akshayvat is an ancient banyan tree. It is said that during cosmic destruction, Bhagwan sleeps on a leaf of this tree, as Bal Mukund. There is also a cave under the old fort near Triveni Sangam, known as the cave of Prayagwad. Shriji Maharaj has visited this cave.
Triveni sangam means confluence of three rivers: Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Saraswati is a subterranean river. This area is considered so sacred that bathing in it removes all sins. Hence it is also known as Mukta Triveni. After merging here, the three rivers separate in Bengal, which is considered a natural miracle.
The Puranic story is that when Ganga reached this sangam, Yamuna arrived, offering water to welcome her. This worried Gangaji, who said, “If I merge with you, because of your greatness, my importance will be forgotten.” Therefore Yamunaji assured her, “Do not worry about that. I shall merge with you.” In this way Yamuna merged into the Ganga. It continues flowing for 1400 Km. and is still known as Ganga!
Ved Vyas wrote the Shiv Puran here. Other holy areas here are: Bharadwaj Ashram, Bindu Madhav, Veni Madhav and Nagvasuki. Together they depict Prayagraj’s antiquity and sacredness.
Every 12 years, millions of pilgrims flock to Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela bath. In 2001, 30 million pilgrims bathed here, which made this the greatest religious gathering in the world.
During their reign, the emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Harshvardhan attached great importance to Prayagraj. Harshvardhan attended the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. During Akbar’s reign (1556-1585), he renamed it Allahbad. Hence the place has a dual name.