The Remnants of Akbar’s Ilahabas

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Prayag has been an ancient pilgrimage site of the Indo-Gangetic civilization. Going by the historical and mythological records including Valmiki’s Ramayana, Prayag was the name given to the area of confluence or Sangam of the holy Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati. Through the ages, it has always been a very popular pilgrimage site but it is also worth noting that the administrative center of what became Allahabad kept shifting through centuries. In the era before Christ, Kaushambi was the capital of the region and continued to be one till the Muslim invasion. Under the Delhi Sultanate the center was shifted to an area just a few kilometers from Kaushambi, known as Karrah. That remained the administrative city till Emperor Akbar visited this place in 1575 CE and on seeing the strategic location of the confluence, ordered the establishment of a new city on the fertile and empty patch of land between Prayag and Karrah. In the Akbarnama, Abul Fazl states that the Emperor founded a new city close to the ancient site of Prayag and built a fort there in 1583 CE. He called it Ilahabas. This was a new city, adjoining Prayag.

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