Rajasthan’s only hill resort, Mount Abu stretches along a 20-km plateau.
Away from the congestion and traffic of the tourist centres of other Rajasthan cities, Mount Abu is referred to as ‘an oasis in the desert’ as it is surrounded by well-wooded countryside filled with rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. Mount Abu is surrounded by the flora and fauna-rich, 289-sq-km Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary which extends over most of the mountain from an altitude of 300 metres upwards.
Many of the rulers from surrounding princely states had summer houses built here but today it draws visitors from Rajasthan and neighbouring Gujarat who come to escape the searing heat of summer (and Gujarat’s alcohol prohibition) and also to see the exquisite Dilwara Jain temples.
The mountain is of great spiritual importance for both Hindus and Jains and has over 80 temples and shrines, most notably the exquisite Jain temples at Delwara, built between 400 and 1000 years ago. The ancient name of Mount Abu is Arbudaanchal. In the Puranas, the region has been referred to as Arbudaranya (“forest of Arbhuda”) from which Mount Abu gets its name. According to another mythology, Mount Abu is as old as the Himalaya, and named after Arbuda, a serpent who saved Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull, from plunging into an abyss. It is also believed that it was here that the four great Agnivanshi (Fire-Born) Rajput clans – the Chauhans, Solankis, Pramaras and Pratiharas – were created from a seething pit of fire.
Click on one of the sections on the right for more information about Mount Abu.