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Mount Abu Travel Guide
 
Mount Abu - The Destination   
A pleasant retreat set amidst the lush forested hills, Mount Abu is the thriving oasis in the desert land of Rajasthan. Situated at the southern tip of the Aravalli range, this hill retreat owes its cool climate to the rich floral vegetation that covers the entire hillside, including coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is much more than just a summer retreat. Its stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples, dating back 11th-13th century, make it a popular pilgrimage centre. According to a legend. Abu stands for the son of Himalayan, deriving its name from Arbuada, the powerful serpent who rescued Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, from a chasm.
Mount Abu has been home to many sages and saints. Most famous of them was Sage Vashishtha who is believed to have created four agnikula Rajput clans from a fire-pit by performing ayagna or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons. You will see a lot of animation in and around the Nakhi Talab, the lake at Mt. Abu. Legend has it that the gods dug it with their nails at a time when they were feeling thirsty and so the name Nakhi, since 'nakh' means fingernail. The lake offers relaxing times - boat rides and easy strolls along with some  very pleasant  walks in the nearby woods . Worth a look are the

Mount Abu Travel Guide

strange and fantastic shapes created due to some erosion on the rocks of the Aravallis.

The Sunset Point is a place to be at as the great ball of fire in the sky sets for the day. Though at times, the belvedere is almost invaded by tourists eager to enjoy the sight. Mt. Abu is a sacred spot for both Hindus and the Jains. Among the entire group of temples, the Vimla Vasahi and Luna Vasahi are exceptional. Quite plain from the outside, one is left astounded on crossing the threshold. Nowhere else will you find such fine carvings on marble.

Sculptures, celestial nymphs, floral decorations; they cover every inch of the inner walls. Look up and you will see one of the most remarkable carved works. An inverted lotus, exquisitely chiseled, hangs down from the main vault. Such fine work was normally done only on ivory. Chiseling produced a lot of marble dust. They say that the artisans were paid in gold, equivalent in weight to the dust produced!

Besides the main town of Abu, there are other visit-worthy places. According to myth, a purification sacrifice took place on Mt. Abu after which a group of Rajputs was born from this holy fire. The site of the sacrifice is the Gomukh temple where a source of water comes out from a rock shaped like cow’s mouth. Pilgrims collect the water, saying it has purifying properties.

A trip to Achalgarh fort offers some spectacular views of the surrounding areas. It used to be a part of a belt of 32 forts built to protect the ancient kingdom of Mewar. From the ramparts, you get to see not only the surrounding plains but also ruins of ancient temples. This little town with its mix of pilgrimage centers, tourist spots and a touch of the colonial times makes it different from the other places in Rajasthan. Take the winding trail up the hill; it is well worth the effort!

Mount Abu - Facts at a Glance

State : Rajasthan
Area : 25 sq kms
Temperature : 33.8 C 23.3 C (Summer)
28.3 C 11.6 C (Winter)
Rainfall : 65-177 cms
Altitude : 1219 metres
Language : Gujarati, English, Hindi
Best Season : February-June; September-December


History of Mount Abu


The history of Mount Abu is as varied as the city itself. It was once a part of the Chauhan kingdom of Rajasthan and served as a summer resort for the Rajput kings of the region. After that, it was leased by the British government from the then Maharaja of Sirohi for use as the headquarter of the resident to Rajputana (another name for Rajasthan).

Mount Abu was the home of many saints and sages in the old days. Legend says that all the 330 million gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon used to visit this holy mountain. It is also the place where the great saint Vashishth lived and performed a yagna (sacrificial worship on a fire pit) to create four Agnikula (four clans of fire) to protect the earth from demons. The yagna was supposed to have been performed near a natural spring, which emerged from a rock shaped like a cow's head.

According to another legend, once sage Vashishth's cow Nandini was trapped in a deep gorge and could not free herself. The sage appealed to Lord Shiva for assistance. The Lord sent Saraswati, the heavenly stream, to help flood the gorge so that the cow could float up. Vashishth then decided to ensure that such mishaps did not occur in future. He asked the youngest son of Himalaya, the king of mountains to fill the chasm permanently. This he did with the assistance of Arbud, the mighty snake. This spot came to be known as Mount Arbud and the name was later changed to its present form—Mount Abu.

This place is held in great reverence by the Jains since Jain scriptures record that Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara (spiritual leader) had visited Mount Abu and blessed the city.

During the British rule in India, it was the favorite summer destination of the British, who came here to escape the dusty, dry heat of the plains particularly Rajasthan. It also served as a sanatorium for the troops. The small huts and cottages here tell stories of those times even today.                                  Mount Abu Holiday Packages

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