Explore Mount Abu – An Oasis in the Desert
Mount Abu in Rajasthan is a dream destination that has something to offer for all types of visitors. For the religiously inclined there are numerous temples and sacred sites. Arbuda Devi Mandir, Guru Shikhar, and the Jain Dilwara temples are some of them. For tourists with sightseeing on their minds, there are lakes, rivers, and viewing points offering tantalizing views of the landscape all around. Historical structures like Achalgarh Fort and wildlife sanctuaries with an amazing range of flora and fauna species add to the experience. Mount Abu has rightly been described as an oasis in the desert as this plateau is surrounded by deserts.
Mount Abu is a rocky plateau with an area of about 200 square km in the Aravalli Range. It has a history going back to the days of the Treta Yuga. Rishi Vashishtha performed a Yagya here for the protection of Dharma. A blessing from the Gods came in the form of a youth who arose from the Yagya Agni Kund. He was the first Agnivansh Rajput. Ever since Rajputs have always protected Dharma and the righteous. In later years this area was visited by Pandava Arjun in the days of the Mahabharata during the Dwapara Yuga.
There are numerous places to visit and see in and around Mount Abu. Mentioned below are some of them. Besides these, there are still many locations worth visiting – depending on the time spent in Mount Abu.
Mount Abu Places to visit & Things to do
Nakki Lake – Arguably the most famous landmark of Mount Abu, Nakki Lake is a large lake surrounded by hills, huge rocks, and verdant greenery. There are a number of stories and myths about the lake, but most of them are unbelievable. It is said this lake was made by the Devtas to protect themselves from demons. Boating on the lake is a mesmerizing experience with great views all around.
Arbuda Devi Temple – Also known as Adhar Devi, this is an ancient temple and a sacred pilgrimage site. Adhar Devi is a form of Katyayani Mata. This temple is cut from a single rock and can be reached after a challenging climb of over 300 steps. Arbuda Devi is the family deity of many Rajput clans.
Dilwara Jain Temples – These temples are about 3 km from the city center. Diawara Jain temples were constructed between the 11th and the 13th centuries CE by various Kings including Vimal Shah. They were designed by Vastu Tejpal. These temples are examples of exquisite architecture and design and are considered the most beautiful Jain pilgrimages in the world. Of the numerous temples, five are the most opulent with intricately carved pillars, grand halls, and sculptures. These are – Vimal Vasahi Temple, Luna Vasahi Temple, Pittalhar Temple, Parshwanatha Temple, and Mahavir Swami Temple.
Toad Rock – A famous landmark of Mount Abu, Toad rock, as the name suggests is a large rock in the shape of a toad. It overlooks Nakki Lake and can be reached by a climb of about 250 steps. This is one of the most visited spots on Mount Abu.
Raghunath Temple – is said to be a 650 years old temple and is a splendid example of carved pillars, dome ceiling, and Mewari architecture. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has a number of stories around it. This temple is held in high reverence by the local residents.
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University – This is located within a large campus on a hill known as Madhuban. The ashram offers a spiritual retreat for those interested in courses on meditation and yoga.
Mount Abu Sunset Point – A visit to Mount Abu is considered incomplete without a visit to Sunset Point. It is also a picnic spot and offers beautiful views of the surroundings and particularly the sunset with its wide range of colors. Sunset Point is about 2 km from Nakki Lake.
Achalgarh Village, Fort, and Temple – This is a picturesque village high in the hills. The sights to see here include the Achalgarh Fort, Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple and the village itself. The 15th-century fort is now in ruins with the Mahadev Temple and Mandakini lake within its complex. A large Nandi statue in front of the Mahadev Temple is a big attraction. There are a few Jain temples too, within the complex. Achalgarh is about 5 km from the city center.
Guru Shikhar – is about 14 km from Mount Abu. At an altitude of about 5600 feet above sea level, it is the highest point in the Aravalli Range. Guru Dattatreya is believed to have meditated in a cave in the days gone by. There is a temple dedicated to him here. There is also an ancient bell with the date 1411 inscribed on it near the temple.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary – With a wide variety of flora and fauna species, Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect getaway for nature and animal lovers. There are many viewing points within the sanctuary from where wildlife can be spotted. Large igneous rocks with huge cavities can also be seen here.
A few days in Mount Abu are sure to be fun-filled and exciting. The weather is pleasant for most of the year and in winter it is bracing. Abu road is the nearest railhead, about 27 km away. The nearest airport is Udaipur, about 182 km away. Ahmedabad Airport is about 215 km away.