Mount Abu – The Mythological Beauty
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Mount Abu situated at a average height of 1,219 mtr’s above sea level is the oasis in the deserted land of Rajasthan and posses the honor of being the only hill-station in Rajasthan as well as north-west India, The world famous tourist destination is known for its Delwara Jain temples and natural beauty world over, situated amidst lush green forested hills on the highest peak in the Aravali range is also the summer capital for the Indian state of Rajasthan, home to lakes, waterfalls and green forests, the hill retreat, has a very cool and soothing climate thanks to its rich flora covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. Mount Abu with its word-class tourist facilities with hotels ranging from budget class to three star and heritage provides a great holiday escape and honeymoon attraction. Every year more then three million national and international tourists visit mount Abu enjoying its scenic beauty, rich flora & fauna as well as the marble art of delwara Jain temples. Mount Abu is declared closed area since 1965.
Although, complete area of 328 sq. km. of Abu Hills is declared protected but officially 112.98 sq. km. is under unnotified sanctuary area (Anon., 2003). In shape, Mt. Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is long and narrow but the top spreads out into a picturesque plateau, which is about 19 km in length and 5-8 km in breadth. Once home to the meditating rishi and munis, the legend has it that Mount Abu is home to 33 crore Gods and Goddess. According to the legend the name Abu means son of Himalayas (or Ar-Booda, “the hill of wisdom”), deriving its name from Arbuada – the powerful serpent, which rescued Nandi the sacred bull of Lord Shiva. Mount Abu has been home, to many rishis and munis (sages and saints), including the famous Rishi Vashishtha, who is believed to have created four Agnikul Rajput clans, from a fire- pit, by performing a yagna or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons.In historic times, Mount Abu was leased by the The East-India Company (British empire) from the Maharajah of Sirohi, Mount Abu was used as the headquarters for the resident of Rajputana until 1947, and as a sanatorium for troops.
Dilwara Jain Temple – Marble StoneCraft At Its Best
Dilwara Jain Temples is one of the finest Jain temple known world over for its extraordinary architecture and marvelous marble stone carvings, some experts also consider it architecturally superior to the Taj Mahal. It seems fairly basic temple from outside but every cloud has a silver lining, the temple interior showcases the extraordinary work of human craftsmanship at its best. These temples were built between 11th to 13th century AD, The beautiful lush green hills surrounding the temple gives a very pleasant feeling. The ornamental details of marble stone carvings is phenomenal and unmatched, The minutely carved ceilings and the pillars are just amazing. All this was done at a time when no transport or roads were available at a height of 1200+ Mtrs in Mount Abu, Huge blocks of marble stones were transported on elephant backs from the Arasoori Hills at Ambaji to this remote hilly region of Mount Abu. Dilwara temples is also a popular Jain pilgrimage attraction.
Dilwara Temple complex consist of five major sections or temples devoted to five jain trithankaras(saints):
1. Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple – This temple was constructed in 1582 and is devoted to Lord Mahaveer the 24th Tirthankara of Jain’s, this temple is relatively small the temple’s upper walls have pictures of the porch painted by craftsmen of sirohi in year 1764.
2. Shri AdiNath Temple or Vimal Vasahi Temple – This temple is build by Vimal Shah, Minister of Solanika ruler of Gujarat in 1031 A.D., this temple is the oldest of all and dedicated to Shri Adinath Ji – The first jain trithankar, the temple has an open courtyard surrounded by corridors all beautifully decorated with marble carved stones. Cells inside this temple are contain tiny images of Jain saints artistically carved on marble stone minutely. The internal dome is aesthetically decorated with design’s of flowers and petals, the huge hall of the temple pillars decorated with the carving work of female figures playing musical instruments. The temple also have the “Guda Mandapa” – A simple hall decorated with the images of Shri Adi Nath.
3. Shri ParshavNath Temple or Khartar Vasahi Temple – This temple was built by Mandika clan between 1458-59 A.D., this temple has the tallest shrine along with four big Mandapa’s amongst all dilwara temples. The carving on the pillars of this temple is yet another example of these jain temples architectural superiority.
4. Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple – This temple is known as Pittalhari/Peethalhar temple because in this temple most of the statues are built using ‘Pittal’ (Brass Metal). This temple was built by Bhima Shah; a minister from Gujarat dynasty, like other temples of Dilwara this temple is also having Gudu Mandapa and Navchowki.
5. Shri NemiNathJi Temple or Luna Vasahi Temple – This temple was built in 1230 A.D. by two brothers known as Tejpal and Vastupal, they dedicated this temple to the 22nd saint of Jainism – Shri Nemi Nathji. This temple has one hall named Rag Mandapa which has three hundred and sixty (360) tiny idols of Jain trithankar all minutely crafted on marble proving once again why these jain marble temples of Dilwara are superior to Taj Mahal, Among all these white marble idols the idol of Shri Neminath Ji is made up of black marble.The pillars of this temple were built by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar.
The Dilwara Jain Temples are open from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M. for tourist’s for free and No photography is allowed inside the temple complex.
