Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan, India. Situated in the Sirohi district of the state and enjoys visits by tourists from all over the country and the world throughout the year. The demand for visiting the oasis within the arid lands of Rajasthan makes it necessary to book an accommodation well in advance. Based atop the famed Aravalli range of mountains, this place is a nature lover’s delight and a must-see for the devout Hindus and Jains.
The entire hill is populated with coniferous forests and wildflowers along with many flowering shrubs abounding in the hillside making it a perfect place for picnics and daytime tours. Located about 474 km from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the hillside retreat of Mount Abu has a distinctive change of climate and offers a welcome relief from the heat. It is also situated at the border of Gujarat that has influenced the cuisine and lifestyle of the local population at Mount Abu profoundly.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary within the mountains is a haven for people interested in spotting exotic species of birds and animals. The cliffs are also the location for several famous temples in the State. Numerous Bollywood movies have been picturized here as well. The Arbuda Devi Temple fascinates pilgrims and tourists alike by its history of being carved out of one stone. Shri Raghunathji Temple along with a shrine plus a temple to Dattatreya is located at the top of Guru Shikhar, the highest point of Mount Abu. However, the Dilwara Temple complex, built over two centuries, happens to be the highlight of Mount Abu.
Each temple of the complex has been dedicated to a Tirthankara of the Jain Religion. The city also serves as the headquarters of the spiritual sect of Brahma Kumaris at present. The Achalgarh Fort is close by too and holds a particular interest for the visitors as it also has the beautiful Nakki Lake at its centre. The Toad Rock along with Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva are other points of attraction along with the Sunset Point that is besieged by tourists in the evening when the sun dips below the horizon.
The hill station has a significant history dating back to centuries. There are innumerable folktales associated with it too. Mount Abu situated at the height of 1219 meters had been ruled by the Chauhan kings of the Rajput clan. It had been used as a summer capital for numerous Rajput kings of the line after that. The Maharaja of Sirohi leased the city to the British Resident of Rajasthan who converted it into his headquarters during the British era. It also housed the British troops and officers of the British Raj who were glad to escape the dust, heat and sweat of the plains.
Mythological tales are rampant in this area that speaks of Mount Abu as an abode for 300 divine beings. The renowned saint Vashishth is believed to have performed a sacrifice near the cow head shaped rock in the area. The divine snake known as Arbud was also called upon to fill the chasms in the hill in order to secure the region and prevent creatures from being trapped inside. The area was hence known as Mount Arbud that changed to Mount Abu with time. Mahavira, the last of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras is also believed to have blessed Mount Abu after his visit. It has since been revered by the Jains who believe it to be a holy city.
Attractions of Mount Abu:
Mount Abu is littered with exotic attractions that would make any travellers wish list. Here are some of the ones you simply cannot miss —
Dilwara Temples - A spectacular feat of marble architecture, the Dilwara Temples are a sacred pilgrimage site for Jains, but also a top attraction for tourists visiting Mount Abu. There are 5 temples in the complex, each dedicated to a different saint of the faith.
Achalgarh Fort - The ruins of this medieval era fort, fuels the wandering spirit. Its surviving structures still exude grandeur and it is post-worthy from every angle! Proximity to other tourist spots like Mandakini Lake and the Kantinath Temple make this a must visit.
Guru Shikhar - About 15 km from the city centre is Mount Abu’s highest peak. Right at the top of its 1722 metre height, lies the Temple of Guru Dattatreya. With 300 steps to climb, this site is hugely popular for its beautiful views, cultural value and engaging experiences.
Nakki Lake - Even though Nakki Lake is man-made, it is considered sacred. Especially so for the Garacia Tribe of Rajasthan, who worship their ancestors, here, to this day. For tourists, the lake is open every day from morning to evening for boat rides and guided tours.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary - Mount Abu is one of the greenest zones you’ll find in all of Rajasthan and luckily that’s been preserved. The Wildlife Sanctuary is therefore a must-visit attraction, giving you the chance to spot everything from leopards and hyenas to porcupines and hedgehogs — and countless avian species too! The best time to tour the park is from February to June.