Located at an altitude of 1,219 metres, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan. During the period of the Maharaja’s, it was used as a place of leisure by the royalties and semi-royalties. The place presents an interesting contrast of British style bungalows and holiday lodges of the royals (Thikhana) with various tribal communities residing amidst the thick lush forest on the hills surrounding the region. Covered by the profuse flora and fauna MountAbu is an ideal place to spend sometime in the lap of nature. The place is named after Arbuda Mountains and is said to be the original base of the famous Gurjars. The highest point of the Aravali is the ‘Guru Shikhar’ with a vast sanctuary that shelters a number of species like langur, wild boars, Sambar, leopards and many more along with a number of flowering plants and trees, which enhance the beauty of the whole scenery.
Places to see at Mount Abu: Mount Abu is dotted with a number of sightseeing destinations.
Mount Abu was an important Vaishnava and Shaivite pilgrim centre up to the 11th century AD. Today, it is recognized the world over for its magnificent Jain temples. No visit to Abu can be complete without a trip to the famed Delwara temples. These temples are the greatest draw of Abu, apart from its pleasant climate. Half hidden by mango groves, their sober exterior belies the wealth of their interior ornamentation. Wonderfully carved in marble, the Delwara temples contain the shrines of various Jain tirthankaras (saints). Built between the 11th and 13th century AD, they are famous for their superb carvings in marble.
Vimal Vasahi, the oldest temple, built by Vimal Shah, Minister of a Solanki ruler of Gujarat in 1031 A.D., is dedicated to Adinath, the first of the Jain tirthankaras. Constructed out of white marble from Arasoori Hill, near Ambaji, 23 km from Abu Road, it is an outstanding example of Jain temple architecture. The central shrine has an image of Rishabhdev and a large courtyard with 52 small shrines, each housing a beautiful statue of a tirthankara with 48 elegantly carved pillars from the entrance to the courtyard.
The Luna Vasahi Temple, dedicated to the 22nd tirthankara, Neminath, was built in 1231 AD by two brothers – Vastupal and Tejpal, Minister of Raja Virdhavala, a ruler of Gujrat. The door casings, friezes, architraves, pillars and the sculptures of various porticos are simply astonishing. This structure which is unique would not have been possible without massive effort, inspired commitment and exceptional workmanship. Rewards in the form of silver and gold were offered to the workers. The most striking feature of this Jain temple is the marble pendant in the dome of the porch. It drops from the ceiling like an enchanting cluster of half-open lotuses with cups, so finely carved that they appear to be transparent.
The highest peak of the Aravali ranges (1722 mts above the sea level) allows a panoramic view of the pastoral surroundings of Mount Abu. A small shrine and a temple of Dattatreya standing on the shikhar(peak) are worth a visit.
Force fully hanging over the NakkiLake, it seems as if this gigantic toad is about to leap into the lake.
This point is south-west of Nakki lake, where the sun gradually sinks itself in the azure sky between the two mountain peaks. The steps lead up to a high terrace which offers an awe-inspiring view of the setting sun.
The lake is picturesquely set amidst hills and is believed to have been carved out by the gods with their nails. It is a popular spot for boating. The artificial lake here which is 1200 mts. above sea level is the highest in western India. The surrounding hills have several areas of interest.
GaumukhTemple (Vashistha Ashram)
Many sages and seers had their retreats on Mt.Abu, the most famous being sage Vashistha. Legend has it that, he performed a yagya (sacrificial fire) from which emerged the Agnikula clan of the Rajputs comprising Chauhans, Solankis, Parmars and Pratihars. A natural spring that flows through a sculpted cow’s head gives the shrine its name. Nearby is the marble image of Nandi who is said to have been rescued by the mighty serpent ‘Arbuda’. It is accessible by car or jeep up to 3 km. Thereafter a descent of 750 steps has to be covered on foot.
Nearby attractions from Mount Abu: Just 8km from Mount Abu is the Achalgarh fort. This medieval monument was constructed by Rana Kumbha, who was responsible for building dozens of gigantic fortresses in southern Rajasthan. The walls are massive and battlemented. Its location on a mountain peak makes it more imposing. A steeply winding path leads up to the 15th century AD fortress and the temples that are located within the fortified walls.
The carved Jain temples are a ten minute climb known for their sculptures. Nearly is the Achleshwar Mahadev temple. It has a Nandi(bull) said to be made of Panchadhatu i.e. five metals – gold, silver, copper, brass and zinc. The Nandi weighs more than four tons. The temple is believed to have been built in the 9th century AD around a toe print of lord Shiva. A natural Shivalinga with idols of crystal-like stone looks opaque. However when a burning candle is placed behind it, it sparkles like crystal. The pleasant looking Mandakini Kund, with images of buffaloes is enclosed by rocky hills.
Things to do at Mount Abu: Boating in the Nakki Lake in a pleasant climate is really worth enjoying. Close to it is the sunset point, from where watching the vermillion red glows of the setting sun is splendid. If doing nothing then spending sometime idle in this serene location amidst the lush beauty of nature will itself create a charm on you.
Best time to visit Mount Abu: The climate of Mount Abu is quite cool and can be visited all through the year.
How to go ?
Abu Road is the nearest railway station just 28 KM from the main city, which is very well connected by rail routes to New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai. From Abu Road you can opt for state transport service (usually every hour) or Taxis on both sharing and private basis.
The nearest airport is Udaipur at a distance of 185 km, But Ahmedabad is having better connectivity and daily flights with other parts of the country and is just 221 KM from Mount Abu, from Ahmedabad or Udaipur
Mount Abu is well connected by road with major cities of the country, nearest national highway no. 14 is just 24 KM’s.
Where to stay ?
A number of hotels, lodges and guesthouses are found in MountAbu suitable to all budgets. Few options are:
Hotel Shikhar: +91-02974-238944
Hotel Surya Darshan: +91-02974-6450-7178
Hotel Saraswati: +91-02974-92222 72222 Website: www.hotelsaraswati.co.in
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.