Mount Abu Rajasthan (India)

BRIEF
guru

The only hill resort of Rajasthan, Mount Abu is a pleasant retreat, set amidst the lush forested hills. A green oasis in the barren desert scrape, the hill retreat, owes its cool climate to its rich flora, covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs.

The road leading to Mount Abu is a curved one characterized by arid region, dotted with huge rocks, in weird shapes and high velocity winds. Many of the rulers, from the surrounding princely states, had summerhouses built here. It's stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain temples of the 11th century, makes it a popular pilgrimage centre.

There is an attractive countryside to explore, as it is well wooded with flowering trees, with numerous orchids during the rains and a good variety of bird life.

HISTORY

Abu, according to a legend, stands for the son of Himalaya, deriving its name from Arbuada, the powerful serpent, which rescued Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva from a chasm. Mount Abu has been home, to many sages and saints, including the famous sage Vashishtha, who is believed to have created four Agnikul Rajput clans, from a fire- pit, by performing a yagna or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons.

In historic times, Abu was leased by the British Government from the Maharaja of Sirohi, and was used as the HQ for the resident of Rajputana until 1947, and as a sanatorium for troops.

CULTURE

The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is more than just a summer retreat. Its stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain temples, dating back to the 11th - 13th centuries, makes it a popular pilgrimage centre.

FOOD

Gujarati thalis and Punjabi food.

SHOPPING

Try the Rajasthan Government Handicrafts Emporium, Rajasthali, for some authentic Rajasthani handicrafts and artifacts. The linen sanganeri prints, marble, sandalwood and stone curios are also good souvenirs. Also have a look at the beautiful Kota saris and bangles. Shops offering curios are located on and around Nakki Lake Road.

ENTERTAINMENT

Summer festival from 1st to 3rd June: During the summer, Mt Abu wakes from its slumber to buzz with tribal festivities and classical and folk performances.

City Info
LOCATION

Close to Gujarat, Mt Abu lies on the southwestern border of Rajasthan.

How to Reach
By Air

Alliance Air has daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Jet has daily connections from Delhi and Mumbai. Airport: Nearest airport is located at Udaipur, 185 km away from the hill station. It is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Jodhpur and Jaipur.

By Rail

Rajdhani Swaran Jayanti Express, Gujarat Mail, Aravali Express, Ashram Express.Railway station: Abu Road is the nearest railhead. It falls on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Jaipur-Delhi line

By Road

About 505 km from Jaipur, 767 km from Delhi, 221 km from Ahmedabad and 185 km from Udaipur. The 29 km winding stretch from Abu Road to Mount Abu is best covered during daylight. You can take a taxi, jeep or bus to the hill station. Unmetered taxis and jeeps are available at Abu Road. Convenient deluxe buses, that cost no more than Rs 200-Rs 250, run regularly to and from nearby cities. State roadways buses ply daily from Abu Road to Mt Abu, 6 am onwards. Bus terminus: There are two bus terminuses, one is on Abu Road next to the railway station from where private buses start. The other bus terminus is located just south of central Mt Abu, close to the police station.

CLIMATE

During summer, temperatures remain between 23 C and 33 C, while winter temperatures range from 11 C to 28 C.

MOUNT ABU Sightseeing
Dilwara Jain Temples
dilwara

These beautifully carved temples, built between the 11th and 13th century AD, are sheer elegance in marble, dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras. The Vimal Vasahi temple is the oldest of these, dedicated to the first Tirthankara. Built in 1031 A.D. by Vimal Shah, a merchant and representative of the then Gujarat ruler, it is a superb example of temple architecture. The central shrine has an image of Rishabhdev and a large courtyard with 52 small shrines, each housing a beautiful statue of Tirthankar with 48 elegantly carved pillars from the entrances to the courtyard. Two brothers - Vastupal and Tejpal, the ministes of Raja Dhawal, a ruler of Gujarat and belonging to the Porwal Jain community, built the Lun Vasahi Temple, dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankara - Neminath, in 1230 A.D. The most notable feature of the temple, is the brilliant intricacy and delicacy of the marble carving.

Nakki Lake
nakki

A tiny lake, picturesquely set amid hills, it is dotted with several islets approachable by a boat. Of particular interest, are strange rock formations around the lake. Especially notable is the Toad Rock, which looks like a real toad about to jump into the lake. Others are Nun Rock and Nandi Rock etc. Set in the heart of the town, the lake gets its name from the legend that it was scooped out by the gods, with their fingernails or Nakh. It is the only artificial lake in India, that is1200 mts. above sea level.

Guru Shikhar
mount

The highest peak on the mount (1722 mts above sea level), allows a birds eye view of the sylvan surroundings of Mt. Abu. A small Shaivaite shrine and a temple of Dattatreya standing on the shikhar are worth a visit.

Achalgarh
achal

An impressive fort, which has some beautiful Jain temples enclosed within. Among the noteworthy temples, are the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple (1412 AD) and Kantinath Jain Temple (1513 AD). The latter has a gold plated image. Mandakini Kund and a sculpture of Parmar Dharvash are situated close to the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple. The fort was built in the 4th century AD, by Rana Kumbha and is approachable by a motor able road.

Sunset Point
 sunset

Spectacular sight of the setting sun, when the hills are covered in the golden glow, can be viewed from here..

Adhar Devi Temple
adhar

The temple is chiseled out of a huge rock, reached by a flight of 360 stairs. It is one of the favorite tourist spot.

Other
gau

GAUMUKH TEMPLE - A natural spring flowing through a sculpted cows head, gives the shrine its name. The famous yagna of Sage Vashistha was performed here. A beautifully sculpted hill temple of Arbuada - the mighty serpent, stands against the beautiful backdrop. HONEYMOON POINT - Also known as Andhra Point, it offers an enchanting view of the verdant plains and valleys. The place looks most beautiful during the dusk hours. SHRI RAGHUNATHJI TEMPLE - Situated near the Nakki Lake, is the temple dedicated to Shri Raghunathji, with a beautiful image of the deity that was placed here in the 14th century A.D. by Sri Ramanand the famous Hindu preacher. TREVORS TANK - Named after the British engineer, who constructed it, Trevor's Tank is a delight for bird watchers, with densely wooded hills, that are a haven to pigeons, peacocks and partridges.