If Mount Abu needed an introduction, in simplest words, it could be termed as the summer retreat of Rajasthan. At an altitude of 1220 meters above sea level, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan and hence a cool respite from the searing desert heat. Nestled in the Aravalli mountain range with the Gujarat border in close vicinity, Mount Abu attracts a steady stream of tourists from both the states as well as from outside the country. In addition, with numerous temples sprinkled across Mount Abu, it is also a place of spiritual significance. Here are the list of 15 best places to visit in Mount Abu.
Dilwara Jain Temples
It took 2 centuries the 11th and 13th century AD, to built the exquisite Dilwara Jain temples are one of the prime attractions near Mount Abu. It is about 2.5 km away from Mount Abu, the Dilwara temples are particularly known for their intense and intricate marble carvings. Consisting of temples – Pithalhar ,Vimal Vasahi, Mahavir Swami ,Luna Vasahi, , Parshvanath these five temples are dedicated to a Jain tirthankar, this entire temple complex is a brilliant example of the finest marble architecture in the country. Beautifully carved pillars, panoramic marble sculptures depicting scenes from Jain mythology and one particular multi-layered lotus suspended from the center of a dome are some of the spectacular sights not to be missed.
Many mythological and fictional stories are associated with the creation of the Nakki Lake, however, the one thing that is similar in all the stories is that, this lake was dug out by the Gods using their nails (Nakh). Considered by Hindus as a holy lake, this is also the lake where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed, leading to the formation of Gandhi Ghat. Boating in the crystal blue lake that mirrors the myriad shades of the sky is a sheer delight for nature lovers. Apart from that, you can also pamper your taste buds at the local eateries that offer lip-smacking treats.
The Nakki Lake is not only known for its serene beauty but also for some of the strange rock formations surrounding it, the best one being the “Toad Rock”. As the name suggests, this unique rock resembles a toad that is about to jump into the Nakki Lake. One can either climb this rock from the hill side or use the steps from the lake side. This rock provides a beautiful panoramic view of the Nakki Lake and the beautiful city of Mount Abu with the Aravalli Hills in the backdrop. This is the perfect place for photographers looking to capture the best shots of Mount Abu.
Located on the south-western side of Nakki Lake, the Sunset Point – as the name suggests, is the perfect place to view the sun setting in the Aravali Range. Surrounded by greenery and the cool climate combined with the splash of colors from the setting sun spreads a sense of calm amongst the tourists. A path along the perimeter of the Nakki Lake leads directly to the Sunset Point, hence, after spending the day at Nakki Lake and Toad Rock, one can walk towards the Sunset Point as dusk approaches. For those not able to walk, a horse/pony ride is also available. Later, you can satiate your hunger pangs here as this point too has numerous food stalls.
Shri Raghunath Temple
Another popular tourist destination located near the Nakki Lake is the Shri Raghunath Temple. Situated to the south of Nakki Lake, this 14th century temple is dedicated to Lord Raghunath who is supposed to be the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. As per mythology, this temple is believed to deliver the devotees from their worldly sufferings, thus drawing a large number of Hindu pilgrims. Apart from the religious significance, visit this place for the beautiful wall paintings / inscriptions and the intricate carvings. As compared to other temples, this temple is modest in size, however, it is as significant as others.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
Apart from a number of temples, Mount Abu is also famous for its wildlife sanctuary. Spread across an area of almost 290 sq. kilometers, the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The prime attraction here are the leopards, which are abundant. Apart from them, the other animals found here are sloth bear, Indian Fox, hyena, jackal, common langur, jungle cat, sambar, wild boar, porcupine and hedgehog. Also, This sanctuary has over 250 birds species, among all Grey Jungle fowl is the most special one is the which is typically found in this region.
Guru Shikhar Peak (1722 Meters)
Located at a distance of about 17 kilometers from Mount Abu is the Guru Shikhar Peak, which is the highest peak in the entire Aravalli Mountain Range. Rising upwards to an altitude of 1722 meters above sea level, this point offers a stunning bird’s eye view of the Aravalli Range and the surrounding places. While at the top, do not miss to visit the most famous temple – the temple of Guru Dattatreya, who is believed to be an incarnation of the Hindu Divine Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. You can hire a private vehicle from Mount Abu to reach the base and then climb up the steps to this peak.
