Mount Abu is the only hill station in the deserts of Rajasthan. It is nestled amongst the green forests on the state's highest mountain at the Southwestern end of Aravallis, close to the Gujarat border.
Mt Abu sits towards the Southwestern end of the plateau-like mountain which stretches about 19 km from end to end and 6 km from East to West and is surrounded by the 289 km2 Mt Abu Wildlife Sanctuary.
The ambience and the diverse flora attract a lot of tourists to this beautiful hill station. Temples and ancient buildings are one of the best examples of the rich tradition and culture Rajasthan is home to. It is one of the most important pilgrim sites of both Hindus as well as Jains.
The buildings here have carvings and paintings that are majestic in every sense of imagination and the visitors just don't seem to get enough out of it.
Abu Road Railway station, located at a distance of about 25 km serves the town of Mount Abu. The station is well-connected with all the major cities in India, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur etc., to name a few.
The nearest airport is Udaipur which is located at a distance of 176 km.
Places To See
It is Mt Abu's most remarkable attraction and one of India's finest temple decorations. These remarkable Jain temples were built many centuries ago, when the site was in the remote wilderness. It is said that the artisans were paid according to the amount of dust they collected, which encouraged them to carve it more intricately.
There are two temples here in which the marble work is unbelievably intense. The older of the two is the Vimal Vasahi, on which the work began in 1031 AD and was financed by a Gujarati minister named Vimal.
It is dedicated to the first Tirthankara Adhinath. It took 1500 masons and 1200 labourers 14 years to build, and cost a whopping amount of INR 185.3 Million.
The Luna Vasahi temple is dedicated to Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara, and was built in 1230 AD by brothers Tejpal and Vastupal at the cost INR 125.3 Million. The marble carvings here took 2500 workers and 15 years to complete. The notable feature is the detailing given to the construction, which is so fine that in places the marble becomes transparent.
Things To Be Noted
Like other Jain temples, leather articles which include belts and shoes, cameras and phones must be left at the entrance and menstruating women are asked not to enter.
For Jains, the temple is opened from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and for others from Noon to 6:00 PM.
The scenic Nakki lake is one of Mt Abu's biggest attractions. According to a legend, it was scooped out by a God using his nails, hence for some Hindus, it is a holy place. The 14th century Raghunath Temple stands near the Southern shore. Boating here is very popular.
At 1722 m high, Guru Shikar, Rajasthan's highest point stands tall at the Northeastern end of Mt Abu. A road takes you almost all the way up to the summit and you will reach the beautiful Atri Rishi Temple, which offers a fantastic view.
A popular stop and a highlight of the tour offered by RSRTC.
The sanctuary is home to leopards, deer, foxes and bears. With a diameter of 289 km, it covers much of the mountain plateau and surrounds the town of Mt Abu.
The fascinating, atmospheric Shiva temple, located 8 km Northeast of Mt Abu in Achalgarh. It boasts of a number of unique features that includes what is believed to be a toe of Shiva, as well as Nandi (Shiva's mount) made of five metals. Where the Shiva Linga would normally be, there is a deep hole. The devotees believe that this extends to the underworld.
A small stream flows from the mouth of a marble cow, giving the shrine it name 'gaumukh' which means the cow's mouth. Legend says that the tank here, Agni Kund was the yagna site (sacrificial fire) made by the sage Vasishta, from which the four Rajput clans were born.
To reach the temple one must take a path of 750 steps down into the valley and then drag oneself to the same, back up again.
This small museum houses many works from the ancient town of Chandravati, 7 km from Mt Abu, which dates back to 6th and 12th century.
An entrance fee of INR 5 is to be paid and the museum is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday to Thursday.
Mt Abu is a year-round destination. The months from February to June or September to December would be ideal, as these are the months when the weather is pleasant. In case you want to witness the camel festival, then you may visit in January.