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Mount Abu is Rajasthan’s hillside retreat from the heat
The popular hill station of Mount Abu lies at the southern border of the renowned Indian state of Rajasthan in the north of the country. Close to the state border with Gujarat, Mount Abu sits on a rocky plateau over five thousand feet above sea level. As a result it has a milder and wet climate with a consequent array of green nature which acts as a welcome retreat from the lower areas of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is therefore a well-visited destination with domestic and international tourists alike, coming to enjoy the atmosphere and relative tranquillity of this small Indian city.
A small city on a plateau
Mount Abu is primarily accessible by road, a couple of hours south of the large city of Sirohi but also served by the train station of Abu Road twenty-five kilometres away from Mount Abu. After winding up the hillside, the city appears on a small plateau which provides the geographical limits to the city. Much of the core of Mount Abu is situated close to the Nakki Lake on the east of the plateau and it is this area which many of the hotels in Mount Abu can be found. Being a tourist focused destination there is an abundance of accommodation on offer, from grand colonial style properties down to small independent homestays. There is also an endless array of dining options to be found, representing many of the North Indian culinary delights as well as a wide variety of international cuisine. The lake itself is a primary attraction in the area, with visitors able to rent boats to enjoy the water up close and view the picturesque hills which surround the lake from all sides.
The important spiritual destination
Settlement in the Mount Abu area has a long history dating back several centuries, with many tribal groups populating the region. As a result, the area became an important spiritual place for thousands of Indians and continues to be so today. There are a variety of Hindu and Jain temples in the area, reflecting the prominence of the two religions in the state of Rajasthan. To the north of the city lie the Dilwara Temples, a complex of five white Jain temples built in the eleventh century and today one of the most popular spots with both pilgrims and tourists. In addition, around Nakki Lake there are several beautiful temples to be found which offer a stunning backdrop of the lake and mountains. Most of the religious and architectural highlights of the city can be found within walking distance of the city centre, where the bulk of the Mount Abu hotels are located. Alternatively, the city also has excellent transport links of local buses and rickshaws which allow guests staying in a less urban Mount Abu hotel to have easy access to any of the attractions.
Vast green hillsides with a variety of wildlife
Aside from the architectural delights, Mount Abu is known for its nature close to the city. Its favourable temperature and long monsoon season ensure that it is an extremely green area and this is a prime element of the city’s appeal. Indeed, the British developed the hill station through the nineteenth century and it was their ideal destination to escape the Rajasthan heat. Many grand residences were built in the surrounding hills during this time and today a number of these serve as accommodation for visitors to enjoy staying closer to the nature. Staying in a hotel in Mount Abu away from the urban city centre can provide guests with a much more peaceful retreat, with immediate access to the luscious green hillsides and abundant wildlife. Visiting Trevor’s Tank, one of the most well-visited attractions in the region, is a great way to witness native wildlife up close. Built by a British engineer, this wildlife sanctuary houses a variety of crocodiles and bird species as well as the occasional wild black bear, all just five kilometres from the city centre.
Using Mount Abu as a base to explore further into the hills
Mount Abu also acts as a base from which to explore further into the surrounding hillsides. Venturing further afield can provide some of the area’s true highlights, such as Guru Shikhar: the highest peak in the area. Around fifteen further kilometres from the city, it was named in accordance with local Hindu beliefs and as a result is an important religious site, plus also well-visited due to its vantage point with views across the entire area. Also located at the peak is the Mount Abu Infrared Observatory, one of India’s prime facilities for astronomical observations as a result of the vast amount of cloud free nights in the region. Closer to the centre of Mount Abu there are a scattering of lakes nestled amongst the hills, some of which are only accessible by foot. Indeed, trekking in the area is a popular activity and there are an assortment of companies offering local guides as well as transport from any of the hotels at Mount Abu.