Exploring Rajasthan

Rajasthan is one of the dreamed destinations of the tourists travelling in India. This princely State represents a great variety of features. It has the panoramic views of sand dunes, showing the courage of humans living in the harsh conditions and tiny hills with the forts on it, presenting the chivalry of the Rajput clans. Tourists mostly enjoy the forts and desert vistas of the State.

There are many sites in the State for the nature lovers, such as Abu Hill/ Arbuda Hill/ Mount Abu. Abu Hills are detached from both the Sirohi ranges and main Aravalli Chain, and is situated to the south-east of the Sirohi district of Rajasthan. Abu Hills or Mount Abu is well connected with the road networks with Abu road. Abu Road is one of the important stations of all important trains on the route from Delhi/ Jaipur/ Ajmer/ Jodhpur/ Bikaner to Ahmedabad/ Mumbai. Through road, it is well connected with NH 14. The nearest airport is Dabok (Udaipur), which is 180 kms through NH 76 connecting NH 14 at Pindwara (Sirohi).

Etymologically, Arbuda is word for boil (=ubaal) in Sanskrit and Vedic people gave this name. Also, it had been referred as the hill of wisdom (Ar-Budh). It is long and narrow in shape with a beautiful spreading of plateau at the altitude of 1,219 meters. The length is around 19 km and the breadth ranges from 5 – 8 km. Gurushikhar (The Hermit’s Pinnacle) (1,722 m), the highest point between the Himalayas in the north and the Nilgiris in the south, lies in this isolated hill.

Vishnu Purana presented the picture of Arbudh Pradesh as Marubhumi. The Ptolemy’s map of India (150 A.D.) showed this area as ‘Apocopi Mount’ or the detached mount. The hill was also mentioned by Megasthenes (about 300 B.C.) in a passage which has been quoted by Pliny (23-79 A.D.) in his Natural History, where it is styled ‘Mons Capitalia’ or the mount of capital punishment.

In 1822 A.D., Lt. Col. James Tod, the first European to visit the Abu Hill, described the general natural set up of Abu. Although out of route, in 1886 A.D. Indian writer Kaviraj Shyamaldas documented the natural setup of Abu in a much generalized form in “Veer Vinod”. It was “Flora of British India” and “Fauna of British India” which mentioned several species and emphasized on the flora and fauna of Abu Hill.

“The abode of the God and Rishi-Munis, Mount Abu, the Olympus of India – as mentioned by Lt. Col. James Tod; “A place which abounds with legends of the Gods, their strivings with demons and giants, and the miraculous deeds of the Rishis and the holy men; so that, to the lover of antiquity possessing the time and inclination to dive into the legendary lore of this interesting spot.” There are many such mythological and scientific references describing the importance of this mine of wealth.

The world famous “Jain Temples of Delwara” are one of the most beautiful carved architectural structures on this earth. The mesmerising piece of work is most important spot on this Abu Hills. Nakki Lake provides a place of enjoying boat riding on this hilly plateau. The natural formation of structures in the hilly rocks could attract any visitor. Toad Rock is one of such example near the Nakki lake, in the midst of the urban settlements. Major K. D. Erskine, in the Gazetteer of Sirohi State (1906), wrote about Mount Abu: “The natural features are very bold, and the slopes-especially, on the western and northern sides- extremely precipitous; on the east and south the outline is more broken by spurs with deep valleys between. The traveller, when ascending the mountain, can hardly fail to be impressed with the grand and beautiful scenery; the gigantic blocks of syenitic rocks, towering along the crest of the hill, are especially striking …..”

There are many hotels from high ranges to the lower ranges. One could find Rajputana Cama Hotel to a number of economic ranged hotels such as Samrat, Saraswati etc. Visitors could enjoy the delicious Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisines, other than the selected continental food and snacks. Sakalp and Café chain are there for the people loving south Indian cuisine and taste of branded coffee.

Charles McCann, a naturalist from Bombay spent a short holiday at Mount Abu in the 1940s and wrote, “It is an ‘oasis’ in the Rajputana desert, and a delightful place for a holiday. To the naturalist, Abu offers a fair range of animal and plant life; to the archeologist numerous objects of interest; to the photographer and artist some beautiful studies; to the mountaineer many slippery crags; to the squatter many hard rock.” Thus, it is a beautiful table land in Rajasthan State.

Thus, it is my alternative place of residence. As a scientific worker, I would love to work life long at this place, as a photographer, I would love to take snaps of the landscapes and wildlife of this hillock, as a visitor I would select the Abu as my site of tour.

Satya Prakash Mehra

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