IN A NUTSHELL: I would rate it one of the top 10 Most Awesome, MUST VISIT places in India. Just for the Dilwara Temples.
Well, this was when the difference between planning a trip with your friends & going on a trip with your folks was blatantly evident. I had gone to Gujarat for a week to attend classes at MICA, thought I'd make the best use of it by doing a little travelling. I visited Mt Abu which is about 200 Km from Ahmedabad. Well, thing to note- Roads in Gujarat are fantastic- you can conveniently zip @100 kmph on these roads! Mom was travelling with me so no worries about food, fuel in the car or finances either :-P
Mt Abu has all the charm that a hill station must have! It is located in the Satpura ranges & is a Hill retreat shared by Haryana, Gujarat & Rajasthan. I went during April last week and found the climate pleasant. I stayed at an Army guest house so cannot comment about the lodging there. However, I saw a lot of small hotels or home-stays. The summer months attract a lot of tourists here, so be sure to make prior reservations.
History Story time: Mt Abu got its name from a huge snake named 'Arbuda,' who buried himself in a huge pit on the mountain. He covered the dangerous pit & in return wanted the mountain to be named after him.
Places Worth Visiting-
Sunset Point- Beautiful view to see the Sun go down & great for photography!
Nakki Lake- This lake is situated at the heart of the city & has lot of tourist shops situated all around the lake. Apparently, this lake was dug by the nails of the 'Devathas' in Hindu Mythology. Hence the name! You can go boating here & there are lots of restaurants all along the lake.
THE NAKKI LAKE
Guru Shikar- This is the highest point of Mt Abu, you get beautiful view of the entire town from here & can see clouds below you.
Dilwara Temples- If you love sculptures & architecture, then I'd say this is the Only reason for you to visit Mt. Abu! I was awestruck by the beauty of the Dilwara Temples! The SADDEST part is that photography is strictly prohibited. We tried to pull A LOT of strings, but they said that if the Jain trust decides, then no one can take pictures there. There are 5 temples in all, each one more splendid than the other! Points to Remember- Please buy the guide book before entering the temples. You get them at the office. Please read the book, it explains the history behind each temple. Each temple is divided into cells, and the guide book describes the architectural context of each cell. When you enter the temples you are clueless as to where to look. Here is my take: I find the Dilwara temples way more magnificent and better architecturally than the Taj Mahal. We can easily spend 3 hours at the temples.
Caution- Do not base your judgments by the exteriors of the temple- they are dome shaped ordinary structures. This was done to deceive the Mughals & prevent destruction of the temples.
If you are interested & you know me, I am willing to lend you the guide book & Photographs to give you an idea of what I am attempting to explain. However I'd say- 'To see is to Experience it!'
If you are religious there are the ancient Arbuda Vishwanath temple & the Arbuda Devi temples. They have their own historical & mythological significance.
Another very important thing at Mt Abu is the Bhramakumari Institute for Spiritual Learning. Well, they have a Peace Park (with lots of flowers) & the largest campus here. Personally, I am not spiritually inclined so I was not interested. My take- Avoid going here if you do not have patience or are not SPRIRITUAL!
Shopping- Well I bought lots of Silver Jewelry here for close to 5K. The jewelry made of silver & semi-precious stones is exquisite.
A perfect weekend trip! You can club it with the trip to Udaipur too, as Udaipur is just 150 km from here. I have been to Udaipur so did not venture again.