Mount Abu, the only hill station in Rajasthan, it 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. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of gaiety prevail in this tiny hill resort making it a place where one can completely relax.
The history of Mount Abu is wrapped up in legends. According to one, Mount Abu derives its name from Mount Arbud when the youngest son of Himalaya, along with the assistance of a snake called Arbud flooded the gorge in the area with water to save Shiva's revered bull.
On a more contemporary note, the history of Mount Abu indicates that it was once under the rule of the Chauhan dynasty and later served as summer retreat for the royalty. The British too favored this region and made it their impromptu getaway from the heat and dust of Rajasthan.
In the Puranas the region has been referred to as Arbudaranya, ("forest of Arbhu") and 'Abu' is a diminutive of this ancient name. It is believed that sage Vasistha retired to the southern spur at Mount Abu after following his differences with sage Vishvamitra.
Mount Abu situated at a average height of 1,219 mtr's above sea level is the oasis in the deserted land of Rajasthan and posses the honor of being the only hill-station in Rajasthan as well as north-west India, The world famous tourist destination is known for its Delwara Jain temples and natural beauty world over, situated amidst lush green forested hills on the highest peak in the Aravali range is also the summer capital for the Indian state of Rajasthan, home to lakes, waterfalls and green forests, the hill retreat, has a very cool and soothing climate thanks to its rich flora covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. Mount Abu with its word-class tourist facilities with hotels ranging from budget class to three star and heritage provides a great holiday escape and honeymoon attraction. Every year more then three million national and international tourists visit mount abu enjoying its scenic beauty, rich flora & fauna as well as the marble art of delwara jain temples.
Mount Abu is declared closed area since 1965. Although, complete area of 328 sq. km. of Abu Hills is declared protected but officially 112.98 sq. km. is under unnotified sanctuary area (Anon., 2003). In shape, Mt. Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is long and narrow but the top spreads out into a picturesque plateau, which is about 19 km in length and 5-8 km in breadth.
Once home to the meditating rishi and munis, the legend has it that Mount Abu is home to 33 crore Gods and Goddess. According to the 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.
In historic times, Mount Abu was leased by the The East-India Company (British empire) from the Maharajah of Sirohi, Mount Abu was used as the headquarters for the resident of Rajputana until 1947, and as a sanatorium for troops.
Dilwara Jain Temples:
The most famous tourist attraction in Mount Abu, the Dilwara temples were constructed between 11th and 13th centuries AD. Sacred to Jain, they are considered masterpieces of temple architecture. The Vimal Vasahi temple in the complex is worth mentioning as the temple took around 14 years to complete and is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankaras. These beautifully carved temples in white marbles are dedicated to different Tirthankaras. One can also see intricately carved images of female figures in dancing poses on some of the 48 pillars.
Nakki Lake is a beautiful picnic spot in Mount Abu. According to the legend, the lake was created by a Hindu God using his nails, and so derives its name Nakki (nail) Lake. The lake offers breathtaking view of surrounding hills and offers ideal spot for boating.
Guru Shikar is the highest peak of the Aravali range, located at about 15 km north-east of Mount Abu. It's an important Hindu pilgrimage site, worth visiting on your Mount Abu Tour.
Other famous attractions in Mount Abu include the Gaumukh Temple, which derives its name from a sculpted cow situated in the temple compound, Adhar Devi Temple and Shri Raghunathji Temple
Things to Do
Mount Abu offers an exciting range of leisure options to its visitors. You can enjoy sunset viewing, as Mount Abu offers spectacular views of the sunset. There are many sunset and honeymoon points in Mount Abu, offering a breathtaking view of sunset. You can also enjoy an exciting horse ride to explore various points in the hill station. Boat cruising in the lovely Nakki Lake is another not to be missed attraction in Mount Abu. You can also enjoy day trekking trips to nearby Shanti Shikhar (the peak of peace), Achalgarh (11 km) and Guru Shikhar (15 km), all of them offering breathtaking views of enchanting surroundings. The Mahavira Jayanti and the Summer Festival are other must enjoy attractions in Mount Abu. You can enjoy the traditional folk dances and melodious folk music of Mount Abu during festivals.
How to Reach
Mount Abu is a well known hill-station in Rajasthan state of western India, located in Sirohi district, The mountain forms a distinct rocky plateau 22 km long by 9 km wide. Being a popular holiday destination the place is well connected to rest of the country.
Abu Road is the nearest railway station just 28 KM from the main city, Which is very well connected by rail routes to New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Mumbai. From Abu Road you can opt for state transport service (usually every hour) or Taxis on both sharing and private basis. To book car/taxi in advance visit here.
The nearest airport is Udaipur at a distance of 185 km, But Ahmedabad is having better connectivity and daily flights with other parts of the country and is just 221 KM from Mount Abu, from Ahmedabad or Udaipur you can book Taxi in advance.
Mount Abu is well connected by road with major cities of the country, nearest national highway no. 14 is just 24 KM's.