“Iss hi doobte hue suraj ne hum mein pehli baar milaya tha … dekh lena, yahi doobta hua suraj hum mein ek din hamesha ke liye mila dega”
The dialogue from a popular Bollywood movie of the 80s, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, was resonating in my ear as our bus was approaching to the hills of Mount Abu. It was the place where some scenes of QSQT, including my favourite number “Gazab ka hai din...” was picturized. While our bus was running up the hills I was expecting a “gazab ka din” (meaning “an extraordinary day” in Hindi) in Mount Abu. As the height increased the air got cooler and the plantations along the slopes of the hills thickened. Ah…finally, I am in Mount Abu!
We stayed at Hotel Abhishek Palace, a budget hotel with standard accommodation (room rate was Rs 800/-) It was an okay type of hotel which is about 10 minutes walk from Mount Abu’s bustling heart, Nakki Lake.
Mount Abu, being the sole hill station in this region, is a popular tourist destination. Vacationers and affluent local businessmen swarm in on weekends; hence it is an expensive place for shopping. Anyway, let’s come back to where we were. We reached Mt Abu just before sunset. After dumping our luggage at the hotel when we reached by the Nakki Lake it was already dark. I wish I had a boat ride in the lake. But boating is not allowed after sunset. 😦
Nakki Lake is a natural rainwater lake. The myth about the creation of this lake goes like this. Lord Bramha (of Hindu mythology) dug this lake with his nails. Nail is “nakhun” in Hindi and “nakki” in local dialect, hence the name. 🙂 With food stalls, eateries, cafes and clothing and handicrafts shops all around the decorated garden and entrance to the boat pier this is place to feel the pulses of Rajasthan’s lively hill station, Mt Abu. From dining to shopping to magic tricks performed by young boys – you’ll have many things to do and enjoy at Nakki Lake.
Next morning started our Mount Abu Sightseeing.
Our first stopover was Om Shanti Bhawan which has a huge assembly hall called the Universal Peace Hall. The institution providing meditation facility was established in 1983 with an objective of educating and enlightening people about peace, spirituality and Paramatma (meaning ‘the Almighty’ in Sanskrit).
Adhar Devi Temple – The temple is situated on top of a hill and you need to climb 365 steps to reach there. It was a hard but rewarding task as the view from top is very nice. The temple is built along a natural cave has unique structural feature inside.
Dilwara Temple – This is the brightest jewel on the crown of Mount Abu. This Jain temple is famous for its stunning and exquisite marble carvings all over the interior walls, columns and ceilings. Unfortunately, the temple authority does not allow camera inside. Charges for camera and mobile deposit was Rs 50/- per person.
Achalgarh Fort – The ancient fort town of Achalgarh was not originally had the present name. It was initially built by the Paramara Dynasty in the early medieval period. Later it was renovated by Rana Kumbha but most of the structures are in dilapidated condition. There is a temple of Lord Shiva known as Achaleshwar Mahadeva temple where devotees still offer worship regularly. The taxis (jeeps) to Achalgarh are available from the stand near Dilwara Temple. Each taxi carries 6-8 passengers and fare is Rs 800.
The same taxi will also take you to Guru Shikhar, the highest point of Aravalli Range. The peak is about 5600 ft from the sea level. The journey to Achalgarh and Guru Shikhar was remarkable and so was the view from Guru Shikhar.
After a daylong sightseeing in Mt Abu we returned to our hotel for lunch. Post lunch session was most memorable because of sunset viewing from the Mt Abu Sunset Point. We reached early, before 5 pm, as our tour guide warned us that crowd will start gathering after 5:30 and you may not find a convenient position if you don’t go early. He was correct. When we reached at around 4:45 I merely saw a few couples here and there. I was so absorbed in enjoying the view down the hill I didn’t notice when the place was filled with so many people. To my surprise, the place was jam-packed with sunset viewers after 5:30 pm.
When the sunset was over we went to Nakki Lake before returning to hotel and thus ended my “gazab ka din” at Mount Abu. J In late November, the nights were cold in Mt Abu even though the days were hot just like any other places in Rajasthan. As the night grew older the wind became chillier and I went to bed with my socks and scarf on under the blanket. 🙂
By the way, before I stop here is the song for you.
Disclaimer: Dilwara Temple and Nakki Lake (day) images are taken from the internet.