Confluence of three of the holiest rivers
A sensational meeting of the Ganges and the Yamuna occurs at Sangam, a place of pilgrim-shrouded moments and the muddy Ganges and the enchanting Yamuna rushing forth to meet each other after passing through canyons and mountains into the spiritually rich Sangam of Allahabad. Sangam is the Sanskrit word for confluence. A holy bath at this place is supposed to wash away a lifetime of sins. For the Hindus, the Ganges becomes holy in the sense that water is one of the five elements and as one is born the holy water of Ganges is sprinkled and upon death the ashes are dispersed back into the river. The dip at Sangam is the epitome of that same sense of the divine. The Kumbh Mela (Hindu Pilgrimage) which occurs every 12 years is held at the banks of the Sangam. Around 70 million people from around the world participated in the Kumbh Mela at the in 2001. Sangam is believed to be the place where drops of heavenly nectar fell out of the vessel of the Gods. So it is popularly believed by the Hindus that a dip in the Sangam will wash away all the sins and give you a path to eternal life after death.
Around 7 km from Civil Lines, overlooked by the eastern ramparts of the fort, wide flood plains and muddy banks protrude towards the sacred Sangam. The sacred Sangam is the confluence of three of the holiest rivers in Hindu mythology - Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. At the Sangam, the waters of the Ganges and the Yamuna can be distinctly seen to merge into one. It is during the Kumbh/Ardh Kumbh that the Sangam truly comes alive, attracting the devout from all across the country. At the point at which the brown Ganges meets the Greenish Yamuna, pandas (priests) perch on small platforms to perform puja and assist the devout in their ritual ablutions in the shallow waters. Boats to the Sangam, used by pilgrims and tourists alike, can be rented at the ghat immediately east of the fort. On the way to the Sangam, aquatic salesmen loom up on the placid waters selling offerings such as coconuts for pilgrims to discard at the confluence. Once abandoned, the offerings are fished up and sold on to other pilgrims - a blatant if efficient form of recycling.