The Harish-Chandra Research Institute is located on the banks of the Ganga, within sight of where the Yamuna flows into it. From its magnificent gardens you can see the sand bank that marks the confluence of the two most sacred rivers of Hinduism. Everyone-mythical figures such as Rama and Krishna, poets such as Kalidasa and Gurus like Vivekananda- has been at the Sangam. Today I got to see it up close. After a trip to the city of Prayag that has existed at this point a few thousand years.

Allahabad, as it is now known, is a small city but with an exceptional influence on India’s history. Half of its Prime Ministers are from here. Of course, three of them are lineal descendants of Nehru, whose house here we visited today.

This is in the heartland of India. And people here are large hearted. If you can avoid the moneygrabbing priests at the makeshift temples, everyone is laid back and seem generally happy. A few dollars go a long way. We saw no tourists, unlike at Varanasi. This ancient land exerts a pull, a yearning to reconnect with the past that is not rational and all the stronger for it.

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