A pleasant retreat set amidst the lush forested hills, Mt. Abu is a green oasis in the barren desertscape that’s Rajasthan. Situated at the southern tip of the Aravali range 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. 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 11th- 13th centuries, make it a popular pilgrimage centre. ‘Abu’ according to a legend stands for the son of Himalayan, deriving its name from Arbuada, the powerful serpent who rescued Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, from a chasm.
Mount Abu has been home to many sages and saints. Most famous of them was Sage Vashishtha who is believed to have created four agnikula Rajput clans from a fire-pit by performing a ‘yagna’ or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons.
Places to visit at Mount Abu:
Down on the Abu Road side of Mount Abu, a small stream flows from the mouth of a marble cow, giving the shrine its name. There is also a marble figure of the bull Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle. The tank here, Agni Kund, is said to be the site of the sacrificial fire, made by sage Vashistha, from which four of the great Rajput clans were born. An image of Vashishtha is flanked by the figures of Rama and Krishna.
Delwara Jain Temples
The Temple complex includes two temples with exquisite marble carvings. The older of the temples is the Vimal Vasahi, built in 1031 by a Gujrati minister named Vimal. It is dedicated to the first tirthankar (Jain Teacher), Adinath. The later Tejpal Temple is dedicated to Neminath, the 22nd tirthankar, and was built in1231 by the brothers Tejpal and Vastupal.
About Adhar Devi Temple
The Adhar Devi temple, about 3km north of town, is chiseled out of a huge rock reached by a flight of 365 steps. You have to stoop to get through the low entrance of the temple. It is a favorite tourist spot.
The museum is divided into two sections. The first section has been adorned by a diorama of local tribal hut with their usual living style by adding a gallery of weapons, musical instruments, ladies ornaments like barly, damani, karna, guthma toda, gaga wala thoomar, kanksi berla, various type of earrings and garments etc. belonging to hill dwellers.
The second section has a series of miniature paintings based on raga-ragnis, lain images from Sirohi, medium sized shields, a small canon called ‘Topdi’ and some pieces of carvings on local wood.
Of the various points around the town, Sunset Point, 1.5 km from the tourist office of Mount Abu, is the most popular. Hoards stroll out here every evening to catch the setting sun, the food stalls and all the usual entertainment. Is is a one kilometer walk from the road to the viewpoint or you can hire a horse.
Honeymoon Point, 2.5 kms northwest on Ganesh Road, also known as Andra Point, offers an enchanting view of the verdant plains and valleys. The place looks most beautiful during the dusk hours. The route to Honeymoon Point goes past the Nakki Lake.
Other popular viewpoints include the Crags and the Shanti shikhar. Shanti Sikhar, west of Adhar Devi temple, presents panoramic views.
At the end of the plateau, 15km from Mount Abu, is Guru Shikar, the highest point in Rajasthan at 1722m. A road goes almost all the way to the summit. At the top is the Atri Rishi Temple, complete with a priest and good views all around.
The Shiva Temple of Achaleshwar Mahandeva, in Achalgarh, boasts a number of interesting features , including what is said to be a toe of Shiva, as well as a brass Nandi (Shiva’s vehicle, a bull) and, where the Siva Lingum would normally be, there is a deep hole that is said to extend all the way down to the underworld.
Gardens & Parks
Beautifully laid parks and gardens are interspersed throughout the hilly paradise. Ashok Vatika,Gandhi park, Municipal Park, Shaitan Singh Park and Terrace Garden are some of the noteworthy gardens.
Another park, the Brahma Kumaris Peace Park is both lovely and serene, It is the realisation of a dream, a natural environment where silence and recreation co-exist, The Peace Park is nestled between two famous peaks of the Aravalli hills – the well known spiritual pilgrimage destinations of Guru Shikhar and Achal Garh. The Park Is an oasis of natural beauty found only 8 kms from the Brahma Kumaris Headquarters in Mount Abu.
Situated near the ‘Nakki’ lake is the temple dedicated to Shri Raghunathji with a beautiful image of the deity that was placed here in 14th century A.D. by Shri Ramanand the famous Hindu preacher.
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.