Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Places of attraction in Mount Abu
At 1219 m on the Aravalli range, covered by peculiar shaped granite hills and green forests is Abu hilI. Mt Abu is very famous for the architectural wonders of the medieval period. It is exceptional among the hill stations of India. It was a summer resort of the kings in the past. Till Indian Independence in 1947, the British resident of Rajputana used to live here.
Places to see in Mount Abu:
Mount Abu's best attraction is probably the white marble Dilwara Temple in the shade of mango trees. The marble was brought over from Ambaji, 25 km to the south. Dilwara Temple consists of Adinath, Neminath, Mahavira / Rishavdeva and Parshwanath temples. Dilwara Temple is open from 12 am to 6 pm for tourists. The entrance ticket is
Rs 20, and camera and leather goods are banned inside the temple; in the premises of the temple smoking or use of umbrella is prohibited. With a religious spirit one should move around the premises barefooted.
In the Solanki architectural style, with the pure unblemished while marble this temple is a dream piece of art. The elephants going for worship are unique in decoration and style. Flowers, fruits and animal carvings on the octagonal dome, 48 pillars for the portico and 52 Gods and Goddesses, the marvelous carvings of pure marble, the rich and intricate patterns in the ceiling simply mesmerize the tourists.
The other attraction is the Ranga Mandap at Luna Basahi. 16 Goddesses of learning, the 12 Tirthankars statues around the Dome and 350 statues Jain Saints are there. The splendid edifices of Luna Basahi and Vimal Basahi were partly destroyed by the Mughal army in 1311, and renovated in 1321.
To the opposite of Vimal Basahi there is the Rishava. In grey sandstone is the four-faced God by the side of three-storey Parswanath. To the right side of the entrance is the Hindu God Ganesha.
The most recent temple belongs to Mahavirswami, constructed in 1582. Small in size and plain in appearance, it is yet to be completed. The Rishav-Parswanath-Mahavira Temples are bereft of any decor.
The outer appearence of the Dilwara is most ordinary. One might be disappointed while entering the temple. But the grand interiors simply dazzle.
The second destination is 15 km to the North East of the town, Rajasthan's highest peak, the 1772 meter high Guru Shikhar. With the romantic scenic and pleasant atmosphere, there is a temple of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. There are temples near Atri Rishi's temple at a climb of 300 steps, with Duttatreya's foot print.
8 km from Adhara, to the North East, is Achalgarh in the Aravalli hills and this is 11 km from the town. This fort was simply unconquerable. But now it is a ruin. It was built around the end of 9lh century.
To the lower side of the fort there is Achaleshwar Temple (813 AD). It is described in the Puranas that Lord Shiva had held the Aravalli with his thumb. The temple is a symbol of that story. On the walls there are idols of Parvati and Ganesha. A brass-made Nandi is there in the temple. The Dasavatara or Vishnu statue is nearby in the temple.
Kodra dam and Adharadevi temple:
The water of the town comes from the Kodra dam. A steep stairway of 220 steps goes up to the temple. The passage is very narrow and one has to crawl in. The Goddess here is Devi Durga, Adhara or Arbuda. After this deity the name of the town became Abu. The panoramic view of the town is as beautiful as the amazing temples. Doli is also existing to get to the temple. At the foothills there is Doodhbaori from which gods used to acquire milk in the past.
10 km South East from the town after parting the Kodara dam, if you proceed further 6 km, there is Goumukh. Keep on moving a little more, there are the Vasistha Ashram and Hanuman temple. After climbing 1000 steps, you can reach Goumukh. The river water gushes out from the marble-made cow's mouth.
From Mount Abu, one can go for a tour to all these places and return by sunset. Tourists can go by camel, taxi or simply by bus.
Sunset Point & Honeymoon Point:
3 km away from the town to the west, within a walking distance, where the valley ends, there is the Sunset Point. To enjoy scenic beauty there is the Honeymoon Point, which is also beautiful.
Nearby is a Ganesha Temple, many call it the Ganesha point.
From the town one can hire a horse for Rs 35, or sledge car for Rs 20 to see the sunset point. Camels also take visitors for a ride.
On the way to the market from the sunset point there is the Nakki Lake. At the heart of the town, Nakki lake is surrounded by green mountains. In the water of the lake there are small hillocks and islands. Nearby is Toad Hiil which resembles the posture of a frog leaping from the hill to the water. There are different types of rocks called Nun rocks, Camel rocks, Nandi rocks, etc.
Legend has it that deeply terrorized by the demons, the gods, after consulting the creator of the universe, Brahma, came to Mt Abu to perform the sacred prayer. With nails they dug this lake; so the name of the lake is Nakki. In the lake, tourists can enjoy boating by hiring a boat or shikara. Horses also roam around the lake with tourists on their back.
The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi was immersed in this lake and since then the adjoining garden is called Gandhi Vatika. The 14th century Raghunathji Temple is in this garden. It was founded by Guru Ramananda where one can see his foot prints.
Prajapita Brahma Kumari – Om Shanti Bhawan:
A little distance away, in the north of the Nakki lake, there is Madhuvan, Brahma Kumari World Spiritual University's Om Shanti Bhawan, a pillarless vast meditation hall and teaching centre (8 am to 8pm). There is a museum in Madhuvan.
Enthusiasts can enjoy the natural pleasant beauty of the lake from the Maharaja's summer palace and can take photographs.
On Raj Bhawan Road, there is the Museum where visitors can see the archaeological findings and a paltry collection of Jain sculptures. At the art gallery there are only a dozen paintings. Except Friday and holidays open 10—16-30. Nearby is the Rajasthan Emporium.
Conducted tours in Mount Abu:
Mount Abu can be traveled around by conducted tours. RTDC arranges conducted tour for Mount Abu which starts from Tourist Bungalow.Trip timings are 8 am to 1pm or 1-30 pm to 7 pm. Many private companies also arrange conducted tours. @ INR300 taxi or matador can be hired to tour Mount Abu.
This article is also published in India Study Channel