Fenced by the beautiful flora and fauna of Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary from a height of 300m upwards, Mount Abu is the exclusive hill town of Rajasthan most famous as a summer getaway of locals and tourists from all over the country and abroad. The town is perched on Rajasthan’s highest mountain at the south western edge of Aravali range and is very close to Gujarat.
Apart from being a tourist destination, Mount Abu also holds high religious importance for Hindus and Jains as it is home to more than 80 shrines and temples, most famous of which are the Delwara Jain Temples built over 400 to 1000 years ago. Out of the cluster of Delwara temples depicting a rich history and magnificent artwork, there are two – Vimal Vasahi and Luna Vasahi – which stand out as the most significant ones.
The older amongst the two, Vimal Vasahi, was financed by one at the Gujarat Chief Ministers of the time in 1031. Outside the entrance of the temple is the majestic House of Elephants which displays a procession of elephants carved out of stone marching towards the temple. Some of it was destroyed long ago during the era of Mughals. Inside the temple, an image of Adinath – the first tirthankar to whom the temple was actually dedicated, rests in a beautiful shrine surrounded by artistically carved pillars inside a forest.
The second temple, Luna Vasahi, was also built by two brothers, Tejpal and Vstupal, who happened to be Gujarat government officials. This shrine was constructed in 1230 and is dedicated to the 22nd tirthankar Neminath. The most intriguing characteristic of this temple is the intricate and unimaginable carvings which make the marbles almost transparent at certain areas. Like any other Jain temple, leather products such as belts and shoes aren’t allowed inside. You also have to leave your mobile phones and cameras outside before entering the temple.
Apart from these shrines, one of the most prominent tourist spots in this hill town which reserves its place in the cameras of almost every tourist visiting this place is the Nakki Lake. Legend has it that the lake got its name because it was carved out by a God using his nakh (nails). It’s a pleasant lake area surrounded by parks, hills, and interesting rock formations – Toad Rock is the most famous one – it looks like a toad ready to jump into the lake. Raghunath Temple, a 14th century shrine, which is very famous in the region, stands tall on the south end of the lake. You can take boating tours of the lake.
Other places of importance in the hill town of Mount Abu include Sunset Point which is of course known for its perfect sunset views and all the usual evening entertainment activities in a hill town such as chatting, enjoying the view, and eating at the food stalls in the area. Another popular attraction is the Brahma Kumari’s Peace Hall and Museum. You can take a free 30 minute tour inside the Universal Peace Hall which also includes a brief introduction to Brahma Kumari’s philosophy.
Since it is a small hill town, accommodation options are limited but enough. If you are on a budget and travelling with friends, try Shri Ganesh Hotel which offers cheap dorm, single and double rooms starting at INR150-200 (approx). For a more modest experience, try Hotel Samrat (rooms from INR1200 approx.) or Kishangarh House (rooms from INR3000 approx.). If you are on a luxury vacation and don’t mind splurging, Connaught House is definitely your place with an old-world charm of colonial bungalows, dark wood, and a lot of sepia photos. The management is very efficient and aims to please which would be easy for you to get discounts. AC rooms including breakfast and internet start at INR6700 (approx).
The nearest airport to Mount Abu is in Udaipur - Maharana Pratap Udaipur Airport. You can hire a taxi from the airport to take you to Mount Abu. Abu Road is the nearest railhead which falls on the Delhi to Mumbai route via Ahmedabad. You can take a taxi or jeep from Abu road to your hotel in Mount Abu.
There are buses connecting Mount Abu to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur.
Regular buses operate between Abu Road and Mount Abu every half hour from 6 in the morning until 7 in the evening. You can also take a taxi which would cost INR 300 during day and INR 400 overnight (approx.).