Located near the Sirohi District, Mount Abu is the only hill station in the desert state of Rajasthan. It lies in the Aravalli mountain range at an approximate elevation of around 1,220 meters above sea level, with its highest point being ‘Guru Shikhar’ which is at a height of 1,722 meters above sea level. Being the only hill station in Rajasthan, it has been a popular retreat for the residents as a place away from the scorching desert heat. The place also has a significant place in the Hindu mythology as it is mentioned as the place where the Sage Vashistha retired. Today, the place is a great tourist destination, a hill station with the distinctive blend of the flavors of Rajasthan. It totally deserves a visit. Here is a list of 10 interesting places to visit in Mount Abu:
1. Dilwara Jain Temples
Famous for: Architecture, History, Photography, Pilgrimage.
Located at a distance of just 2.5 kilometers from mount Abu, the Dilwara Jain temples were built between the 11th and the 13th century. The feature that makes it a must visit is the amazing and brilliant use of marble in the architecture. The ornamental carvings and the flawless stone laying technique make it one among the most beautiful pilgrimage spots in the world. The temple complex consists of 5 temples which are unique to the Jain culture in India namely Vimal Vasahi, Luna Vasahi, Pithalhar, Parshvanath and Mahavir Swami. The lotus like engravings on the ceilings and the different scenes from the Jain and Hindu mythology represented through carved marble sculptures are sure to leave you awestruck.
Guru Shikar is the highest point in mount Abu and forms the highest point in the Aravalli mountain range. The place is perfect to get a panoramic view of the whole region and is famous for its temple of Guru Dattatreya an incarnation of the Hindu Deities ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva’ in one. While many wouldn’t find much in this place apart from the various temples and the amazing views, it was quiet natural to me to take out my trusty paperback and get lost in the enticing plot amidst the enchanting surroundings. Do not forget to pack food and beverages but preferably not any alcohol as the place is considered as sacred.
The name refers to a fort and an ancient kingdom, which was originally built by the Paramara Dynasty rulers. The fort was reconstructed in 1452 by Maharana Kumbha the ruler of the Mewar kingdom and was renamed as 'Achalgarh' or the immovable. The fort however stands in ruins to this day, leaving behind many remnants which make this place a tourist attraction. The main entrances are characterized by two towers carved out of grey granite, which still stand as a memorial of this once pompous and majestic fort. The fort walls and the amazing location give an amazing panoramic view of the surroundings.
Visit the Jain Temples in the fort.
Shop for souveniers in the nearby markets.
Pay a visit to and Achaleshwar Mahadeva Temple nearby.
4. Nakki Lake
Famous for: Nature, Photography, Relaxation.
Tickets: No entry fee. Boating charges applicable.
Opening Timings: Open all days with boating timings (09:30 am – 06:00 pm).
One of the most popular attractions in Mount Abu, Nakki Lake is an ancient and sacred lake. According to Hindu mythology the lake was dug out by the Gods by simply using their nails to gain shelter from the Demon Banshkhali, however many such mythological stories exist leading to the creation of this lake. Nevertheless, the place is a great spot for picnic with friends and family alike. The lake is also famous as Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed here leading to the construction of Gandhi Ghat, which is also a popular monument located here. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants and eateries located near the lake which offer some great local food at really cheap prices. The fountains in the lake add to its natural beauty.
The sunset view on Aravali Range is best viewed from Sunset Point. This is one of the most visited place for all the tourists coming to Mount Abu. The sunset view here was even featured in the bollywood movie, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The pleasant climate and the relaxing atmosphere around here would woo anyone.
Famous for its natural occurring shiva linga, Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple is one of the most oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Rajasthan. A subject of many legends and tales, this fort is situated near Achal Fort and was built around second century. Recent restoration works have restored this architectural marvel into its former glory. The temple is said to have a foot impression of Lord Shiva himself and also has a brass Nandi and 3 sculptures of buffalos near the pond.
Trevor’s tank or Trevor’s crocodile park is a man made crocodile breeding spot located 5 kilometers away from mount Abu. The entrance to this place was amazing and gave me a fresh and relaxing feel. Make sure you visit this place during mild winter months of November and December. It is a great picnic spot which will only be enhanced by the good company of your family or friends. The place also house various fauna like the black bear and obviously the various crocodiles resting on the rocky shores. The birdwatchers and the shutterbugs can get plenty of amazing shots. Interestingly, this place is like an Indianized version of Rivendell. If there’s one place you must experience in mount Abu, it’s got to be Trevor’s tank.
A trip to Mount Abu would be incomplete without shopping in its famous markets. These include, Government Handicraft Emporium, Kashmiri Cottage Emporium, Piccadilly Plaza and Khadi Bhandar. These markets are located nearby and are a colourful marketplace famous for its textiles, handicrafts, kashmiri shawls, handlooms, ayurvedic oils and many more.
The Forest located between the Aravalli mountain range was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1980 and covers an area of approximately 288 sq kilometers. It is a sub tropical forest which has an abundance of various species of flora and fauna. While there are traces of past dwellings of the lion and the tiger, but as of now the prime feline predator found here is the Leopard. The rare species found here are sambhar, common langur, wild boar, bear, pangolin, common mongoose, jungle cat, wolf, hyena, jackal, Indian fox, Indian hare, porcupine and hedgehog. These forests are also said to be the home to around 250 species of birds but the most special one is the grey jungle fowl which is unique to this area.
10. Toad Rock
Famous for: Viewpoint, Photography, Trekking.
Tickets: No entry fee.
Opening Timings: Open all days from sunrise to sunset.
Toad Rock gets its name due to the presence of a naturally made stone sculpture resembling a tortoise. The scenic views of Mount Views and the nearby Aravali Ranges can be enjoyed from this location. Visitors can also trek their way to this hill and enjoy some really stunning panoramic views on the way. An ideal place for photographers and adventure enthusiasts, Toad Rock is a must visit for all nature lovers.
Trekking and Hiking.
Some other popular attractions nearby are: Shri Raghunatji Temple, Gaumukh Temple and Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University and Museum.
Mount Abu, being the only hill station in Rajasthan is frequented by tourists all year round. It is a wonderful retreat for the sun scorched inhabitants and tourists from other states. The lush green surroundings, the Rajasthani flavors and the immense amount of natural beauty will definitely leave a mark. Also visit: http://www.transindiatravels.com/rajasthan/tourist-places-to-visit-in-rajasthan to find out more about the heavenly land of Rajasthan.