Mount Abu - Hill Station of Rajasthan
Perched on the highest peaks of the Aravalis in the dry state of Rajasthan, lies a lush, verdant oasis that is one of the most popular hill retreats of India. This sanctuary from the endless sand hillocks is Mount Abu which derives its name from ‘Arbuda', the powerful serpent who rescued ‘Nandi’ from a chasm. ‘Abu’, stands for the son of the Himalaya.
Besides being a picturesque summer resort, Mount Abu is a popular pilgrimage center, dotted with temples and shrines of different religions. A tour of Mount Abu makes one realize that it is a 'set designed by God’.
Mount Abu is famous for the Dilwara Temples. Dedicated to the Jain Saints or Tirthankars, the Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu are a religious sanctuary where the beautiful carvings induce a feeling of tranquility and harmony. The surfaces of the walls and arches and brackets and Pillars are carved to create a lace-like effect yet no two Pillars are alike, such was the vision of the sculptors who worked on them. Observing the statutory eulogy to the Vimala family (the financiers of the temple) you are ushered into mandapa where you see nothing but marble, more marble, and even more pristine marble. Eight ornamentally carved pillars hooked up a ceiling that does not seem to need them, as it appears to be like a finely meshed network of milk-white stone suspended in the air. Temples are open from 12 pm to 6 pm. The complex of 5 principal temples is surrounded by a high wall. There is a rest-house for pilgrims on the approach road. The temple complex comprises of Adinatha temple, Risah Deo temple, Luna Vasihi or Neminatha temple and the fifth temple is for Digambar Jains.
Nakki Lake is where all of Mount Abu’s population is centered around. The lake so derived its name as legend has it that the Gods carved it with their nails. The shops and restaurants are clustered in a compact center. There is attractive countryside to explore as it is well wooded with flowering trees with numerous orchids during the monsoon and a good variety of bird-life. Situated near Nakki Lake, the temple of Raghunathji is dedicated to Lord Rama and has a beautiful image of the deity that was placed here in 14th Century AD.
Another highlight is the 14th-century Achalgarh fort, built by Rana Kumbha of Mewar. It has some magnificent temples such as Kantinath Jain Temple (1513AD) and Achleshwar Mahadev (1412 AD). Many sages and seers had their retreat on Mount Abu, the most famous being sage Vashistha. He Performed a “Yagna” or magic fire from which were born the Agnikula Clans of Chauhans, Solankis, Parmars, and Pratihars. A natural spring that flows through a sculpted cow's head, gives the shrine the name of Gaumukh Temple (Vashistha’s Ashram).
General Information of Mount Abu
Climate: Summer temperatures can go as high as 33°/34°C and minimum remains at a pleasant temperature of 23°C. Winters in Mount Abu are at a cool 28°C with minimum temperatures of 1°C.
Rain: It rains fairly heavily in the monsoon (65-177cm) so the very best times to visit are between February and June or any time after the rains between September and December.
Clothing: Lightweight clothes suit in the months of summer in Mount Abu but in winters (November-January) require a warm jacket or sweater.
Accommodation: The monsoon season is the busiest and so reservations should be made in advance to avoid hassles. March to June and September to December.
Altitude: Mount Abu is nestled in the Aravalis at the height of 1200 meters.
Area: 25 sq km
Languages: Hindi, Rajasthani
Ethnic composition: predominantly Hindu with smatterings of Jains.
Tourist attractions of Mount Abu
Mount Abu is both a holiday spot as well as a holy pilgrimage for the religiously inclined. It’s USP is beauty, both scenic as well as its exquisite temples.
Dilwara Temples: 5 km from the town center and set in beautiful surroundings of mango trees and wooded hills, the temples are renowned for superb marble carvings. The whole temple is unalloyed, uncompromising pure, white marble floors, columns, traceries ceiling walls, sculptures.
Adhar Devi: This temple, 3 km from town, is a 15th century Durga temple carved out of a rock and approached by 220 steps. There are good views from here.
Art Museum and Gallery: It has a small collection which includes some textiles and stone sculptures (9-10th centuries). It is closed on Fridays and entry is free.
Brahma Kumar’s Spiritual University & Museum: The institute offers courses of yoga and meditation with the Spiritual Museum near the horse stand. Its open daily from 8 am to 8 pm.
Nakki Lake: The main part of the town is situated around Nakki Talao (lake). It is sacred to Hindus, which was, in legend, scooped out by fingernails (Nakki) by gods attempting to escape the wrath of a demon. There are boats for hire and a pleasant walk around the lake past the Raghunath temple. The Toad Rock is here too. The other rock formations are known as Nandi and Camel rock respectively.
Sunset Point and Honeymoon Point of Mount Abu
Sunset Point and Honeymoon point give superb views across the plains to the west. They both can be reached by a pleasant walk from the bus stand, about 2 km away. The route to Honeymoon Point goes past the Nakki Lake.
How to reach Mount Abu?
How to reach mount Abu by Road?
It is often quicker to take a bus rather than go to Abu Road and then take a train. Private bus companies run daily services to Udaipur, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai.
How to reach mount Abu by Air?
The nearest airport is Udaipur, which is 185 km away.
How to reach mount Abu by Train?
Abu Road is the nearest railhead, 27 km away and there are many direct buses to Mount Abu from here. Abu Road is well connected with Agra, Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Ahmedabad by rail services.
Best time to visit Mount Abu
The winter season (November to February) is the best time to visit Mount Abu. It is an ideal time for the honeymooners, religious and family trips, the weather remains pleasant to enjoy the sightseeings.
Explore More: North India Tour, Golden Triangle Tour India and Best Things to do in Rajasthan