Nakki Lake – The Heart Of Mount Abu
Nakki Lake the mythological lake with a very interesting story behind its creation is the heart of Mount Abu, the legend has it that this lake was dugg by Gods or Devtas using their nails or nakh that’s why the name Nakki Lake – few sections of local tribes also consider Nakki Lake as a holy lake and worship it, Nakki lake is also the only Indian artificial lake situated at a height of 1200 Mtr’s above sea level. Recently in 2006-2007 Nakki lake was granted a huge financial boost for its protection amongst eight other lakes in India.
Situated within walking distance from the main market and almost 80% of Hotel’s and restaurent’s of Mount Abu, Nakki lake posses the crown of being the heart of Mount Abu. The hub of evening activity and boating – Nakki Lake is the perfect place to spent your evening with your partner, friends and family.
The picture perfect location of the lake surrounded with mountains, gardens and rock formations also make it a very good location for photography. In the evening the setting sun makes the canvas
Achalgarh Fort – The Medieval Fort of Mount
AchalGarh, sometimes spelt Achalgadh, is one of the many beautiful medieval monuments that can be found in the picturesque Mount Abu, located in the desert in the state of Rajasthan, India. It was commissioned by Rana Kumbha, the esteemed designer who was responsible for many huge fortresses in Southern Rajasthan. Achalgarh is just 8 Kilometers from the main Mount Abu town and is well connected by road.
The fortress AchalGarh is surrounded by massive battlement walls. It is situated at the top of a mountain peak and offers picturesque views all year round. AchalGarh is found at the top of a steep winding path, whereby the 15th century fortresses and the temples are enclosed within the fortified walls. These fortified walls provide scenic lookouts onto the countryside. 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.
Another must visit temple can be found below the path. The Achleshwar temple is famous for containing a Nandi which is said to be made of 5 metals, fold, silver, copper, brass and zinc. The Nandi is made up of Panchadhattu and weighs more than 4 tonnes.
It is believed that the Achleshwar temple was built in the 9th century and legend has it that it was built around a toe print of Lord Shiva. There is also a pit that is said to reach to the netherworld. Achleshwar also contains a natural Shivalinga. (A Shivalinga is phallus-shaped and fixed on a base, which is shaped like a yoni. The structure symbolises the supreme creative energy. It is usually made of stone but can also be of wood, metal, crystal, and soapstone.) There are also many other sculpted idols which are made of a crystal like stone. In natural light, this stone looks opaque, but if you place a candle behind the idols they take on a beautiful crystal-like sparkle, the stone is called the crystal stone or sfatik in hindi. nearby the temple, we find the scenic looking Mandakini Lake. This lake is surrounded by rocky hills, and rock walls covered with images of a Rajput king and buffaloes. These pictures are said to represent the legend that says the lake was filled with ghee and the watering hole of demons disguised as buffaloes. This was until they were shot by Raja Adi Pal
Gurushikhar, Mount Abu
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, Gurushikar provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Mount Abu town and green aravali range.
If you are traveling through the beautiful Mount Abu region in Rajasthan, you should ensure that you pay a visit to Guru Shikhar for postcard picture quality views of the town of Mount Abu and the Aravali Range, Guru Shikhar is also home to many beautiful and historic temples.
Coming to the peak of Guru Shikhar, you must make sure that you visit the temple of Guru Dattatreya. Many Hindus in the Western Indian regions believed that Dattatreya is a God. They believe that Dattatreya is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The word Datta means “Given,” Datta is called so because the divine trinity have “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. He is the son of Atri, hence the name “Atreya.” Nearby is an historic bell which was inscribed with 1488 V.S (1411AD.) Unfortunately the old bell has disintegrated and had to be replaced by a new 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. Like those from the taller Guru Shikhar peak, the views are simply enchanting.
To get to the peak of Guru Shikhar, you need to travel the approximately 7km long Delwara AchalGarh road. It you are already traveling through the Mount Abu region, this is a very short trip to see the panoramic views offered of both the town and the lush green Aravali Range. A visit to Guru Shikhar also gives you the ability to enjoy a visit to the historic temples and shrines
The Place Of The Ancient Sages & Saints
The Mount Abu region of Rajasthan contains many beautiful and popular tourist destinations. If you are visiting there you must visit the Gaumukh Temple. If you do take the opportunity to visit the Gaumukh Temple and its beautiful surrounds, you can enjoy walking excursions, picnics as well as viewing the beautiful temple and its statues. The Gaumukh Temple is also popular for religious pilgrimages and meditation.
The Gaumukh Temple was built in its location as a dedication to Saint Vashishth. It is believed that Saint Vashishth performed a yagna there that created the four major Rajput clans. There is also a tank that you should visit- the Agni Kund. The Agni Kund is believed to be the site of a sacrificial fire which Saint Vashishth used to perform the yagni from which the four clans were born.
The cow is considered a sacred animal by those who make religious pilgrimages to the Gaumukh Temple and nearby the temple you will find a spring that is believed to have emerged from the mouth of a rock that is shaped similar to a cows head. A large marble statue of a cow has been built on the site. The bull is representative of Nandi, who was Shiva’s vehicle. There is a stream of water that flows from the mouth of the marble bull. Nearby you will find statues of Nandi, Saint Vashishth, Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.
