Mount Abu is home to a number of tourist attractions from natural beauty to historical and architectural places, The Dilwara Jain temples are a complex of temples, carved of white marble, that were built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD.
The historical Achalgarh fort, built in the 14th century by Rana Kumbha of Mewar. It encloses several beautiful Jain temples, including the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple (1412) and the Kantinath Temple (1513).
Heart of the city Nakki Lake, is another popular visitor attraction of Mount Abu. There is the Toad Rock on a hill near the lake. Raghunath Temple and Maharaja Jaipur Palace are also on hills near Nakki Lake.
The mountain is also home to several Hindu temples, including the Adhar Devi Temple, carved out of solid rock; the Shri Raghunathji Temple; and a shrine and temple to Dattatreya built atop the Guru Shikhar peak. The world headquarters of the Brahma Kumari order of lady renunciates is also located here, as is the World Spiritual University of the same denomination. There is also believed to be a footprint of Vishnu on top of Mount Abu. The Durga temple, Ambika Mata Temple lies in a cleft of rock in Jagat, just outside of Mount Abu.
Dilwara Jain Temples
Located at a distance of just 2.5 kilometers from mount Abu, the Dilwara Jain temples were built between the 11th and the 13th century. 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, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath; Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Neminatha; Pithalhar, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Rishabha; Parshvanath, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshva and Mahavir Swami, dedicated to the last Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira. 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.
The Forest located between the Aravalli mountain range was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1980 and covers an area of approximately 288 sq kilometers. It is a sub tropical forest which has an abundance of various species of flora and fauna. While there are traces of past dwellings of the lion and the tiger, but as of now the prime feline predator found here is the Leopard. As I’m more of a nature hound and I like to explore the natural beauty of every place that I travel, this was just the kinda place I was looking for in the otherwise desert state of Rajasthan. The rare species found here are sambhar, common langur, wild boar, bear, pangolin, common mongoose, jungle cat, wolf, hyena, jackal, Indian fox, Indian hare, porcupine and hedgehog. These forests are also said to be the home to around 250 species of birds but the most special one is the grey jungle fowl which is unique to this area.
One of the most popular attractions in mount Abu, Nakki Lake is an ancient and sacred lake. According to Hindu mythology the lake was dug out by the Gods by simply using their nails to gain shelter from the Demon Bashkali, 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 various trek spots near the lake sated my hunger for some adventure and the boating trips were relaxing under the amazing weather I experienced here. 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. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants and eateries located near the lake which offer some great local food at really cheap prices. The fountains in the lake add to its natural beauty.
Although this is a totally different town, situated near the Banas River, Abu road is a must visit. It normally refers to a railway station which is located in a picturesque surrounding. The weather is generally pleasant; however, to enjoy this place to its fullest, one must visit it between November and December. The place is a home to several different temples which are significant in the Hindu mythology and display an amazing work of Indian architecture. The market places are great and being an Indian I felt relieved that it was sans the malls and how they preserved the aesthetics of the Indian bazaars. The Banas River is also a great picnic spot and can be enjoyed during mild rainfall. Many Indian tourists can find this place as dull and boring, with not many things to offer, but for a lone traveler this place can unleash a variety of surprises. Do not forget to taste the amazing and silky ‘Rabri’ which is a famous local sweet dish.
The name refers to a fort and an ancient kingdom, which was originally built by the Paramara Dynasty rulers. The fort was reconstructed in 1452 by Maharana Kumbha the ruler of the Mewar kingdom and was renamed as “Achalgarh’ or the immovable. The fort however stands in ruins to this day, leaving behind many remnants which make this place a tourist attraction. The main entrances are characterized by two towers carved out of grey granite, which still stand as a memorial of this once pompous and majestic fort. The place is located at an amazing location and is famous for its ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva known as the Achaleshwar Mahadeva Temple. 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. The fort walls and the amazing location give an amazing panoramic view of the surroundings.
As mentioned in the prologue, Guru Shikar is the highest point in mount Abu and forms the highest point in the Aravalli mountain range. The place is perfect to get a panoramic view of the whole region and is famous for its temple of Guru Dattatreya an incarnation of the Hindu Deities ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva’ in one. While many wouldn’t find much in this place apart from the various temples and the amazing views, it was quiet natural to me to take out my trusty paperback and get lost in the enticing plot amidst the enchanting surroundings. Do not forget to pack food and beverages but preferably not any alcohol as the place is considered as sacred.
Trevor’s tank or Trevor’s crocodile park is a man made crocodile breeding spot located 5 kilometers away from mount Abu. While it was the last place I visited there, I found it to be the most serene and relaxing. Though I still don’t get the purpose of breeding crocodiles here but the location and the lush green surroundings can almost make you forget the purpose of its creation. The entrance to this place was amazing and gave me a fresh and relaxing feel. Make sure you visit this place during mild winter months of November and December. It is a great picnic spot which will only be enhanced by the good company of your family or friends. The place also house various fauna like the black bear and obviously the various crocodiles resting on the rocky shores. The birdwatchers and the shutterbugs can get plenty of amazing shots. Interestingly, this place is like an Indian-ized version of Rivendell. If there’s one place you must experience in mount Abu, it’s got to be Trevor’s tank.
Sher E Punjab
It is quiet rare that I don’t mention a local eatery whenever I visit a place, and yes the place you must visit for a pocket friendly but amazing dining experience is ‘Sher E Punjab’. The restaurant/Dhaba is located in the main market, near the Sabzi mandi and it offers some great recipes that cater to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. You can place yourself outside or in the cleaner and more comfy room inside. The food is amazing with non vegetarian recipes like Dhaba Gosht, Kadai Chicken, Chicken 65, butter chicken etc. while I’m not a big fan of the Punjabi recipes found in Rajasthan due to its perversion at the hands of the locals. But this place was luckily unaffected by the local perversion and offered some really great tasting recipes that were essentially, ‘dirt cheap’. I would totally recommend a visit to this eatery for all the food enthusiasts.