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The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu huddles among the rocks on a 1,220-m granite table mountain at the far southwestern end of the Aravalli hills. It is built around a lake and is surrounded by forested hills. According to a legend, the place derives its name from Arbuda, a serpent who descended to the spot to rescue Shiva's bull, Nandi. Besides having all the features of a pleasant hill resort, Mount Abu is also well known for the famous Dilwara temples and many more archaeological remains. There are interesting treks and picnic spots, romantic royal retreats of the various erstwhile families of bygone Rajputana and some relics of the Raj period. The scenic landscapes include gigantic blocks of rocks in weird shapes, an array of coniferous trees, flowering shrubs, lovely lakes and the cool climate much in contrast to the arid environs of the state.
Abu was the site of a little colonial hill station, set surprisingly, in the middle of the desert state. "A sort of Simla of Rajputana", as somebody once called it. It has a fascinating history that goes back, layer by layer, into deepest antiquity and has long been considered a holy spot by both Hindus and Jains. Once the tranquil hilltop retreat of meditating Rishis, or holy men, it is supposed to have been home to no lees than 330 million different gods and goddesses. To the Rajputs, however, this was a Mount Olympus, the scene of the great agni-kunda (sacred fire pit) of ancient times, out of which thirty-six Rajput warrior clans were born.
The legend goes that snake-like demons were ravaging this region, so the Brahmins perform an elaborate fire rite. In response to their prayers, Rajput warrior clans were actually the Indo-Scythian invaders of the 6th century; the ritual was an elaborate purification ceremony buy which various lesser castes were given the exalted status of warriors and thereby inducted into the defending armies.
Hill Station cum Pilgrimage Center
In the early 19th century, Mount Abu was developed into its present form as a hill station, where the British from the hot, dusty plains of Rajasthan could seek refuge during the summer months, amid the eucalyptus trees and oleanders. Charming English countryside cottages were built around Nakki Lake. As time passed it became a British enclave, the official summer capital to which the Chief Commissioner for Rajputana would shift his office from Ajmer for two months each year.With the emergence of an administrative center, most of the major Rajput Maharajas, too, built palaces here (some of which have now been converted into hotels). There was cricket and golf at the Rajputana Club and considerable intrigue at the British Residency.
The Maharajas used the opportunities Mount Abu offered for casual encounters with the Chief Commissioner for political ends, since approaching him here was much more discreet than public visits to Ajmer. By the 11th century, Mount Abu had become an important Jain center of pilgrimage. Over the next two centuries, some of India's most spectacular marble temples were built here. In the 15th century these hills were conquered by Rana Kumbha of Mewar (who built a fortress here).
Air : Udaipur 185 km is nearest airport. Taxi and buses available to reach Mount Abu.
Rail : Abu road 29 km is the
closest railhead. Taxis, Jeeps and buses can be hired for onward
journey to Mount Abu. Some important trin connections are :
from Mount Abu
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