Lifestyle in PrayagrajAllahabadis are very outgoing and like to be busy doing something or the other, whether it is indulging in sport, eating street food or just shopping. Festivals are looked forward to as a time for celebration and getting together with family and friends. Culture as in the arts, music, dance and poetry recitations are patronised by Allahabadis who can expect a stimulating cultural calendar year after year.
Allahabad has for long been a cultural centre in Uttar Pradesh and India. Since time immemorial it has been renowned for its religious and historic significance. In modern times it played a leading role in the freedom struggle and was the birthplace of eminent writers, lawyers, artists and musicians. This rich legacy continues with cultural extravaganzas such as the annual Triveni Mahotsav which showcases the best of music, dance and poetry from all over the state and beyond. Institutions like the Prayag Sangeet Samiti are at the forefront of keep traditional culture alive in Allahabad. Music and dance classes are popular with children of all ages.
Festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor especially Diwali and Ram Navami. The entire city goes into celebration mode with festive lighting and colorful decorations. Families and friends gather together to make merry, distributing sweets and indulging in community celebrations. Allahabadis also look forward to the annual Magh Mela periodic Kumbh Mela when the city attracts lakhs of pilgrim from all over India and tourists from different parts of the world. This is a time when the entire city gears up to play host and a huge temporary city comes up on the banks of the Ganga. A water sports festival organized by Uttar Pradesh Tourism has also become very popular for its attractions.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Allahabad and is played wherever possible, in the lanes and by lanes as well as in the stadiums. Hockey comes next in popularity and frequent local and district level matches are followed avidly. Traditional sports of kabbadi, wrestling, gilli-danda and kho-kho are also enjoyed. Other sports such as swimming, tennis, badminton, football and volleyball are also growing in popularity. Multi-sports complexes have encouraged many youth to take up sport as a way of life. In addition to this, karate, judo and kung-fu are also being practiced by children. Allahabad is also a centre for gymnastics in the country and many children are being groomed to represent the country in the discipline. The Indira Marathon attracts many participants every year. Held in November it begins at Anand Bhavan, the ancestral home of the Nehrus, and ends at Madan Mohan Malaviya Stadium, covering a distance of 42 km.
Many Allahabadis attend yoga classes to supplement their health and fitness. This includes asanas, pranayama and meditation. Schools of yoga in the city include kriya yoga, sahaja yoga, hatha yoga and ashtanga yoga. Aerobics and dance classes are also becoming more popular as a way to keep fit.
Eating out is a popular pastime in Allahabad. From street food to star restaurants, options are available to suit every pocket. Mughlai food is relished most here along with various vegetarian specialities. Street food options include a variety of delicious chaats and various other savoury snacks and sweets including jalebis, kulfi and falooda. The typical connoisseur of Allahabadi food makes a beeline for Loknath Galli in Chowk to sample the fare on offer from one end of the street to another, relishing various specialities along the way. Fast food restaurants serving pizzas and burgers are also present here as well as restaurants serving popular south Indian specialities such as masala dosa. Indian Coffee House is an institution where locals and visitors can take a break sipping filter coffee along with bites of sandwiches, omelets, cutlets and dosas. Though there are a few pubs in Allahabad, the pub culture has not really caught on in the city.
Allahabadis love to go shopping and every weekend sees families out shopping for everyday household items as well as clothes, jewellery and gifts. They usually head out to Chowk, Civil Lines, Georgetown and various malls that have come up recently including Vinayak City Centre, Atlantis Mall, Vinayak City Square, Vinayak Solitare and P Square Mall. They relish striking bargains in areas such as Chowk as well as picking out items at brand stores in Civil Lines.