Ideal duration: 2 days Major Airports: Udaipur Airport(Domestic Airport) Best time:July to September & November to February(Read More)
Mount Abu Tourism
Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan, India. Situated in the Sirohi district of the state and enjoys visits by tourists from all over the country and the world throughout the year. The demand for visiting the oasis within the arid lands of Rajasthan makes it necessary to book an accommodation well in advance. Based atop the famed Aravalli range of mountains, this place is a nature lover’s delight and a must-see for the devout Hindus and Jains.
The entire hill is populated with coniferous forests and wildflowers along with many flowering shrubs abounding in the hillside making it a perfect place for picnics and daytime tours. Located about 474 km from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the hillside retreat of Mount Abu has a distinctive change of climate and offers a welcome relief from the heat. It is also situated at the border of Gujarat that has influenced the cuisine and lifestyle of the local population at Mount Abu profoundly.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary within the mountains is a haven for people interested in spotting exotic species of birds and animals. The cliffs are also the location for several famous temples in the State. Numerous Bollywood movies have been picturized here as well.
Each temple of the complex has been dedicated to a Tirthankara of the Jain Religion. The city also serves as the headquarters of the spiritual sect of Brahma Kumaris at present.
The Achalgarh Fort is close by too and holds a particular interest for the visitors as it also has the beautiful Nakki Lake at its centre. The Toad Rock along with Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva are other points of attraction along with the Sunset Point that is besieged by tourists in the evening when the sun dips below the horizon.
The hill station has a significant history dating back to centuries. There are innumerable folktales associated with it too. Mount Abu situated at the height of 1219 meters had been ruled by the Chauhan kings of the Rajput clan. It had been used as a summer capital for numerous Rajput kings of the line after that. The Maharaja of Sirohi leased the city to the British Resident of Rajasthan who converted it into his headquarters during the British era. It also housed the British troops and officers of the British Raj who were glad to escape the dust, heat and sweat of the plains.
Mythological tales are rampant in this area that speaks of Mount Abu as an abode for 300 divine beings. The renowned saint Vashishth is believed to have performed a sacrifice near the cow head shaped rock in the area. The divine snake known as Arbud was also called upon to fill the chasms in the hill in order to secure the region and prevent creatures from being trapped inside. The area was hence known as Mount Arbud that changed to Mount Abu with time. Mahavira, the last of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras is also believed to have blessed Mount Abu after his visit. It has since been revered by the Jains who believe it to be a holy city.
Mount Abu is a tourist destination with the city being influenced by a number of exciting and diverse cultures. The rough and trying to scale the Aravalli Mountains had kept the city safe from foreign invasions throughout the medieval period. The tribal community of Bhillas, as well as Nagas, made the hills their home since the ancient times too. The present culture and practices have been heavily influenced by them, therefore. However, the most magnificent architecture came into existence during the reign of Solanki Kings, but the epitome of glory was observed during the Chauhan rule here. Mount Abu became a strong bastion of the British, and one is sure to be reminded of the era by the quaint cottages and residential houses constructed by the British engineers that exist even today.
The city of Mount Abu is multi-religious with Hindus, Christians and Jains living in the area. However, a majority of the population follows Hinduism and remains true to their tradition. The local people catch the eye with their intensely colourful attire. Nagras are a particular kind of footwear that characterize this region and happens to be a must buy for every tourist.
Best Time to Visit
There is no dearth of tourists to Mount Abu as the climate remains pleasant throughout the year. However, the lush greenery during monsoons attracts many people making July-September ideal for visiting the hill station. The winter is quite enjoyable as it is not as bitterly cold as North Indian hill stations. The International tourists prefer to visit Mount Abu during November to February each year when the winter festival is in full swing.
What you will like
Picturesque location with natural scenery.
Spotting wildlife and exotic birds at the Wildlife Sanctuary.
The magnificent architecture of Dilwara Temple.
Camping, trekking & rock climbing.
What you might not like
Weather is not as great as other hill stations.
Upkeep of tourist locales is less than satisfactory.
Honeymooners, Families, College Students, Vacationers.
How to Reach
By Air– Udaipur Airport is the nearest airport at 185 km away. However, Ahmedabad Airport is better connected with the major cities of India and lies at a distance of 221 km away from Mount Abu.
By Rail– Abu Road is the nearest station that is 28 km away from the hill station. It is well connected to the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur & Ahmedabad. There are regular bus services to Mount Abu from the railway station while it is also possible to hire private cars and taxis up to the destination.
