Perched at an altitude of 1,220 metres above sea level, Mt. Abu is Rajasthan's only hill station. It is around 180 km away from Jodhpur, the second biggest city of Rajasthan, and 509 km away from Jaipur, the state capital. It is also one of the major pilgrimage sites of India for both Hindu as well as Jain religions. Besides the temples and sites of historical importance, Mt. Abu is also rich in natural scenic beauties. Mt. Abu is the highest point between the Nilgiris in the south and the Himalayas in the north. The location and weather of Mount Abu has given this charming little hill station a wide variety of vegetation. On the drive up to Mount Abu, the flowering trees and shrubs make it seem like a huge garden. It stands out like an oasis in arid environs. Being the nearest resort town for the adjoining "Dry State" Gujarat, Mount Abu is flodded with Indian tourist during summer months, long weekends, Diwali holidays & XMas - New Year time.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Udaipur, 185 Kms.
Nearest station is Abu Road, from here trains to Bombay, Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad.
|Distance from Mt. Abu to :
|| 240 Km
|| 215 Km
|| 240 Km
|| 176 Km
|| 210 Km
|| 214 Km
|Udaipur (Via Pindwara)
| 185 Km
|Mount Abu at a glance :
||15.54 sq. km
|| 1,220 metres above sea level
|Best time to visit
||February-June and September-December
Places of Interest In the heart of the town, at one end of the Mall, is the serene Nakki Lake which has an interesting history. It is believed that the gods formed the lakebed by digging it with their fingernails (nakh); hence the name, Nakki Lake. Picturesquely set, with the hills rising all around it, the lake has several islets to which you can hire boats. An interesting facet of the lake are the many rock formations around it. They have been named Toad Rock, Nun Rock, Nandi Rock and Camel Rock because of their resemblance to these figures. Nun Rock is a large smooth rock as it supposedly looks a woman with a veil. The climb up to these rocks, through the wooded forests is a beautiful one, with each of the rocks on the way making unique formations, fissures and shapes.
Dilwara Jain Temples
Dilwara Temples are the finest examples of Jain art and architecture. A sacred pilgrimage of the Jains, the five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are an overwhelming blend of simple beauty and exquisite elegance-no other temple in Rajasthan can come close to these in terms of architectural perfection. It would be very difficult to exaggerate the beauty of these temples. When travellers in the past recorded their impressions of these temples it was with a sense of awe. The amount of ornamental detail spread over these structures in the minutely carved decoration of ceilings, doorways, pillars, panels and niches is simply marvellous, while the crisp translucent shell-like treatment of the marble surpasses anything seen elsewhere, and some of the designs are just dreams of beauty.
Like all other hill stations, Mt. Abu too has its horse rides, honeymoon and sunset points. The Sunset Point here is definitely worth a visit. An entire hill has been carved into several layers, top to bottom, and as the sun begins to lower itself in the sky, the hill is crowded with people covered in the golden glow of the setting sun. There's also a Honeymoon Point that gives a good glimpse of the sunset and the plains as well. A few kilometres from the lake and on the western side of the Adhar Devi temple, there lies the Shanti Shikhar (the peak of peace), which offers a panoramic view of the valley.
Places of Interest around Mt. Abu
Achalgarh, situated around 11 kilometres from Mt. Abu, offers superb views of the surroundings. It houses the Achalgarh Fort, built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. The ninth-century Achaleshwar Temple situated here is believed to have Shiva's toeprints, a brass Nandi and a deep hole that is supposed to reach the netherworld. Nearby is the Mandakini Tank, where the image of Adi Pal, a Paramar king, along with three large stone buffaloes pierced with an arrow is a major attraction.
Around 15 km from Mt. Abu is Guru Shikhar, the highest peak of the Aravalli range (1,721 metres). There is a certain serenity about the temple built atop this peak. The temple might just have stepped out of a fairy tale, with only a small portion in pink jutting out of an otherwise plain white chalk building. Inside is a shrine of Dattatreya, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu while outside, a little distance from its door, is a huge brass bell, which stands as a sentinel overlooking the lush greenness of Mount Abu. The view from Guru Shikhar, especially at dawn, is marvellous.
