Triveni Sangam is located in Allahabad, Presently a Biggest and largest cities of Uttar Pradesh on confluence of three rivers- Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati, A place well known as Prayag for the earlier settlements of the Aryans
Prayagasya Praveshshu Papam Nashwati Tatkshanam.
Means, All sins are cleaned with entry in Prayag. It has its references in Puranas, Ramayana & Mahabharta. Lord Brahma, the creator God of the Trinity, chose a land on earth(ie Prayag) to perform ‘Prakrista Yag’, at the beginning of creation and he also referred to it as Tirth raj or the King of all pilgrimage centres’ According to the ‘Padma Puran’ – “As the sun is amongst the moon and the moon amongst the stars, likewise ‘Prayag is best amongst all places of pilgrimage” The Brahma Puran says - “Bathing at Prayag in the month of Magha at the bank of Ganga Yamuna bestows results equal to millions and millions of Ashvamedha Yajna.”
Prayag is the birth place of Som, Varuna and Prajapati. Prayag has been associated with mythological personalities in Brahmanical(Vedic) and Buddhist Literatures. It was the seat of the great sage Bhardwaj, sage Durvasa and Sage Pannas. Sage Bhardwaj lived here circa 5000BC and taught more than 10000 disciples. He was the greatest philosopher of the ancient world.
Importance of Triveni Sangam was immortalized by Raj Kapoor by naming his block buster movie as Sangam & even dedicating a famous song on Triveni Sangam "Tere Man ki Ganga, or Mere Man ki Yamuna ka, bol radha bol sangam hoga ki nahin" penned by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri..Both Movie & Song became sensational Hits.
This is not only one movie where Triveni Sangam is glorified, there are many classic movies such as famous Baiju Bawara and its ever hit song dedicated to triveni sangam "Tu ganga ki mauj mein yamuna ka dhara, ho rahegaa milan yeh hamara, hamaraa tumhara"..
No other confluence of rivers has such a deep impact on human civilization as Triveni sangam, No doubt it is called "Prag raj" The King of Tirths.The confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna is mentioned in Rig Veda, which says,“Those who bathe at the place where the two rivers, white and dark, rise upto heaven. ( The Ganga has long been seen as the white river, bearing the mica laden waters of her Himalayan course, and the Yamuna, the blue river.)
Indian classical Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa, describes the confluence of the white”waters of the Ganga with the blue waters of the Yamuna as if they were a string of pearls and sapphires combined, or a garland of white and blue lotuses intertwined.
The Triveni Sangam in Allahabad is a confluence of 3 rivers,two physical rivers Ganges and Yamuna, One invisible or mythic Saraswati River.
The Ganga the Sacred river of India, emerges from Gangotri & weaves her way down from the Himalayas passing through places made sacred by her arrival, like Rishikesh and Haridwar, through industrial city of Kanpur, before arriving at Allahabad to join her sisters as she makes her way to Kashi.
Yamuna also begins her journey in the Himalayas, at Yamunotri, and passes through Mathura and Brindavan, made more sacred by the association of Krishna, and finally arrives at Allahabad where she joins the Ganga to merge her identity with her.
Saraswati arrives at Allahabad from mystical lands from underground, who remains unseen to mankind, making her presence felt at certain, extremely special places. She renders the holy Ganga and Yamuna even more pure, more sacred by her association with them at Allahabad. The place where these 3 rivers merge is the Triveni Sangam, a place where thousands and thousands congregate to pay their respects to the rivers and pray for their well being and forgiveness for their sins.
Triveni Sangam is a great place of religious importance and the site for historic Kumbh Mela held every 12 years, over the years it has also been, the site of immersion of ashes of several national leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi in 1948
Here the muddy and pale-yellow waters of the Ganges merge with the blue waters of Yamuna. While the Ganges is only 4 feet deep, the Yamuna is 40 feet deep near the point of their nexus.At the confluence of these two great Indian rivers, where the invisible Saraswati conjoins them, many tirtha yatris take boats to bathe from platforms erected in the Sangam.river during the Kumbha Mela, in the month of January. It is believed that all the gods come in human form to take a dip at the sangam and expiate their sins.
