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About Mount Abu

A pleasant retreat set amidst the lush forested hills, Mt. Abu is a green oasis in the barren desertscape that's Rajasthan. Situated at the southern tip of the Aravali range the hill retreat owes its cool climate to its rich flora covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. The road leading to Mount Abu is a curved one characterized by arid region dotted with huge rocks in weird shapes and high velocity winds. The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is more than just a summer retreat. Its stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples, dating back 11th- 13th centuries, make it a popular pilgrimage centre. Abu according to a legend stands for the son of Himalayan, deriving its name from Arbuada, the powerful serpent who rescued Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, from a chasm. 

Mount Abu has been home to many sages and saints. Most famous of them was Sage Vashishtha who is believed to have created four agnikula Rajput clans from a fire-pit by performing a yagna or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons.

The Yagna was performed besides a natural spring situated below Abu, emerging from a rock shaped like a cows head and hence the site was called Gaumukh.


Transportation

  • Air : Nearest  airports are Udaipur (200 Kms) and Ahmedabad (250 Kms). 
  • Rail: Nearest  railhead is Abu Road (27 kms). 
  • Road: By road  Mount Abu to Ahmedabad 240 kms, Bombay 835 kms, Delhi 768 kms, Jaipur 515 kms, Udaipur 182  kms, Jodhpur 291 kms, Ranakpur 168 kms. 
  • Taxi: Buses, Taxis and Cabs are available from Abu Road to Mount Abu. 

What to see

Gaumukh Temple: A natural spring flowing through a sculpted cows head gives the shrine its name. The famous yagna of sage Vashishtha was performed here. A beautifully sculpted hill temple of Arbuada-the mighty serpent stands against the beautiful backdrop. Nearby is the magnificent marble image of Nandi, the celestial bull rescued by Arbuada. 

Dilwara Jain Temple: These beautifully carved temples built between 11th and 13th century A.D. are sheer elegance in marble, dedicated to the jain Tirthankaras. The Vimal Vasahi temple is the oldest of these dedicated to the first Tirthankara. Built in 1031 A.D. (by Vimal Shah-a merchant and representative of then Gujarat ruler), it is a superb example of temple architecture.
Adhar Devi Temple: The temple is chiselled out of a huge rock reached by a flight of 360 stairs. A favourite tourist spot.

Sunset Point: Spectacular sight of the setting sun when the hills are covered in the golden glow can be viewed from here.

Honeymoon Point: Also known as Andra Point, it offers an enchanting view of the verdant plains and valleys. The place looks most beautiful during the dusk hours.

Gardens and Parks: Beautifully laid parks and gardens are interspersed throughout the hilly paradise. Ashok Vatika,Gandhi park, Municipal Park,Shaitan Singh Park and Terrace Garden are some of the noteworthy gardens. 
Museum and Art Gallery: Located at the Raj Bhawan, it was a collection of archaeological excavations dating back to 8th-12th century A.D. It also has Jain bronze carvings, brass works etc. for viewing.

Excursions

Trevors Tank (3 km): Named after the British engineer who constructed it, Trevors Tank is a delight for birdwatchers with densely wooded hills that are a haven to pigeons, peacocks and partridges.

Achalgarh (1.5 km): An impressive fort with some beautiful jain temples enclosed within. Among the noteworthy temples are Achaleswar Mahadev Temple (1412 A.D.) and Kantinath Jain Temple (1513 A.D.) . The latter has gold plated image. Mandakini Kund and a sculpture of Parmar Dharavarsh are situated close to the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple. The Fort was built in the 14th century A.D. by Rana Kumbha and is approachable by a motorable road. 

Guru Shikhar (8 km): The highest peak on the mount (1722 mts. Above the sea level) allows a birds eye view of the sylvan surroundings of Mt. Abu. A small Shaivite shrine and a temple of Dattatreya standing on the shikhar are worth a visit.

Geography

Mount Abu, The Olympus of Rajasthan, the highest range between Himalayas and Nilgiris. The oasis of  Rajasthan with a unique landscape and a perfect destination for an ideal vacation.

Mount Abu wildlife Sanctuary was declared in 1960 by Govt. of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is in the form of a detached hill of Aravali Range, its nearly 1219 Mts above sea level. It spreads out into a plateau which is about 19 km in length and 6 km in breadth. In altitude, it varies from 300 meters at the foot to 1722 meters at Guru Shikhar, the highest peak in Rajasthan.

 The rocks are igneous and due to the weathering effect of wind and water, large cavities are common in them. Except Mount Abu you shall find such kind of rocky formation in Brazil.

Flora

It is very rich in floral bio-diversity starting from xenomorphic sub-tropical thorn forests in the foot hills to sub-tropical evergreen forests along water courses and valleys at higher altitudes.There are about 112 plant families with 449 genera and 820 species. Of these, 663 species are dicots while 157 species are monocots.

Mount Abu is the only place in Rajasthan where one can observe a variety of orchids. The place is also rich in bryophytes and algae. Three species of wild roses and 16 species of feras some of which are quite rare have also been reported from here. The south-west part of the sanctuary is rich in bamboo forests.

Herbal Medicine:

The sanctuary is rich in herbal medicinal plants. About 81 species of trees, 89 species of shrubs, 28 types of climbers and 17 species of tuberous plants of great value for us. A herbal garden is being developed by the Forest Department near Delwara, Gurushikhar and areas like Gaumukh. Malkangani, Akalkara, Salam-Misri, Safed Musli, Marorphali, Bhringraj, Brahmi Amla, Bahetra, Katranj, Ketki etc.  are found here.

Fauna

A variety of fauna, including highly rare, threatened and endangered species are found in this sanctuary. The past history of Mount Abu indicates the presence of lion (last recorded in 1872) and 5 tigers were reported during 1967 but none after 1970. Presently the leopard is the apex predator. Other animals found here are sambhar, jungle cat, small Indian civet, wolf, hyaena, jackal, Indian fox, common langur, wild boar, pangolin, common mongoose, Indian hare, porcupine and hedgehog. The most commonly found here is the Sloth Bear.

Mt. Abu is a paradise for birds watchers, more than 250 species of birds are found here. Babblers, Barbet, Bee eater, Cuckoo, Kingfisher, Crow, Peacock, Ibis, Lapwing, Bunting coot, Kestrel, Kite. Lark, Parakeet, Shikra, Iora, Heron, Oriole, Sandpiper, Pigeon Stork, Swallow tailorbird, Weaver Bird, Warbler, Wagtail, Stilt, Tree Pie, Quail, Woodpecker, Night Jar, Cur view, Tern, Shoveller, Water hen and Sand grouse.

Reptiles 
Muggar or marsh crocodile, Starred tortoise, Indian mud or flap shelled turtle, Brooks Gecko, Rock Jecko, common garden Lizard, Chameleon, Rat snake, common Indian Trait, Russels wiper, Indian Cobra, Water Snake are easy sight.



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