The year 2019 has become almost synonymous with the general elections for many Indians. But it looks like the north Indian city of Allahabad may also see quite a major change next year, just in time for the popular Kumbh Mela, the world's largest gathering.
The Yogi Adityanath government is likely to take a decision on changing Allahabad's name to Prayagraj before the beginning of the pilgrimage, reported ANI. In fact, several posters that have reportedly been put up in the city announcing the Kumbh Mela already carry the name Prayagraj.
Confirming that the city's name may be changed before the pilgrimage, UP's deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya told the news agency that Allahabad has been recognised by the name Prayag for hundreds of years and it is only fair to rename the city.
The move to rename Allahabad came after president of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad Mahant Narendra Giri recently requested CM Adityanath to rename the city.
"The wrong that the Mughal emperor did should be corrected. We expect that the Chief Minister will issue orders towards changing the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj," the Pioneer had quoted Giri as saying. And now he too has confirmed that Adityanath has accepted the proposal.
Why is Allahabad recognised by the name Prayag?
The city of Allahabad was originally called Prayag – a place of offerings. Its name was coined from its position at the Sangam, which is a confluence of the holy Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati rivers.
As per Hindu mythology, Allahabad is one of the places where Lord Vishnu dropped a few drops of amrit (nectar that grants immortality) and due to this, the city hosts the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. The Sangam is an important part of the Kumbh Mela, as pilgrims from all over the country visit the city and participate in a ritual bathing.
The other places where the nectar was dropped are said to be Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Nashik in Maharashtra and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. All these cities host a pilgrimage every 12 years.