The Triveni Sangam is believed to be the same place where drops of Nectar fell out of the pitcher, from the hands of Gods. So it is believed that a bath in the Sangam will wash away all the sins and will clear the way to heaven.
Devout Hindus from all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy waters. The Sacred Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years at the banks of the Sangam. According to myths, the Prakrista Yajna was performed here by Lord Brahma. That is how Allahabad received its ancient name, Prayag. Allahabad is also called Tirtha-Raja (Prayag Raj), king of all holy places. It is said that Lord Rama visited Allahabad when He was in exile.
When the rivers are in full flow, the confluence of the rivers is seen clearly due to the force of the water, but the same force makes having a dip at the confluence difficult. During the monsoon, most devotees bathe at the riverbank for safety, while the more ardent ones who are willing to pay for the risk involved go to the confluence in a boat, where a shallow area is created by the presence of a number of boats with a kind of net suspended in between, and bathe there.
A sort of platform had been constructed in the cenre of confluence and one can climbed down into waist deep water. Pilgrims are advised to visit Allahabad in March/April when the water is less and the weather would be pleasant. Of course, it will be quite crowded at that time. May-end is actually a good time to visit if one wants to avoid the crowd and have fun in the water.
The astrologers believe that such planatory position is the most auspecious occasion for spiritual realism which obviosly doubles the importance of the Sangam. The Mela is actually, a bathing ritual, is a unique event that blends religious and ocial feature alike. The main Kumbh parva (bathing) is the day of Mauni Amavasya,while other important bathing days are paush Poornima, Makar Sankranti, Vasant panchami Maghi poornima and Maha Shivratri. Living on the banks of sangam and conducting traditional rites there for the intire mela duration., known as the Kalpavasa, holds a special religious significance.
A number of rituals are traditionally performed at Allahabad, mainly for appeasing our ancestors. There are a number of Mutts there who perform the rites. As at Kashi, there is no standard charge, but varies according to the rites one wants to perform and the budget.
An interesting ritual performed at the Sangam is that of Veni Daanam. This is a practice followed by married women for the long life of their husbands. The husband is supposed to comb and plait the wife’s hair and after decorating it with flowers, the end of the plait is cut off and offered to the rivers.
Some men even shave off their hair/beard and offer it also to the rivers. This procedure is performed while travelling by boat to the Sangam and the hair is offered along with flowers, etc at the confluence. There is nothing interesting in itself about this. What is interesting is that hair, being light normally floats on water, but at this place, the hair sinks straight to the bottom. Though hundreds of people offer their hair everyday, there is not a single strand of hair seen floating on the river.
The temple of Veni Madhava (one of the trio along with Sethu Madhava and Bindu Madhava, as I have mentioned before) is a little way inside the city. It is a small temple, with a small idol of Vishnu representing Veni Madhava. According to the legend painted on the walls of the temple, there was once a rakshasa who troubled all the Devas. Narada sought an audience with him to find out his weakness, and found that he suffered from a skin infliction. He told the Asura to bathe in the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, which the Asura proceeded to do. Amazed at finding himself cured, he wanted to possess the 3 great rivers who had cured him, and began drinking them up! When the rivers pleaded with Vishnu, he arrived in the form of Veni Madhava and killed him, restoring the rivers to their rightful place.
The Shayana Anjaneya temple is an important one right on the banks of the river. Here, the idol of Hanuman is larger than life, carrying Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders. Only, the idol is lying down. There are many stories about this temple. According to one, hanuman stepped over the rivers without their permission, angering them. They rose up and threw him to the ground, and crushed his ego. According to the locals, every year, the river rises and covers the whole idol before going back, which they consider absolute proof of this story. Another legend mentions that this is where hanuman emerged with Rama and Lakshmana after defeating the king of Patala, the netherworld, Ahi Ravana. Whatever the story, the temple is a simple and nice one.
The Adi Shankara Vimana Mandapam, a temple built by the Kanchi Mutt is right next to this temple. This is a 3 storeyed temple with idols and sculptures of various Gods and Goddesses. It is worth a visit.
Travellers are advised to start early in the morning and visit Allahabad first. It is possible to have a dip in the river and visit all the temples, fort and other places by afternoon, On the return journey, visit Sita Madhi and Vindhyachal, both of which are on the same route.