On your way to Mount Abu, you will encounter “Abu Road” which is a railway station in the SIrohi district in Rajasthan. Popularly known as the gateway to Mount Abu, this beautiful little town nestled amongst the nature is worth an overnight stay. Abu Road is located on the banks of Banas River, which itself originates in the Aravalli Range. The locals as well as tourists flock the Banas river as it makes up for a beautiful picnic spot. Abu Road is also known for its various temples thus making it an important pilgrimage destination in Rajasthan as well as Gujarat. Apart from Mount Abu, Abu Road serves as an important junction for travelers visiting the famous Ambaji Temple.
Situated 8 kilometers away from Mount Abu, the Achalgarh Fort was built in 1452 by Rana Kumbha of the Mewar kingdom. This 15th century fort situated at the top of a mountain is bordered with huge battlement walls. While a major portion of the fort is dilapidated today, parts of its majesty remain behind in the two towers of grey granite that flank the entrance to this fort, the fortified walls and in glimpses of the Mewar architecture within the fort. Along with the fort, enclosed within the walls are a few temples, the most prominent amongst them being the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple. This temple dates back to the 9th century and is particularly known for its naturally occurring Shivalingam and the Nandi statue (made up of five metals).
Located at a distance of about 5 kilometers away from Mount Abu is the Trevor’s Tank which is more popularly known as Trevor’s Crocodile Park. Named after the British engineer who built it, Trevor’s Tank is a man-made breeding point for crocodiles! However, apart from crocodiles, this park is also a hotspot for bird watchers as this park attracts flocks of different species of the avian population. Surrounded by lush greenery, the picturesque location of this park also makes it an ideal picnic spot for families. The best time to visit this park is during the months of November and December.
Adhar Devi Temple
Located 3 kilometers to the north of Mount Abu is the Temple of Goddess Arbuda is a unique temple as it is placed inside a cave. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, this temple sits atop a mountain at the end of 365 steep steps, hence visiting this temple is an arduous task. However, the effort does not end here, after reaching the top, the devotees have to crawl through a small gap into the cave to see the image of the Goddess suspended mid-air. The Adhar Devi Temple is a popular destination in Mount Abu, however, it attracts a huge number of pilgrims during the festival of Navratri.
Following the streak of unique temples, another famous temple located 8 kilometers to the south of Mount Abu is the Gaumukh Temple. Dedicated to Sage Vashishth, this temple is believed to be the birth-place of the four important Agnivanshi Rajput clans, who were born from the sacrificial fire (yagna) performed by Sage Vashishth. The Agni Kund (tank) seen here symbolizes the site of the yagna. Apart from the Agni Kund, the other prime highlight of this temple is the marble figure of a cow and a bull. A small stream of water flowing out of the mouth of the cow figure gives this temple its name – Gau (cow) Mukh (mouth). The marble bull is the famous Nandi Bull – the bull of Lord Shiva.
Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University
The Brahma Kumaris is a spiritual and non-government, educational institute with an international reputation spread out worldwide. Mount Abu became the headquarter of this world-renowned Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University in the year 1950. Hence, in addition to this religious significance, Mount Abu is also associated with spiritual rejuvenation. As the name suggests, this university offers spiritual courses along with Raj Yoga and traditional meditation courses. The complex houses three campus – Gyan Sarovar, Madhuban (Pandav Bhawan and Om Shanti Bhawan) and Shantivan. Apart from these, the university also boasts of a Peace Park, Global Hospital & Research Centre and A Spiritual Museum.
Nestled between the Guru Shikhar Peak and Achalgarh, the Peace Park – as the name suggests, exudes a sense of tranquility and calmness making it the perfect spot for meditation and introspection. Located within the Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University, the Peace Park is 8 kilometers away from the Madhuban campus. Apart from spots for meditation (such as the bamboo hut or the stone cave), this park offers a host of recreational activities such as nature walks, picnic areas and playing fields. If you want to explore the entire range of the park, then the best way to do so is to opt for a guided tour of the park.
If Nakki Lake is known as the Love Lake of Mount Abu then the other point worth exploring for couples is the Honeymoon Point. Providing mesmerizing views with the Nakki Lake in the background, this point is the perfect spot to unwind and relax. Do not miss the “Love Rock” located at this point as also the various local shops offering marble statues, wooden toys and sandalwood idols on sale. To reach the Honeymoon Point, you need to trek/walk to the cliff. However, pony rides are also available.