Location : 156-km From Udaipur, Rajasthan
Tourist Attractions : Nakki Talav, Dilwara Temples
Best Time To Visit : April to June & October to November
Mount Abu is one of the popular jain pilgrimage sites. The road to paradise has never been easy and this one is no exception. Bumping along an uneven road, hitting your head against the smooth roof of a deluxe bus you need to close your eyes and revive the temptations of your destination. Conjure up the lushness of Mount Abu, which all tourist guides announce is 'the paradise of Rajasthan'. The little pamphlet gushes that Mount Abu, the only hill station in Rajasthan, offers you the best of all possible worlds, with more scenic beauty, more architecture and archaeology in the form of the famous Dilwara caves, the chief center for the Brahmakumaris and a generous peppering of temples which shows that the place is exceptionally favored by the gods. Abu has been an important place of penance for the sages.
As the anticipation of the approaching destination heightens one doesn't mind the shaking bus quite that much and as you turn the final curve into the city, greeted by large hoardings of different hotels, all promising better deals than the other, Rajasthan's little jewel puts its best foot forward. The shops on both sides of the road are glitteringly alive, as late as 10 p.m. on a winter night and the residents of Mount Abu mob you in welcome. Well not exactly the residents it turns out, they are all touts for hotels but they make you feel welcome. In case it is a winter trip that you are planning, one can just arrive in Abu, at any time of the night or day, employ a wheelbarrow, which will take your luggage all over Abu for few rupees while you check out a place to stay.
This is, in fact the best time to visit if the cold does not bother you too much (it is usually warmer than a Delhi winter). All hotels are available at half rates and the best of rooms can be yours for a rate that suits your budget.
Abu in summer is definitely a retreat from the heat of the plains. A summer visit requires careful planning, and rooms should be booked at least two months in advance. Everything, from hotels to restaurants, to transport is at double the rates, and beware of the new monster - the Marti's, in every color which cover the landscape and race pugnaciously around the hills. Yet, the little township is well prepared to handle tourists. Tourist buses show you around the places of interest twice a day and the bus guide provides a background, history and of course his own interpretations on everything you visit. Information is also available from a tourist guide office, but even without guidance there are certain places that simply cannot be missed on a visit to Abu.
Major Attractions of Mount Abu
Dilwara Jain Temples : The Dilwara Jain temples for instance, have been compared to the Taj Mahal for their sheer elegance and beauty in marble. Built between the 11th and 13th century, these temples are all the more exceptional because the marble to build these was brought all the way from Makrana and the best workmen and craftsmen employed to ensure the finest quality of sculpture.
Intricate carvings decorate each portion of these temples, which are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras. Millions of rupees were spent on the carvings, architecture and decor of the temples and the workmen were rewarded in silver and gold equivalent to the amount of marble brought in.
Nakki Lake : In the heart of the town, at one end of the Mall is Nakki Lake, which has an interesting history. It is said that it was drawn by the finger nails (nakk) of a sage, Balam Rasia, in response to the demands of the stepmother of the girl he wished to marry. The girl, a princess, and a daughter of the then King of Abu, was also in love with the sage, but because of the evil stepmother the affair ended in tragedy, and has been immortalized in a temple of the Kunwari Kanya, alongside which stands a statue of her lover.
The lake too, has survived to tell the tale. Picturesquely set, with the hills rising all around it, the lake has several islets to which you can hire boats. An interesting facet is the many rock formations around the lake. They have been named Toad Rock, Nun Rock, Nandi Rock and Camel Rock because of their resemblance to these figures. The road appears to be looking broodingly down towards the lake, as if contemplating jumping in. Nun Rock is a large smooth rock, as it supposedly looks a woman with a veil. The climb up to these rocks, through the wooded forests is a beautiful one, with each of the rocks on the way making unique formations, fissures and shapes.
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.
Adhar Devi Temple : The temple of Durga built in a natural cleft in the rocks having 365 steps is also situated at a very panoramic view point in the hilly resort. The doors to the entrance are very low and one has to stoop down to get through the opening gates of the temple.
Brahmakumari Spiritual University & Museum : The Spiritual University teaches that all religions are equal and each and every form of respect to the god leads to him only and not elsewhere. The University preaches peace through imparting spiritual knowledge and yoga meditation. Having over 4500 branches, the University is headquartered at Mt Abu and the white clad Brahma Kumaris can be seen moving here and there.
Shopping in Mount Abu
Curios in marble, sandalwood and sandstone can be bought from the shops around Nakki Lake. Kota saris, bangles and linen with Sanganeri prints are also available. For Rajasthani Handicrafts there is Rajasthali, Rajasthan Government Handicrafts Emporium and Khadi Bhandar.
How to Get there
Air : Nearest airports are Udaipur and Ahmedabad.
Rail : The nearest railway station is Abu Road (29-km) situated on Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Ajmer-Jaipur-Delhi route. From Abu Road one can take a taxi, jeep or bus to Mount Abu.
Road : Mount Abu is linked with Udaipur and Ahmedabad by road. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.