Ranthambhore is one of the many famous destinations of the western state of India, Rajasthan. It is famous for its tiger reserve and also some good places to visit. Surrounded by the Vindhyas and Aravalli hill ranges and located very near to the outer fringes of the Thar Desert, Ranthambhor offers the best of the desert land as well as plain area near the hills.
Places of Interest
Ranthambore (Sawai-Madhopur) Wild Life Park
Ranthambore National Park is located in the foothills of Aravali Ranges near the small town of Sawai-Madhopur. Extended over an area of more then 392 sq. km the Ranthambhore Wildlife National Park is one of the India's foremost illustrations of Project Tiger. Indian government has taken all necessary efforts to conserve and regenerate the shrinking number of tigers in India. A fine example of Project Tiger, Ranthambore was declared a National Park in 1980. The Wildlife Park enjoys the typical dry deciduous type of dense forests dotted with Pine trees, Banyan and Dhok trees as the main vegetation for animals. Among the more fascinating features of Ranthambhore are the Banyan trees, some of which are known to be at least 800 years old, boasting of the excellent specimen of flora in the wild. Ranthambore Wild Life Park is the home to the most royal beasts in the world- the great Indian Tiger. Ranthambore is among the renowned places in the world where the tiger regime is supreme. There are about 25 tigers and 40 leopards in the reserve. One can enjoy the sight of this royal beast near the water holes like Padam Talab, Raj Bagh Talab and Milak Talab.
Ranthambore Fort dating back to 10th century. There is a fort perched on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the park giving a magnificent view of the entire wildlife region. Built in 994 AD, this fort has a bloody history to tell. The Ranthambore National Park is closed from July to September.
The Jogi Mahal makes a must visit place in Ranthambore. It is the forest rest house that overlooks the pretty Padam Talab. The Mahal lies close to the park and has all the facilities for a comfortable stay. The most important aspect of Jogi Mahal that attracts a large number of tourists every year is the ancient banyan tree which is believed to be the second largest banyan tree in India.
How to reach
The railway station of Sawai Madhopur ( 15 km ) is on New Delhi - Mumbai broad gauge line. Nearest airport is at Jaipur ( 4 hrs. )
Located at a distance of 100 kilometres from Ranthambore, Tonk is an old town dating to the middle of the 17th century. Resurrecting a forgotten era, Tonk makes a must visit itinerary in your excursion from Ranthambore. As the small town used to be the stronghold of the Pathan tribesmen of Afghanistan, Tonk is characterised by the Sunehri Kothi with its intricate mirror work and colourful medley of painted mosques, mansions and colonial buildings.
Shekhawati is simply beautiful. Every street, house and wall has the stamp of an artist's imagination in paint. Shekhawati is Rajasthan's very own Open Air Art Gallery. Shekhawati is a blanket name to describe the three districts of Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar, the mural rich areas. The name derives from Rao Shekha, a member of the Kachhawaha family of Rajputs who ruled Jaipur for centuries. In the 15th century, Shekha conquered a considerable territory in this northeastern part of Rajasthan. This, retained and extended by his heirs, the Shekhawats, came to be known as Shekhawati, literally the 'Garden of Shekha'. Shekhawati has the greatest concentration of painted forts, chhatris (cenotaphs), temples and havelis (mansions) in the country. In fact, this is also the largest collection of murals in the whole world. Some of the flourishing towns were Sikar, Ramgarh, Fatehpur, Lachhmangarh, Churu, Mandawa, Jhunjhunu, Nawalgarh and others.
How to reach
The entire area of Shekhawati is easily accessible from Jaipur or Bikaner. Sikar, Nawalgarh and Jhunjhnu are connected to Jaipur and Delhi by passenger trains. Nearest airport is Jaipur. Delhi is 6 hrs. drive via samode.
Places of Interest around Shekhawati
Mandawa is a small town in the heart of Shekhawati region. The place is known not only for its havelis but also for its Fort Palace. The structure of the palace reminds of the cultural and social importance of this region in the past. Of the havelis, the most important are the Chokhani, Ladia, Binsidhar Newatia, and Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli. Another haveli, the Binsidhar Newatia Haveli, is known for its curious paintings. There is a painting of a boy holding a telephone and a European woman in a car driven by a chauffeur. The Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli is famous for its erotic images, now mostly defaced.
