Allahabad Fort: The Largest Fort built by Akbar

Allahabad Fort is a marvellous work of architecture built during the reign of Akbar. Stunning and iconic, Allahabad Fort is located on the banks of the confluence of the River Ganga and Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh. The fort is famous as the largest fort ever built by Akbar, the Mughal Emperor in 1583.

Allahabad Fort: A Quick Glance

Famous for:  Monument of National Importance

Timings:  9:00 am–6 pm

Visit duration:  1-2 hours

Built in:  1583

Built by:  Mughal Emperor Akbar

Best time to visit:  October to March

Allahabad Fort: An Overview

Standing on the banks of where the rivers Ganga and Yamuna meet, Allahabad Fort is a stunning example of an architectural marvel in Uttar Pradesh. Considered as the largest fort built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583, Allahabad Fort is a mesmerizing example of craftsmanship and creative ideas carved on monuments.

The Allahabad Fort is known to draw thousands of tourists from all over the globe, and is famous for not just its historical importance for also for its exclusive architectural wonder. Ironically, the fort is closed to the common public to access it from inside, and it is only during the Kumbh Mela held once every 12 years, when tourists are allowed to enter inside the Fort.

However, the magnificent architecture and the massive impressive structure of the monument stands strong on the banks of the confluence of the two rivers is a treat to the eyes and a sight you can’t forget in a hurry.

Allahabad Fort – Significance and Importance

The grand construction holds immense significance and is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is exemplary, and something that makes Allahabad Fort stand out especially for the locals who have grown up listening to the legends and stories of the fort but could never make it inside the fort in person.

Architecture of Allahabad Fort

 The Allahabad Fort is all about massive walls, towers, a temple and a large palace. There are three entrances and exit gates of the fort. The interior of the Palace is adorned with Hindu and Islamic artistry.

The premises of the Allahabad Fort consist of a temple named Patalpuri Temple, a sacred banyan tree named Akshayavat tree and a 10 meter tall Ashoka Pillar.

Ashoka Pillar in Allahabad Fort

The Ashoka Pillar is a 10-meter tall structure that was constructed and installed in 232 BC. The structure is full of inscriptions dating back to the era of Emperor Jahangir. The Emperor of the Maurya dynasty, Emperor Ashoka, who reigned during the 3rd century BCE, had erected this pillar as one of the Ashoka Stambhas or the Pillars of Ashoka.

It is remarkably noted for containing later inscriptions attributed to the Gupta emperor Samudragupta during the 4th century CE. One can also find engraved inscriptions on stones by the Mughal emperor Jahangir, from the 17th century.

The Ashoka Pillar at Allahabad Fort is a single shaft made of polished sandstone that stands 35 feet (10.7 m) high. The lower diameter measures 35 inches (0.9 m) and the upper one shrinks to 26 inches (0.7 m).

A Sacred Banyan Tree inside the Allahabad Fort

Apart from the massive structure that remarks the Allahabad Fort as a unique one, there is a sacred banyan tree named Akshayavat Tree (Banyan Tree) that adds up to its legendary significance. Akshayavat means “indestructible” in Sanskrit which hints at the eternity of the tree itself.

Legends say that the tree was a place where locals used to find salvation by committing suicide. The faith of the locals made the tree a holy one and many people ended their lives with the hope that they would attain salvation soon.

Tourists can visit and see the sacred banyan tree by entering through a small gate which leads to the exact spot where the banyan tree stands for centuries.

Legends of the Sacred Banyan Tree

As per legends, there was a famous sage who had asked Lord Narayana to prove his power. As a display of his supremacy, the Lord flooded the entire world within moments. Strangely, the Akshayavat Tree was the only tree which stood tall over the water level. And that’s how it got the name which means indestructible.

The legend further continues and the story involves an incident of Ramayana where Rama, Lakshman and Sita who rested under the tree. Another popular local story involves Akbar who tried to burn down the tree during the construction of the fort. But he failed miserably and the tree still stands at the same place inside the fort.

There are also a few historical references and stories related to the tree. One among them dates back to the 7th century when a few Chinese pilgrims mentioned the stories of this tree. However, the exact location of the original tree is still unknown and unclear. Some say that the one on display is just a replica which is maintained by the pundits.

Patalpuri Temple in Allahabad Fort

Patalpuri Temple is located inside the Allahabad Fort and is one of the holy places in Allahabad. The temple is said to be the home to all the gates of hell. It is one of the most famous and oldest temples not only in Allahabad but also in India.

Allahabad Fort – Nearby Attractions

The Fort is located quite near to the banks of Yamuna next to Sangam. And hence you can combine your visit to the Fort with an early morning dip in the holy waters. There is also the (locally) famous temple of "Bade Hanuman Ji" (Lord Hanuman) right next to the fort. The temple has an interesting idol of Lord Hanuman in a fully reclined position. Thousands of visitors and devotees flock at the temple to worship and pay respect to the monkey lord.

How to reach Allahabad Fort

Allahabad Fort is located very close to the spot from where you take boat rides to reach the Triveni Sangam. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the city, and hence well connected.

The best way to reach the fort is by getting a cab or rickshaw from almost anywhere in the city to reach the fort. The nearest railway station to Allahabad Fort is the Allahabad Junction Train Station which is 5 km (3 mi) away. From the stations, taxis or autos can be hired to reach the fort premises.

More Attractions in Allahabad:

Allahabad Museum

Anand Bhavan – Mute Testimony to Indian Freedom Struggle