I have been quite preoccupied with my work for almost 2 months, I was in no mood to celebrate my birthday in New Delhi, so my sister and I planned a quick trip to Mount Abu. We reached Udaipur one night before and then took a bus to Mount Abu at 8.30 am in the next morning. One of the most important point is that there are limited bus services to Mount Abu, buses either leave at 8.30 am, 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm and the same applies from Mount Abu to Udaipur too.
Mount Abu is the only hill station located near the Sirohi district of Rajasthan. Located on the Rajasthan- Gujarat border, it’s a popular and nearest tourist location from both the states. The place also has a significant place in the Hindu mythology as it is mentioned as the place where the Sage Vashistha retired.
It took us about 5 and a half hours to reach Mount Abu, it seemed as if we were traveling through desert where there exists hardly any human population, it was arid land throughout with trees having bare branches and thorns. After Abu road, roads become narrower and steeper, cut through the mountains and is exactly in a merry go round way. We had already booked Shanti hotel which is one of the best hotels located in the prime location.
Soon we retired to our room to take some rest before we start exploring the only hill station of the state.
We walked upto the Nakki Lake since it was late evening we couldn’t do boating instead we walked around the lake, which was beautiful and serene in its own way. 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.
Situated within walking distance from the main market and almost 80% of Hotel's and restaurants’ of Mount Abu, Nakki Lake is the heart of Mount Abu.
While walking back to the hotel, we came across a shop that makes interesting handmade boards; we were instantly attracted to it. We got our office board made from this shop :-)
We also bought tickets for the bus for sightseeing of Mount Abu for the next day- my birthday!
After heavy lunch, we decided to have light dinner – my sister ordered pav bhaji and I went for uttapaam followed by ice creams :-)
At night we celebrated my birthday by cutting pastries which we bought early this day.
After having breakfast we boarded the bus and yeye we were ready to explore the city with number of other co-travelers.
One of the most interesting observations of the place was that it’s a popular destination for families, wherever I looked I could see extended families chilling out- there were grandmothers, fathers, children, newlyweds and rarely group of friends or siblings like us. Our tourist guide Narendra was amazing, fluent and had great sense of humor, he gave us clear instructions on time and detailed information about the places we were supposed to visit.
Our first destination was Shankar Math- which has 9.5 feet tall shivling and was established in the year 1977. The temple is surrounded with plants all around, small pond with lotus flowers and Utrasum bead tree can also be seen around temple. One can notice third eye on the Shivling, and long hairs on the top of the Shivling, it is believed all this appeared naturally while carving out the Shivling.
Then we went to Adhar Devi temple. Situated in a cave, the Adhar Devi Temple is one of the popular religious themed tourist destinations in the Mount Abu region. The Adhar Devi Temple is reached by climbing up 365 stairs carved into the mountain. The temple itself is located inside a rocky cleave and is reached by crawling through a small opening into the cave. The Adhar Devi Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Durga. It got its name because the legend has it that "Adhar" of the Mataji (Goddess deity) fell here. The Adhar Devi temple contains many beautiful statues, and those that make the effort to climb the stairs are rewarded with many picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
Interestingly we were tricked by our guide who said that there are only 200 steps, so most of us took the stretch to complete it, later he told us that we had successfully climbed 365 steps. I was really happy that I could climb up and visit the temple, since it is located at one of the highest point, all of us got clicked by professional photographer.
The next stop was Dilwara Jain temple- 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. It is also famous for the story of Devrani and Jethani conflict where both of them contributed to the construction of the temple and they kept fighting as to who structure is better? And in this, many times temple was reconstructed! Finally because of the smartness of the architect, the temple could be constructed :-)
The fourth stoppage happened to be Achalgarh fort which is surrounded by massive battlement walls. It is situated at the top of a mountain peak and offers picturesque views. A 10 minute climb from Achalgarh brings you to the beautiful and historic Jain Temples. These temples are a must visit for more great views and the beautiful sculpture.
Next point was Achaleshwar temple. 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. There is famous belief that if you tie a cloth at the pole situated near the Nandi, all the disputes in the family gets solved.
We boarded the bus and started moving towards the highest point in the Mount Abu region, the bus then stopped at a point which was thankfully not a religious place- it was honeymoon point, it’s the place where Amir Khan Juhi Chawla starrer film was shot. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, not just that we can see whole of Mount Abu, but the cool breeze flowing, the whole ambience creates a scene directly from a Bollywood rom com film.
Finally we reached to Guru Shikar, I had no capacity to climb up but I didn’t want to give up so gathering all my courage I walked up to the most beautiful and scenic locations in the Mount Abu region. Gurushikhar holds the honor of being not only the highest peak of Mount Abu but the whole of Aravali mountain range, Situated at a height of 1722 meters from the sea-level, Guru Shikhar is also home to many beautiful and historic temples. It is famous for its temple of Guru Dattatreya an incarnation of the Hindu Deities ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva’ in one. If you go to the peak just a little to the north-west of Guru Shikhar, you can visit the shrine dedicated to Ahilya, the mother of Dattatreya.
While climbing down, we had snacks and tea and then boarded the bus back. We were really tired and literally dozed in the bus. The bus left us in the market from where we walked to the Nakki Lake. Quickly we bought tickets for boat ride, donned safety jackets and rushed towards the boats. It was soothing, serene and beautiful experience to do boating in the Nakki Lake.
I was so happy that we could visit all the tourist spots in the hill station! After all the adventure and extremely long day our stomach demanded food. So we went to a stall and gorge upon some chat and samosa with chai :-)
Coming here in Mount Abu and celebrating my birthday was indeed a fantastic idea :-)