1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allahabad

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ALLAHABAD, a city of British India, the capital of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, giving its name to a district and a division. The city is situated at the confluence of the Ganges and the Iumna in 25° 26' N. lat. and 81° 50' E. long., 564 m. from Calcutta by rail. Its most conspicuous feature is the fort, which rises directly from the banks of the confluent rivers and completely commands the navigation of both streams. Within the fort are the remains of a splendid palace, erected by the Emperor Akbar, and once a favourite residence of his. A great portion of it has been destroyed, and its hall is converted into an arsenal. Outside the fort the places of most importance are the sarai and gardens of Khasru, the son of the Emperor Jehangir, and the Jama Masjid or Great Mosque. When the town first came into the hands of the English this mosque was used as a residence by the military officer commanding the station, and afterwards as an assembly room. Ultimately it was returned to its former owners, but the Mahommedans considered it desecrated, and it has never since been used as a place of worship. Allahabad (Illahabad) was the name given to the city when Akbar built the great fort. To the Hindus it is still known by its ancient name of Prag or Prayag (“ place of sacrifice ”), and it remains one of the most noted resorts of Hindu pilgrimage. It owes its sanctity to its being the reputed confluence of three sacred streams-the Ganges, the Jumna and the Saraswati. This last stream, however, actually loses itself in the sands of Sirhind, 400 m. north-west of Allahabad. The Hindus assert that the stream joins the other two rivers underground, and in a subterraneous temple below the fort a little moisture trickling from the rocky walls is pointed out as the waters of the Saraswati. An annual fair is held at Allahabad at the confluence of the streams on the occasion of the great bathing festival at the full moon of the Hindu month of Magh. It is known as the Magh-mela, lasts for a whole month, and is attended by as many as 250,000 persons in ordinary years, either for religious or commercial purposes. Every twelfth year there is a special occasion called the Kumbh-mela, which is attended by a million of devotees at one time. Allahabad was taken by the British in 1765 from the wazir of Oudh, and assigned as a residence to Shah Alam, the titular emperor of Delhi. Upon that prince throwing himself into the hands of the Mahrattas, the place was resumed by the British in 1771 and again transferred to the nawab of Oudh, by whom it was finally ceded together with the district to the British in 1801, in commutation of the subsidy which the wazir had agreed to pay for British protection. During the Mutiny of 1857, Allahabad became the scene of one of the most serious outbreaks and massacres which occurred in the North-Western Provinces. The fort was held by a little garrison of Europeans and loyal Sikhs, until it was relieved by General Neill on June 11th of that year.

The modern buildings of Allahabad include Government House, the High Court, the Mayo memorial and town hall, the Muir central college, the Thornhill and Mayne memorial library and museum, the Naini central jail, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals. The Jumna is crossed by a railway bridge and there are two bridges of boats over the Ganges. The military cantonments contain accommodation for all three arms and are the headquarters of a brigade in the 8th division of the eastern army corps. At Allahabad is published the Pioneer, perhaps the best known English paper in India. There is an American mission college. Here is the junction of the great railway system which unites Bengal with Central India and Bombay, and is developing into a great centre of inland and export trade. The population in 1901 was 172,032.

The District of Allahabad has an area of 2811 sq. m. In shape it is an irregular oblong, and it is very difficult to define its boundaries, as at one extremity it wanders into Oudh, while on the south the villages of the state of Rewa and those of this district are hopelessly intermingled. The Jumna and the Ganges enclose within their angle a fertile tract well irrigated with tanks and wells. The East Indian railway and the Grand Trunk road afford the principal means of land communication. In 1901 the population was 1,489,358, showing a decrease of 4% in the decade due to famine.

The division of Allahabad has an area of 17,270 sq. m. The population in 1901 was 5,540,702, showing a decrease of 4% in the decade due to the famine of 1896-1897, which was severely felt throughout the division. It comprises the seven districts of Cawnpore, Fatehpur, Banda, Hamirpur, Allahabad, Jhansi and Jalaun.