Allahabad has been the most sacred place of Hindus since ancient times and was known as Prayag. This place is considered as one of the most sacred soul cleansing and bathing destinations of India. Sangam of River Ganges, Yamuna & invisible Saraswati is the venue for many sacred fairs & rituals. Festivals held here throughout the year, some of the important ones are-
Magh Mela (fair)- It is an annual fair held in the month of Magh (Jan.-Feb.), which is also very important and attracts a large number of tourists.
Kumbh & Ardh Kumbh Mela- Kumbh Mela is held after every twelve years, which is a spectacle of life time, but if someone misses it then the other option of similar significance is the Ardh Kumbh, which is celebrated every sixth year. It is the largest gathering in the world when for more than one month, bathing rituals are held here. Kumbh means pot & Mela means fair, which takes place when planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and Sun enters Aries. Apart from bathing in the Sangam, other activities during these festivals include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men, women & poor, and religious assemblage, where doctrines are debated & standardized. In modern times too, the Kumbh mela displays the flavor of reminiscent of ancient India.
Water Sports Festival- U.P. Tourism Department in the collaboration with the Allahabad boat club organizes Water Sports Festival which is now an important & popular annual feature held in the month of Feb. every year. Special sea food dishes are also served during the festival. Parasailing, Paddle boat, Water Scooter and Cruise boats are some water sports activities organized here. A swimming competition and on the spot painting competitions are also added attractions of the festival.(Phone- +91-9235597004, +91-532-2603833, 2600068, Fax- +91-532-2603833)
Others: Other bathing days are Purnima, Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchami, Magh Purnima, Maha Shivratri etc. Dusheshra (Sept-Oct) is also celebrated with fan fare.