Although Hindu women have traditionally worn saris, the shalwar kameez and Western attire is gaining acceptance among younger women. Western dress is worn more by men, although the dhoti and kurta are seen during festivals. The formal male sherwani is often worn with chooridar on festive occasions. Diwali, holi and Vijayadasami are the three most popular festivals in Allahabad.
Allahabad has a literary and artistic heritage; the former capital of the United Provinces, it was known as Prayag in the Vedas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Allahabad has been called the “literary capital of Uttar Pradesh”, attracting visitors from East Asia; the Chinese travellers Faxian and Xuanzang found a flourishing city in the fifth and seventh centuries, respectively. The number of foreign tourists, which mostly consisted of Asians, visiting the city was 98,167 in 2010 which subsequently increased to 1,07,141 in 2014. The city has a tradition of political graffiti which includes limericks and caricatures. In 1900, Saraswati first Hindi monthly magazine of India, was started by Chintamani Ghosh. Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, the doyen of modern Hindi literature, remained its editors from 1903 to 1920. The Anand Bhavan, built during the 1930s as a new home for the Nehru family when the Swaraj Bhavan became the local Indian National Congress headquarters, has memorabilia from the Gandhi-Nehru family.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Hindi literature was modernised by authors such as Mahadevi Varma, Sumitranandan Pant, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ and Harivansh Rai Bachchan. A noted poet was Raghupati Sahay, better known as Firaq Gorakhpuri. Gorakhpuri and Varma have received Jnanpith Awards. Allahabad is a publication centre for Hindi literature, including the Lok Bharti, Rajkamal and Neelabh. Persian and Urdu literature are also studied in the city. Akbar Allahabadi is a noted modern Urdu poet, and Nooh Narwi, Tegh Allahabadi, Shabnam Naqvi and Rashid Allahabadi hail from Allahabad. English author and 1907 Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling was an assistant editor and overseas correspondent for The Pioneer.
Entertainment and Recreation
Allahabad is noted for historic, cultural and religious tourism. Historic sites include Alfred Park, the Victoria and Thornhill Mayne Memorials, Minto Park, Allahabad Fort, the Ashoka Pillar and Khusro Bagh. Religious attractions include the Kumbh Mela, the Triveni Sangam and All Saints Cathedral. The city hosts the Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world, every twelve years and the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela every six years. Cultural attractions include the Allahabad Museum, the Jawahar Planetarium and the University of Allahabad. North Central Zone Culture Center, under Ministry of Culture (India) and Prayag Sangeet Samiti are nationally renowned centres of Arts, Dance, Music, local Folk Dance and Music, Plays/Theatre etc. and nurture upcoming artists. The city has also hosted International Film Festival of Prayag.
Hindi being the regional language of the city, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan Dainik, Daily News Activist and Aaj are popular among the masses. The Leader and The Pioneer are two major English-language newspapers that are produced and published from the city; other popular English-language newspapers include The Times of India, the Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express, and The Asian Age.
All India Radio, the national, state-owned radio broadcaster, has AM radio stations in the city. Allahabad has seven FM stations, including two AIR stations: Gyan Vani and Vividh Bharti, four private FM channels: BIG FM 92.7, Red FM 93.5, Fever 104 FM and Radio Tadka and one educational FM radio channel Radio Adan 90.4 run by Allahabad Agricultural Institute. There is a Doordarshan Kendra in the city. Regional TV channels are accessible via cable subscription, direct-broadcast satellite service or Internet-based television.
Cricket and field hockey are the most popular sports in Allahabad, with kabaddi, kho-kho, gilli danda and pehlwani are played in rural areas near the city. Gully cricket, also known as street cricket, is popular among city youth. The famous cricket club Allahabad Cricketers has produced many national and international cricket players. Several sports complexes are used by amateur and professional athletes; these include the Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium, the Amitabh Bachchan Sports Complex and the Boys’ High School and College Gymnasium. There is an international-level swimming complex in Georgetown. The National Sports Academy in Jhalwa trains gymnasts for the Commonwealth Games. The Indira Marathon honours the late prime minister Indira Gandhi.