Nawalgarh is famous for its fort that was built in AD 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh. The Bala Qila has a kiosk with beautiful ceiling paintings while the Roop Nivas Palace has now been converted into a hotel. Like Mandawa, Nawalgarh too has a number of important havelis including Anandi Lal Poddar Haveli, Aath Haveli, Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli, Bhagton Ki Haveli, and Khedwal Bhavan.
Situated around 30 south-east of Mandawa, Dundlod has many havelis such as Jathia Haveli, and Tuganram Goenka Haveli. However, Dundlod is better known for its fort and palace. Another famous attraction here is the Satyanarayan Temple.
Established in 1451 as the capital of the Muslim Nawabs, Fatehpur was taken over by the Rajputs of the Shekhawati region in the 18th century. The main attractions here are the Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, the Gauri Shankar Haveli, the Nand Lal Devra Haveli, the Harikrishnan Das Sarogi Haveli, and a 17th-century baoli or step-well.
Jhunjhunu (52 km from Churu)
The district headquarters of the same name is also the largest city in the Shekhawati region. Jhunjhunu - a name which spells beauty and colour. A land of murals. The capital of a painted district. The largest town in the Open Air Art Gallery called Shekhawati. That's exactly how you'll describe the town when you've walked through its winding lanes and seen its surprisingly large number of painted monuments. Jhunjhunu spreads itself peacefully in the shade of the Kana Pahar hill, and probably that is the reason why its past hasn't been too peaceful. Jhunjhunu's monuments will keep one busy for at least a few days. The main attractions of the city include the Khetri Mahal, the Bihariji Temple, the Modi Haveli, and the Kaniram Narsinghdas Tiberwala Haveli. And if one is lucky, one might even get to see the colourful Mansa Devi mela (fair), which is held twice a year, in Chaitra (March-April) and in Asoj (September-October). Mansa Devi is an important deity of Jhunjhunu, and has a temple dedicated to her atop a hill. The town's population is 72000 and its STD Code is 01592.
Lakshmangarh was founded in the early 19th century on the model of Jaipur. There are fine havelis including the grand Ganeriwala with its four courtyards
Ramgarh was settled by the Poddars in the late 18th century. Apart from the havelis, there are beautiful chhatris (cenotaphs) with painted entrances and the temples of Shani and Ganga.
Founded in the late 17th century, Sikar was the largest 'thikana' (feudal state) under Jaipur. The fort and temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan with commendable frescoes are worth visiting. The jubilee Hall, Madho Niwas Kothi, Biwani Haveli, Sodhani Haveli, the Jain temple and a large market are other places of interest.
Baran situated further into the Hadoti region is less crowed and attracts tourists who like to wander through isolated areas and in the interiors one can chance upon a ruined temple here and an abandoned fortress there. There are wooded hills and valleys that provide shelter to a large variety of wildlife. One can visit Sitabari - a beautiful picnic spot dotted with old temples of Sita and Laxman beside seven water tanks. Sitabari is also venue for a tribal fair held in the months of May/June.
Situated on the southern edge of the vast sandy plain of Marwar, is a delightful city of Jalore. It is a typical small Rajasthani town where the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities is missing. The serene and unruffled surroundings make Jalore a good place to experience the unspoiled and friendly atmosphere of rural Rajasthan. The city is also known as the 'Granite City' with hoards of shops dealing in granite. The bazzar in Jalore is flooded with Rajasthani handicrafts and is still relatively unaffected by the tourist pricing that affects better known and more accessible places in Rajasthan. Jalore district is famous for the dances preformed by the Bhil tribals. The Bhil tribals are the traditional tribal group of the south eastern corner of Rajasthan. Dhole is the most popular Bhil dance in this district. The dancers play a big drum called dhole while they dance, some carry naked swords in their mouth. This dance incorporates a series of skillful movements on the beats of the drums. Other dances by this tribe that have bought them much fame are the Gauri, a religious dance drama and Ghoomar (see India Dance & Music), which is the very life-blood of Bhil culture.