Akbar’s Allahabad Fort on the banks of Yamuna in Allahabad has many tales:

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By Nishi Agarwal

 

It is possible to live in a town for the most part of one’s life, and then suddenly come upon a place one has never known or heard of. The wonder increases when you realise how close it lies to your beaten track, and how intriguing and fascinating are the tales spun around it.
On a recent visit to Sangam, our boatman Amarjeet, on a magnanimous impulse, sailed past the landing ghat, in the direction of the Naini bridge. A little distance away, he pointed out to us this gaping crack in the thick and twisted wall encircling the fort.
If one were to believe Amarjeet, in the distant past, when the fort was being constructed, the walls used to come up during the day, but to the great chagrin of the royal builders, would collapse before the new morning dawned.
Divine revelation came to the king in the form of a dream one night, conveying to him that the only solution to this vexed situation was the sacrifice of a human, an elephant and a bull. The prescription was followed, and the spirit of the wall/building site was pacified. Carvings of the 3 victims, clearly visible from a distance, can well be taken as testimony to this fact.
Today this spot is consecrated to ‘Mari Mai, and still used as a sacrificial altar during Navratri. Thankfully, the sacrifices are of goat or chicken, gory as that may be!
All of this is unverified hearsay, I have to admit. If anyone has any more, or different information on this, it would be welcome.
The most unforgettable part of this experience was the clinching sentence from our wise boatman : “ जब भी कोई बड़ा काम होता है, बिना बली के पूरा नहीं हो पाता है। “
I have to admit that those ominous words sent a chill down my spine, even though the morning was hot and sunny!

(Nishi Agrawal, housewife, nature lover, is a prolific writer)

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