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Why Prayagraj is Called Prayagraj: A Brief History

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Prayagraj is one of the oldest and most sacred cities in India. It is located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and is known for its rich cultural heritage, historical significance, and spiritual importance. But have you ever wondered why Prayagraj is called Prayagraj? In this post, we will explore the origin of the name Prayagraj and its significance throughout history.


The Origin of the Name Prayagraj

The word “Prayga” in Sanskrit means “place of sacrifice,” which is where the city got its name, “Prayagraj.” The city is located at the confluence of three rivers: the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati. This spot is called Triveni Sangam, and Hindus think of it as one of the holiest places in the world. It is believed that a dip in the Triveni Sangam during certain auspicious days can wash away one’s sins and lead to spiritual liberation.


The city was originally called Kaushambi and was an important centre of trade and commerce during the Mauryan Empire (321–185 BCE). However, it was during the Gupta Empire (320–550 CE) that the city gained prominence as a centre of learning and culture. The famous Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the city in the 7th century and wrote about its thriving Buddhist community and its importance as a pilgrimage site.

In the 16th century, the city came under the rule of the Mughal Empire, and the name Prayagraj became popular during this time. It is said that the Mughal emperor Akbar went to the city and was impressed by how spiritually important it was. He renamed the city “Ilahabad,” which means “city of God.” However, the original name of Prayagraj continued to be used by the locals and eventually became the official name of the city in 2018.

Prayagraj Throughout History

Prayagraj has played an important role in the history of India. It was the site of the Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. The Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years and is attended by millions of pilgrims from all over India and the world. It is a time of spiritual renewal and devotion, and the city comes alive with colourful tents, processions, and religious ceremonies.


Prayagraj was also a centre of the Indian Independence Movement. The first session of the Indian National Congress was held in the city in 1885, and it was here that the famous revolutionary Chandra Shekhar Azad was born. The city was also the site of the famous Quit India Movement, which was launched in 1942 by Mahatma Gandhi to demand India’s independence from British rule.

Today, Prayagraj is a thriving city that blends its rich history with modern developments. It is home to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in India, including Allahabad University and the Indian Institute of Information Technology. The city is also known for its delicious street food, such as chaat, samosas, and lassi, which attracts foodies from all over the country.

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Prayagraj’s name reflects its spiritual significance as a place of sacrifice and purification. Its rich cultural heritage and historical significance make it a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. From the Triveni Sangam to its historical monuments, Prayagraj is a city that offers a glimpse into India’s ancient past and its vibrant present. Its significance as a centre of learning, culture, and spirituality has remained unchanged throughout history, and it continues to inspire and attract people from all walks of life.


In conclusion, Prayagraj is called Prayagraj because of its spiritual significance as a place of sacrifice and purification. Its name reflects both its importance in the Hindu religion and its position as a centre of pilgrimage. Throughout history, Prayagraj has played an important role in the cultural, political, and spiritual life of India. Its rich heritage and modern developments make it a city that offers something for everyone, and its significance is likely to endure for many years to come.

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