If you are a visitor to the Mount Abu region and you wish to experience some of the local religious culture, you must visit the Gaumukh Temple. Once only popular for Ancient sages and saints to meditate at, the Gaumukh Temple is now a popular tourist destination. The Gaumukh Temple is located around 5 kilometers from the Hanuman Temple situated in a wild valley that is reached by climbing down over 700 steps. The area is covered with very think forest cover and visiting the place after dark & rainy season is not recommended without proper information and local guidance, you should plan for a full day trip to Gaumukh if you want to enjoy the beauty and nature of this place
Adhar Devi , Mount Abu
Temple Of Goddess Arbuda
Situated in a cave, The Adhar Devi Temple is one of the popular religious themed tourist destinations in the Mount Abu region. It is situated three kilometers north of the main town of Mount Abu. 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 also it was believed that the image of the goddess could be found there hanging in mid air. As well as being a popular tourist destination, the Adhar Devi Temple is also a common destination for many religion pilgrimages The Adhar Devi temple receives most pilgrims during the 9 days of the holy Navratri season.
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. The climb up to the Adhar Devi temple can be a difficult one so it is recommended that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear. You should not be turned off by this walk as the scenic views surrounding the temple and the wondrous beauty inside make this climb worth the effort.
Trevor’s Tank, Mount Abu
Trevor’s Tank is a picturesque location just 5 kilometers from the main town of Mount Abu, and one of the Mount Abu region’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a nature lover’s paradise that is named after the British engineer who built it.
Trevor, the British engineer who built it, was dedicated to building a beautiful place for people to enjoy and watch nature. At Trevor’s Tank you can see and enjoy the following:
• The man made tank (referred to as Trevor’s Tank after the British engineer who built it) that is used to breed crocodiles • A visit to Trevor’s Tank offers picturesque scenery and a multitude of views. If you visit Trevor’s tank, you should pack a picnic. It is a popular picnic destination for tourists and locals alike. • Trevor’s Tank contains many purpose built viewing stations that offer you the unique opportunity to watch the plentiful wildlife in their natural habitat.
This is a very popular night time activity. • If you visit Trevor’s Tank during the right season, and you are very quiet, you may be lucky enough to spot one of the wild black bears that inhabit the region. • Birdwatcher’s from throughout the world flock to Trevor’s Tank because it is a dream location and there are a lot of bird species. If you spend long enough there you could spot pigeons, peacocks and partridges, amongst the rich hills and thick forest. The Mount Abu region in Rajasthan offers a lot to see and do. There are a lot of man made beauties- consisting of temples and other tourist spots. However, the beautiful scenic views, the native flora and the native fauna offer a nature lover’s paradise. If you are a person that appreciates natural beauty, then Trevor’s Tank here at Mount Abu is the perfect place for you to visit on your holiday in Mount Abu. It is also advisable to go for a picnic or a adventure tour (with help of a local guide) and a full day outing at this beautiful location.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest parts of the Mount Abu mountain ranges. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many sightseeing points offering fantastic views. Many people visit the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary just for the sightseeing and views, but most visit The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary for the animals and birds. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is about 7 kilometres long and only 300 metres wide. This means that while you take the long walk down The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary you won’t miss much on either side.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is located in one of the regions oldest mountain ranges- The Aravali. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1960. In addition to the sightseeing opportunities, the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for eco-tourism. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary crosses a variety of mountain highs, from 300m to 1722m at Gurashikhar- the highest peak in the Aravali Ranges.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is full of floral beauty. There is an evergreen forest that meets the water and the valleys on the other side. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary houses around 112 plant families with 449 genera and 820 species. Many of these species are dicots and the rest are monocots. You can also find many orchids at the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary. Don’t forget the many roses and bamboo rich areas.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Aravali Ranges- one of the Rajasthan Regions oldest mountain ranges. It was declared a sanctuary in 1960.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is long and thin- it is about 5-8km long and between 300-1722m wide.
It is made from igneous rocks which have formed large cavities in many areas due to the weathering effects of wind and water. This is common throughout the entire Mount Abu region.
The Mount Abu Region and the Aravali Ranges have a wide and rich floral diversity. The foothills of the mountain ranges contain xeromorphic subtropical thorn forests whilst the rivers and tributaries are boarded by subtropical evergreen forests, which also appear at higher levels.
These forests consist of 112 plant families with 449 genera and 820 species. Of these, 663 species are dicots while 157 species are monocots. Many of these species are very rare and threatened.
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary contains a wide and varied range of fauna for you to appreciate. There are over 250 species of bird- including the popular grey jungle fowl. The Mount Abu Wildlife sanctuary also houses leopard sloth bear, wild boar, sambar, chinkara and langur amongst others. Many of the animals in the sanctuary are extremely rare and threatened.
It is believed that the lion and tiger once populated the region, but cats of this variety have not been in the season for a long time.