A pleasant retreat set amidst the lush forested hills, Mount 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.
The Yagna was performed besides a natural spring situated below Abu, emerging from a rock shaped like a cow's head and hence the site was called Gaumukh.
Altitude: 1219 mtrs.
Best Season: March - June and Sept. - Dec.
Mean Max. 38.8 'C
Mean Min. 23.3 'C
Winter Mean Max. 28.3 'C
Mean Min. 11.6 'C
Clothing: Summer light tropical or light Winter Woolen.
Air : Nearest airports are Udaipur and Ahmedabad.
Rail : Nearest railhead is Abu Road (27 kms).
Road : By road Mount Abu to Ahmedabad 214 kms, Bombay 835 kms, Delhi 768 kms, Jaipur 515 kms, Udaipur 182 kms, Jodhpur 291 kms, Ranakpur 168 kms.
Bus : Regular buses connect Mount Abu with Abu Road, Achalgarh, Ahmedabad, Ranakpur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Abu Road. Toll Tax : Rs. 3/- for visitors to Mount Abu by Car. Vehicle Tax : Car Rs. 20/-, Bus Rs. 30/-
Taxi : Taxis and Jeeps are available from Abu Road to Mount Abu.
What to see:-
Gaumukh Temple: A natural spring flowing through a sculpted cow's head gives the shrine its name. The famous 'yagna' of sage Vashishtha was performed here. A beautifully sculpted hill temple of Arbuada-the mighty serpent stands against the beautiful backdrop. Nearby is the magnificent marble image of Nandi, the celestial bull rescued by Arbuada.
Dilwara Jain Temple: These beautifully carved temples built between 11th and 13th century A.D. 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 then Gujarat ruler), it is a superb example of temple architecture.
Adhar Devi Temple: The temple is chiselled out of a huge rock reached by a flight of 360 stairs. A favourite tourist spot.
Sunset Point: Spectacular sight of the setting sun when the hills are covered in the golden glow can be viewed from here.
Honeymoon Point: Also known as Andra Point, it offers an enchanting view of the verdant plains and valleys. The place looks most beautiful during the dusk hours.
Brahama Kumari's Peace Park: The Brahma Kumaris Peace Park is both lovely and serene. The park is a perfect escapade from a hectic city life to find serenity. The park is nestled between two peaks of the Aravalli hills - Guru Shikhar and Achalgarh. The park is an oasis of natural beauty about 8 km from the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu.
Gardens and 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.
Museum and Art Gallery: Located at the Raj Bhawan, it was a collection of archaeological excavations dating back to 8th-12th century A.D. It also has Jain bronze carvings, brassworks etc. for viewing.
Nakki Lake: Nakki Lake is famous for its cool and calm atmosphere due to its ideal location in the backdrop of the Aravalli Mountains. It is the sole artificial lake in India, which is situated at a height of more than 1,200 m. This is the largest manmade lake, stretched over an area of around half a mile, and is around a quarter of a mile wide. The lake is beside a dam and is about 20-30 feet deep. According to the legend, the lake has been carved out from nails by Gods for the protection against the demon Bashkali.
Trevor's Tank (5 km): Named after the British engineer who constructed it, Trevor's Tank is a delight for birdwatchers with densely wooded hills that are a haven to pigeons, peacocks and partridges.
Achalgarh (8 km): An impressive fort with some beautiful jain temples enclosed within. Among the noteworthy temples are Achaleswar Mahadev Temple (1412 A.D.) and Kantinath Jain Temple (1513 A.D.) . The latter has gold plated image. Mandakini Kund and a sculpture of Parmar Dharavarsh are situated close to the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple. The Fort was built in the 14th century A.D. by Rana Kumbha and is approachable by a motorable road.
Guru Shikhar (15 km): The highest peak on the mount (1722 mts. Above the sea level) allows a bird's eye view of the sylvan surroundings of Mt. Abu. A small Shaivite shrine and a temple of Dattatreya standing on the shikhar are worth a visit.