The history of Mount Abu is as diverse as the city itself. It was once a part of the Chauhan kingdom of Rajasthan and served as a summer resort for the Rajput kings of the region. After that, it was leased by the British government from the then Maharaja of Sirohi for use as the headquarter of the resident of Rajputana (another name for Rajasthan).
During the British rule in India, it was the favorite summer destination of the British, who came here to escape the dusty, dry heat of the plains, particularly Rajasthan. It also served as a sanatorium for the troops. The small huts and cottages here tell stories of those times even today. Mount Abu was the home of many saints and sages in the old days. Legend has it that all the 330 million gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon used to visit this holy mountain. It is also the place where the great saint Vashishth lived and performed a yajna (sacrificial worship on a fire pit) to create four Agnikula (four clans of fire) to protect the earth from demons. The yajna was supposed to have been performed near a natural spring, which emerged from a rock shaped like a cow’s head.
Places Of Interest
Gaumukh Temple: Down on the Abu Road side of Mount Abu, a small stream flows
from the mouth of a marble cow, giving the shrine its name. There is also a marble figure of the bull Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle. The tank here, Agni Kund, is said to be the site of the sacrificial fire, made by sage Vashistha, from which four of the great Rajput clans were born. An image of Vashishtha is flanked by the figures of Rama and Krishna.
Dilwara Jain Temples: It is dedicated to the first Tirthankara (Jain Teacher), Adinath. The central shrine contains an image of Adinath, while around the courtyard are 57 identical cells, each with a Buddha-like cross-legged image. Forty-eight elegantly carved pillars from the entrance to the courtyard. In front of the temple stands the House of Elephants, with figures of elephants marching in procession to the temple.
Adhar Devi Temple: The Adhar Devi temple, about 3km north of town, is chiseled out of a huge rock and reached by a flight of 365 steps. You have to stoop to get through the low entrance of the temple. It is a favorite tourist spot.
Shri Raghunathji Temple: Situated near the ‘Nakki’ lake is the temple dedicated to Shri Raghunathji with a beautiful image of the deity that was placed here in 14th century A.D. by Shri Ramanand the famous Hindu preacher.
Guru Shikhar: At the end of the plateau, 15km from Mount Abu, is Guru Shikar, the highest point in Rajasthan at 1722m. A road goes almost all the way to the summit. At the top is the Atri Rishi Temple, complete with a priest and good views all around.
Achalgarh: The Shiva Temple of Achaleshwar Mahadeva, in Achalgarh, boasts a number of interesting features, including what is said to be a toe of Shiva, as well as a brass Nandi (Shiva’s vehicle, a bull) and, where the Siva Lingum would normally be, there is a deep hole that is said to extend all the way down to the underworld. Just outside the temple beside the car park, three stone buffaloes stand around a tank, while the figure of a King shoots at them with his bows and arrows. A legend states that the tank was once filled with ghee, but demons, in the form of buffalos came down and polluted the ghee until the king shot them. A path leads up to the hillside to a group of colorful Jain temples, which all have fine views over the plains.
Other attractions: Other attractions are Museum & Art Gallery, Sunset points, Gardens & Parks, and Trevor’s Tank.
Bazaars: hopping is another attraction at Mount Abu. Mount Abu has a market having a variety of shops with a variety of Rajasthani and Gujarati articles from handicrafts of different categories, textile, Jewellery articles, wooden, marble and metal, Rajasthani paintings, Leather articles, stone crafts, etc. Curios in marble, sandalwood, and sandstone can be bought from the shops around Nakki Lake. Kota saris, bangles, linen with Sanganeri prints, and lightweight Jaipury quilt are also available. For Rajasthani Handicrafts, there is Rajasthali, Rajasthan Government Handicrafts Emporium, and Khadi Bhandar, also there are metal, stone, wooden, and clothing handicrafts shops like Fair Price Rajasthan Emporium, Piccadilly Plaza, Chacha Museum, Kashmir Cottage Emporium, M/S Bansilal Bhurmal (famous Jaipuri Quilts -light Weight ).
Restaurants: Mount Abu, being a major tourist destination, has lots of restaurants serving national and international cuisines. The city doesn’t have a specialty of its own, but the different items of the state are very popular here. You can get all specialties of Rajasthan food in the city. Do not forget to try the combination of dal, bati, and churma.
How to Reach
By Air: Udaipur is the nearest airport. Daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai, and Jaipur are available to Udaipur
By Rail: Abu Road is the nearest railway station and is about 22 km from Mount Abu. And well connected to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Jodhpur.
By Roads: Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe buses from Jaipur and Abu Road to Mount Abu. It is also connected by road to Delhi, Udaipur, Ajmer, Bundi, and Udaipur.