Mt Abu

This is a popular hill station but large enough to find some peace and quiet. Situated at the southern end of the Aravalli Hills – 22 km long and 9 km wide – Mt Abu is blessed with waterfalls, lakes and forests and gentle slopes, a far cry from the rest of the semi-arid and arid state. Uniquely, it is the only hill station in Rajasthan and thus the rather unimaginative nickname ‘oasis in the desert’.

Mt Abu decides to tickle your fancy as you ascend the winding road to the top. Welcoming you is a rocky outcrop called ‘Camel Rock’. Up ahead, on the plateau, there’s Toad Rock, Nun Rock, Whale Rock, Cobra Rock… Go on, take a stab at it; the rocky landscape will turn into almost anything you want!

There are many interesting points to visit and sights to see that can keep you busy for, say, three days, budgeting for down time. And who doesn’t need some! Nakki Lake is a beautiful place to just chill but make sure you find a quiet corner. Take a joy ride in a boat or just kick up your feet and take it all in. There are many hotels and restaurants around the lake and it’s worth checking in only if you your room or suite has a view of the tranquil water. Not far south of the lake is Toad Rock, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the lake and surrounding hillside. A touristy point recommended for those who want to want to follow the herd.

Mt Abu is noted for its many temples, among which are the beautiful Delwara Jain temples situated 3 km from the centre of town. A cluster of five temples, they are worth visiting for their gorgeous architecture and peaceful ambience.

Around 11 km north of the main town is Achalgarh Fort, which has historical and religious significance. The fort is in ruins but the Achaleshwar Mahadeva temple just outside and Jain temples inside the fort draw a number of visitors to this site.

Gaumukh Temple is a small temple perched atop Gaumukh Hill, the highest peak in the Aravallis. Arrive at a point deep inside the forest, from where you first descend and then ascend – hold your breath – 700 steps to get to the top. No, there’s no easy road to salvation.

Mt Abu is situated 156 km from Udaipur, 235 km from Jodhpur, 509 km from Jaipur and 122 km from Ahmedabad in Gujarat.