Festivals and Fairs
Folk music and local dance forms are accessible in Mount Abu with people participating widely in the traditional dances of ‘Ghoomar’ & ‘Gair.’ While Holi and Diwali are celebrated along with the rest of India, Mount Abu also hosts multiple celebrations during Christmas and New Year’s Day on account of multinational tourists visiting the city.
Summer Festival- This is a celebration of summer in the mountains with classical as well as folk music and dance being the highlight of the festival. It is a two-day-long event held in the month of June on Buddha Purnima, every year. The tribal culture and life of the hill people are celebrated in style by a ceremonial procession that culminates in a spectacular firework display on the last day of the event.
Winter Festival- This is an event held in the last week of December in order to provide the local people with some much-needed respite. It had begun as a joint venture of the ‘Municipal Board of Tamil Nadu’ and the ‘Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’ and had been going on to date. There are a number of cultural programmes including musical extravaganzas and traditional dance performances taking place in the hill station.
However, the sporting activities are of particular interest here along with the Deep Daan ceremony that has participants floating lighted lamps on the Nakki Lake.
Shopping at Mount Abu
A visit to Mount Abu cannot be considered complete without shopping. The tourists are entranced to find beautifully embroidered garments from Rajasthan as well as neighbouring Gujarat at the local markets.
However, the traditional nagras or jhootis of the Rajput warriors are perfect souvenirs to be taken home. Sanganeri printed linens, and the Airy Kota Sarees are in demand always as are stone crafted handicrafts, lightweight quilts and colourful bangles.
The local market offers many items but not always at a fair price. The best rates can be obtained at the Government Emporiums such as Rajasthali & Khadi Bhandar while the Nakki Lake Market is an excellent place to buy artefacts provided one is adept at bargaining.
Local Food and Eateries
Mount Abu is located in Rajasthan but situated on the border of Gujarat. This makes it possible to enjoy cuisines from both the States. The variety of dishes is indeed incredible and comes filled with flavour and spices in keeping with the Rajasthani culture. The dominance of Hindus and Jains make Mount Abu a vegetarian area predominantly, but the tourists can find Continental, Chinese & North Indian fare that includes a number of non-vegetarian dishes as well.
The dry climate of the hills makes it essential for an individual to sustain milk and yoghurt based drinks instead of plain water. Pakodi & Gatte ki Sabzi are the most popular dishes that make use of dried ingredients due to the scarcity of fresh, green vegetables.
Dal Bati Churma is immensely famous here as elsewhere in Rajasthan while the Gujarati Thali containing a number of delectable dishes of Gujarati cuisine make a welcome change. The chutneys served as accompaniments are hot and spicy with a hint of sweetness arising from the use of mint as well.
Ghewar, the traditional sweet of Mount Abu is a layered and light cake made with wheat flour and a liberal amount of sugar syrup.
The most popular eateries within the city include:-
Arbuda- This is a multi cuisine restaurant that offers food from Punjab, Gujarat and South India along with Rajasthani cuisine. Continental breakfast happens to be exceedingly popular here.
Kanak Dining Hall- This is a traditional Indian eatery serving traditional thalis. The all-you-can-eat policy has made this restaurant quite popular with tourists.
Sher-e-Punjab Hotel- This is well known for its Punjabi cuisine, and a must visit for tourists who crave non-vegetarian dishes.
Day 1- Arrive at Mount Abu and check into a hotel. Head out for exploring the magnificent Dilwara temples post breakfast. Walk up to the Achalgarh Fort and marvel at the remnants of the bygone era. Climb up the hill to visit the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple and worship the Shivling there. Go to the favourite Nakki Lake and enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the water body. Feel free to go boating and catch the view of the city from the midst of the lake. Once done, you can go up to the Sunset Point to watch the spectacular scenery of the sun dipping below the Aravalli range. Spend the evening shopping and eating traditional Rajasthani food and relax after returning to your hotel.
Day 2-Arise early the next day and take a trek or travel by car to Guru Shikhar, the highest point of Rajasthan. Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the top. Climb down to the Dattatreya cave temples and enjoy seeing the relics including the huge bell kept inside the temple. Next, head towards Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary and spend about 3 hours there nothing flora and fauna and marvel at the beautiful orchids hanging from the trees. Go back to the hotel for lunch and a few hours of rest. Spend the evening at the ‘Brahma Kumari World Spiritual University’ and enjoy the spiritual lectures by taking a guided tour. Meditate to refresh your mind and return feeling at peace.