Saturday, March 7, 2009


Mount Abu - oasis of Rajasthan

At about 4000 ft. above the sea level, Mount Abu is Rajasthan's only hill station sculpted in the Aravalli ranges. Legend has it that the place derived its name from Arbuda, a serpent who rescued Lord Shiva's bull, Nandi. An otherwise honeymooning treasure trove, the place is more renowned as a pilgrimage destination with its Dilwara Jain temples. The winding route to this summer retreat feels like a foray into a different world altogether. Visitors submit to nature completely and head for the Sunset Point to get infatuated by Her piquant antics.


Dilwara Temples: The five marbled marvels built between 11th & 13th century AD enshrine the Jain tirthankaras (enlightened ones) and remains swarmed with pilgrims from across the world. Entry is free; but no shoes, cameras or transistors are allowed in. Non-Jains can visit between noon and 6 pm daily.

Gaumukh Temple (Vashistha Ashram): Of the many sages and seers who had their retreats on Mt. Abu, the most legendary was sage Vashistha. The temple was the site of his 'agnikund' fire rituals. The natural spring gushing out of the marbled cow (Nandi, Shiva's vehicle) creates an awe-inspiring spectacle not to be missed. It is accessible by car or jeep up to 3 km, from where a descent of 750 steps has to be covered on foot.

Govt. Museum: The museum was set up in 1962 within the premises of Raj Bhawan to preserve the archaeological wealth of the region. It also has Jain bronze carvings, brassworks etc., for viewing.

Nakki lake: The legend goes that gods actually etched out this spring using their fingernails ('nakh' means nail). The turquoise waters pose invitingly for boating cruises in India's only artificial lake roosted at 3937 ft. high. South-west of the lake, watch the sun douse between the Aravalli mountains. Nearby is the 14th century Raghunath Temple.

Summer Festival: Every June, Mount Abu bursts into a medley of tourists, pilgrims, folk performances, boat races at the Nakki lake, musical events like Sham-e-Qawwali, fireworks and what not, during the 3-day Summer Festival.

Adventure trails: Aravalli ranges heart-throb, Mount Abu at 4000 ft., is just perfect for those long treks and rock-climbing escapades. The resorts and the tour packages have such provisions for the adventure enthusiasts.


Curios in marble, sandalwood and sandstone can be bought from the shops around Nakki Lake. Kota saris, linen with Sanganeri prints and bangles are also available. For Rajasthani Handicrafts there is Rajasthali, Rajasthan Government Handicrafts Emporium and Khadi Bhandar.


The cuisine here is basically a blend of Rajasthani and Gujrati tables, since Mount Abu lies so close to Gujarat.

Haveli, Nakki Lake Road serves delectable Gujarati thalis and Punjabi food. Maharaja, at Maharaja Hotel is renowned for Gujarati thalis. And if you want to sample some fast food try Veena, at Nakki Lake Road.


Gurushikhar (15 km): About 15 km from the main town is the highest peak on the mount at 1722 m from where jaw-slacking views of the entire purlieu can be had. Don't forget to carry your video camera. A small shrine and a temple of Dattatreya standing on the shikhar are worth a visit.

Trevor's Tank (5 km): Constructed years back by a British engineer and hence, named after him, the Trevor's Tank is a must-visit for bird-lovers. The common sightings to expect if you have made your mind to visit are peacocks and pigeons.

Achalgarh (8 km): Drive to this mammoth 14th century Fort that houses some of the most beautiful Jain temples. The 1513 AD Kantinath Jain Temple, the 1412 AD Achaleswar Mahadev Temple and the neighboring sculpture of Parmar Dharavarsh and Mandakini Kund are popular tourist attractions here.

Location :
SW Rajasthan, West India

Go there for :
Honeymoon, Dilwara temples

Climate :
23°-33°C (Sum); 11°-28°C (Win)

When to Go:
Feb-May, Sep-Dec

Local Tongue:
Rajasthani, Hindi

STD Code :
+91 - 2974


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