Weekend Getaway To Mount Abu

20th May 2017
Photo of Weekend Getaway To Mount Abu by Varun Upadhyay

Bored? Sick of summer already? Want to go to a place that is calm, cool and perfect for a small weekend getaway? Escape to Mount Abu. I mean, that's what we did. 

Located just 224 km. away from my home in Gandhinagar; the capital city of Gujarat, Mount Abu is nested on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat in the Aravalli mountain range. It is a very popular hill station being home to many rivers, lake, waterfalls and lush green forests.

The nearest railway station is Abu Road Railway Station, 27 km away from Mount Abu. From there you can hop on a Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation but from the bus terminal near the railway station for a 45 min ride through the scenic route of Abu. Or if you are a adrenaline junkie like me you can always go there by car or bike. A word of warning, the road from the town of Abu to the top is very dangerous one side being deep gorges and steep mountain walls. One has to be extra careful if you decide to go there by your own vehicle. And if you are going there with your mother, like me, blindfold her.

Day 1 started at 03:30 am with my phone vibrating and alarm blaring at full volume from under my pillow. After the alarm showdown, my mother came and kicked my door to wake me up. After a cup of coffee and a quick shower, I waited as my mother and sister to get ready. What was the point of waking me up when they were not ready, I just didn't understand. Finally we set out for Mount Abu taking the Kalol-Mehsana Highway at 4:30am. Maintaining average speed of 100-110 km/h and without taking any stops we reached Abu at 7 am. Let me tell you, within the second of reaching there we were instantly recharged. The fresh air away from the pollution, the greenery that was a treat to the eyes and the foggy morning; perfect. So the first thing we did was to find our hotel (booked through OYO) and dropped our luggage there and took to the streets of Abu to find a decent place for a cuppa of tea and some breakfast.

On the first day we explored the local markets and checked out some jewelry shops that were actually cool, please do bargain as the locals here are always ready to rip you off. In the evening you can visit the famous Nakki Lake, and while you are there please do try out the soft serve ice cream cone shops that you can find almost everywhere in the market area. It is a heaven for ice-cream fanatics like myself, you can find a variety of flavours and even larger variety of toppings there.

According to a age old myth, Nakki lake was dug by nail of people hence the name was struck. At Nakki Lake you can get a paddle boat on hire for INR 200 per person for 30-40 minutes which I personally think is a total rip off, but as the rates are fixed there is no scope of bargaining. We spent the next 45 minutes boating feeding ducks and panting paddling the boat around the lake.

After boating we headed towards a small hill next to Nakki lake called Toad Rock. It is basically a huge rock that has naturally eroded in the shape of a huge frog. You will have to climb quiet a few steps to reach the top,. At around half the steps there is cave where it is said Swami Vivekanand meditated for some time. Be careful as there are no guard rails or fencing so you have to be very careful here on the top. This place gives a panoramic view of the Abu town and Nakki lake.

After visiting toad rock we headed towards sunset point, and let me tell you this mountain top gives miles and miles of unobstructed view of the plateau on a clear day. From the parking one has to walk for around 2 km to reach the top, but let me tell you it will be worth it. If you dont prefer to walk; read: you are too lazy to walk, you can hire carts or a horse for INR100. Once you are at the top take some time to soak the view in. The sunset was totally mesmerizing paired with cool breeze.

Day 2 Mornings in Abu are a charm. Lush green mountains everywhere. Who would not want waking up to these scenery? After freshening up we agian hopped in the car and set out towards Gurushukhar mountain at 8am.

Guru Shikhar is a peak in the Arbuda Mountains of Rajasthan. It has a height of 1,722 meters which makes it the highest point of the Aravalli Range. It is 15 km from Mount Abu and a road from there leads almost to the top of the mountain winding through numerous valleys and a couple of small river tribunaries.

The mountains name has a story of it own. It is named Guru - Shikhar or 'the peak of the guru' after Dattatreya, an incarnation of Vishnu, and a cave at the summit contains a temple dedicated to him, plus one dedicated his mother, Anasuya, wife of sage Atri nearby. A lot of newly weded couples visit this temple for blessings.

Adjacent to the temple is the Mt Abu Observatory operated by the Physical Research Laboratory. This observatory hosts a 1.2m infrared telescope and also several Astronomy experiments and star gazing goes on there. That area is strictly private so no entry for civilians.

On the way back we stopped at the Dilwara Jain Temples. Dilwara temples are remarkable examples of Jain architecture and are known for country’s finely decorated temples. Made of marble, these two temples are center of attraction for tourists and those who believes in the Jainism. Vimal Vashai is the older temple, dates back to as early as year 1031. It is dedicated to the first tirthankar of Jains, Adinath. It is said that 1500 masions and 1200 laborers built it in 14 years. The other one, the Luna Vashi temple is dedicated to the Neminath, the 22nd tirthankar and was built about two centuries later in about 15 years. The temple complex is in the city boundary only and you can easily walk your way to it since it is very near to parking place.