Rajasthan, hearing this name the first picture that our mind draws is that of a desert with camels finding its way through the dunes. But Mount Abu situated at a average height of 1,219 mtr’s above sea level is an oasis in the deserted land of Rajasthan and possesses the honour of being the only hill-station in Rajasthan, as well as north-west India. Famous for its Dilwara temple, lush green forested hills Mount Abu was the summer capital of Rajasthan during the British rule.
According to a legend, the name Abu means son of Himalayas (or Ar-Booda, “the hill of wisdom”), deriving its name from Arbuada – the powerful serpent, which rescued Nandi the sacred bull of Lord Shiva. Mount Abu has been home, to many rishis and munis (sages and saints), including the famous Rishi 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. Once sage Vashishth’s cow Nandini was trapped in a deep gorge and could not free herself. The sage appealed to Lord Shiva for assistance. The Lord sent Saraswati, the divine stream, to help flood the gorge so that the cow could float up. Vashishth then decided to ensure that such mishaps did not occur in future. He asked the youngest son of Himalaya, the king of mountains to fill the chasm permanently. This he did with the assistance of Arbud, the mighty snake. This spot came to be known as Mount Arbud and was later changed to its present form – Mount Abu.
We headed for Mt Abu from Udaipur in a bus. It was a trip from our college and we all college mates were in the peak of our moods. After 3 hours of journey, the bus slowly started its journey uphill amongst the dense forest of the Aravallis. As we all were young and enthusiastic, antakshari on top of our voice was the most entertained game during any bus journey. But after a tea break in one of the remote villages, the driver of our bus alerted us not to shout loud or sing on top our voice, once we started our journey uphill, as this might attract the dacoits living in those dense forest. He said he would not sound the horn during the journey and the lights of the bus would be switched off. I don’t know how much truth was there in his verdict about the dacoits but for the next 5 hours we travelled through the dense forest with all the lights switched off (except the head lights of the bus). We were all thrilled at the thought of the dacoits. But to be very true, due to this silent and cautious trip, I could watch the dense forest of the Aravallis to the fullest.
We arrived at Mt Abu , 12 o’clock in the night and the next day started by visiting the Dilwara temple. Dilwara temple was just another temple to me and Mt Abu was just a hill station to me. We halted first at Dilwara temple. There was nothing special I could see from outside and reluctantly we entered the temple. But as we moved inside the temple and moved from one part of the temple to another part we were dumb struck by the skill of the artisans who poured their souls into the marbles of the Dilwara temple. There were domes in each section of the temple which were supported by marble angels. Some domes had 12 angels while some had 24 angels. The intrigue designs of the dresses of these angels and the floral patterns on the columns just made me think “were these done by hands?” Crafting on the marble with chisel and hammer is known skill but the level of skill that is visible, is beyond imagination. Maintaining the same pattern all through the temple with same measurements is not only tough but unbelievable. I cannot find words to express my feelings,regarding the interior architecture of the temple. It would be an understatement to say that I was spellbound.
After spending most of the time in Dilwara temple, we went to Aadhar Devi Temple, Nakki Lake and concluded the day in Guru Shikhar. Guru shikar is the highest peak and is the sunset point in Mt Abu. At the top there is Aatri Rishi Temple from where we could see the mountain valley and enjoyed the sunset. But whatever we saw and wherever we went, the magic of the Dilwara Temple still lingered in our mind.
WHAT TO SEE
Dilwara Temple : The Dilwara Temple of Mount Abu is a stunning example of ancient divine. It is one of the popular pilgrimage spots for Jains.
This holiest shrine of Jainism is amongst the finest illustration of Jain architecture in India. It is a cluster of temples, which include two main shrines, superbly curved in white Marble, which was built around 11th to 13th century A.D.
Adhar Devi Temple : Adhar Devi Temple, which is located 3 km to the north of town. This ancient Durga temple is chiseled out of a huge rock, which can be reached by a flight of 365 stairs.Dont forget to take a bottle of water while you climb the stairs.
Nakki Lake : Another most interesting sight to visit in Mount Abu is Nakki Lake. This mesmerising lake is located in the heart of the valley.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary : One of the most enthralling attractions in the heart of mountains is this sanctuary which is 290 sq km long and is home to many animals and colour feathered birds. The tourists can spot panthers, bears, foxes, wild boars and migratory birds inside the park. Another fascinating attraction inside the sanctuary is Trevor’s Tank, which was named after the British engineer who constructed it. Trevor’s Tank allows delightful views to birdwatchers.
Guru Shikhar : Besides these, a tourist must visit Guru Shikhar, it is one of the highest peaks in the Sirohi District, stretched out to be 1722 m high. At the top you can see Atri Rishi Temple, from where a bird’s eye view of the mountain valley can be seen.
WHERE TO STAY
Mt Abu has a wide range of hotels that will suit your pocket. There are a number of resorts where you will enjoy your stay.
HOW TO GO
The nearest railway station is at Abu Road. Abu Road is the nearest railway station and is about 22 kms from Mount Abu. Well connected to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai and Jodhpur.Udaipur is the nearest airport. Daily flight from Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur are available to Udaipur.
Generally Mt Abu is very cold during winters so it is advisable to carry woolen garments. In summer also, light woolen garments and jackets are preferable.