We travelled to Mount Abu from Mumbai by train, boarding at around 4 pm. It is approximately a 12 hrs journey and we got off at Abu road station before the break of dawn. From there it is some 30 kms by road to Mt Abu. We were picked from the station by a car arranged by the Hotel, though buses also ply. Since it was still dark when we checked into our hotel, we could not see much of the surroundings on our way up.
We had a few hours of rest, and after breakfast at the hotel, we ventured out to do some sightseeing. From near the local bus-stop we hired a jeep with a driver to see the local destinations over the next 2 days. The first priority on the list was the famous Dilwara temple. The temple is located 2.5 kms away. There are five temples in the complex dedicated to Lord Mahavira, Shri AdiNath, Shri ParshavNath, Shri Rishabdaoji and Shri Nemi Nathji. Build in the 12th century, it is made completely of marble, with great architecture and intricate carvings all over, it is awe-inspiring. To build such a monument up in the mountains, hundreds of years ago, when there weren’t modern electric motors and tools seems amazing. The entire temple seems to be painstakingly hand crafted. One wonders at the skill and the dedication of the craftsmen who created such beauty with such attention to detail. The ceiling of the entrance to the main shrine held our gaze with its beauty. The main statue of Mahavira is claimed to be of 800 Kgs. of solid silver. Being the main attraction of Mt Abu, there was quite a crowd. Souvenirs in the form of silver and gold plated medallions with images of Gods & Goddesses are a good buy, especially for gifting.
From there we went further up the mountain top see the Gaumukh – a large stone carved in the shape of the head of a cow. This is the mouth of a natural spring and is considered a holy spot. One has to walk a little from the car to this spot and we were tired and headed back to the hotel. In the evening we went to the lake and enjoyed a lovely boat-ride. A local bazaar is located on one side of the lake and we browsed through it. The shops sold mainly small artifacts, jewelry and other touristy goods. Next morning we went to the Ashram of Bramha Kumaris, which is located amidst some beautifully landscaped gardens. It also boasts of a small museum, which you can access after a short discourse. The Brahma Kumaris explain their philosophy, give details of the rooms with huge paintings, carvings, sculptures, inscriptions depicting the Gods , Avatars, the cycle of Karma etc.
We had authentic Rajasthani cuisine in one of the local restaurants, including the famous Dal-Baati. Next day we went to the famous Shiva temple perched on top of the mountain. This is the highest point in the whole of Rajasthan and offers a great view of the entire region. In the evening we went to the main market. The best attractions were the costume jewelry shops with minakari work in stones and mirrors. Embellished with colored stones and enamels, each one was a work of art with intricate detailing. We ended up over-spending. On our way back to the station the next morning, we enjoyed some great views and passed through a number of villages. As usual, the holiday was over too soon, though we were taking back wonderful memories and a glimpse of India’s glorious past.