Mount Abu, a 1200 metre high resort, is also considered a holy mountain. Lying at the southern extremity, it is the highest point of the Aravalli range in Rajasthan.
There are several legends associated with this mount. It is considered the son of the Himalayas. The name Abu is derived from Arbuda, a serpent which rescued Nadni Deva, Lord Shiv's sacred mount. This place is mentioned in the Mahabaratha as "Arbudgiri". Several sages including Vasishta are said to have done penance here. Sage Vasishta is said to have performed a yagna here to regenerate the human race. The four Agni kula Rajputs - The Chauhans, Solankis, Parmars and Pratihars are said to have been born from the yagna.
Guru Shikhar, highest point in Rajasthan
There is a natural spring below Abu, which emerges from under a rock shaped like a cow's head and hence is known as Gaumukh. Though originally dedicated to Lord Shiva, later it became a great Jain pilgrimage centre, with several Dilwara temples, around 1000 years old. Exquisitely carved marble temples have been built enshrining various thirthankaras.
This is the oldest of the Jain temples built in 1031 AD. It was built by Vimal Shah, minister of Bhim Deva, the first Solanki ruler in the village of Dilwara.Constructed out of fine white marble with intricate caarvings, it is dedicated to Adinath, the firstJain tirthankaras. Incidents from Jain literature and legends are intricately carved in the cielings. There are elaborate pillars in white marble with beautiful carvings of various images.
is dedicated to the 22nd tirthankara. This temple was built in 1231 AD by Vastupal & Tejpal (brothers) who were ministers of Raja Virdhavala. There is fine workmanship to be seen in the pillars, walls and ceilings of this temple. There is a huge image of the 22nd Jain tirthankara made out of black basalt. There is a marble pendant in the dome of the porch, which drops from the ceiling like a cluster of crystal drops, rather than a solid mass of marble. It is so finely carved that it almost seems transparent.
Sculpted pillars, Dilwara temples
This is the only place, other than in the Himalayas, that a lake exists 1200 mts above sea level. The lake is studded with small islands. It is believed that this lake was dug out by the Gods with their nails (nakh). There are a number of temples and cave dwellings of ascetics around this lake. Boating facility is available.
A spring spouts out from beneath a rock, which seems like water flowing from the mouth of a cow and hence the name Gaumukh. The hill temple of Arbuda is carved out of a rock and the marble idol of Nandi rescued by Arbuda (snake) is found here. This is the spot where Vasishta is said to have regenerated the human race giving rise to the four Rajput clans from the sacrificial fire
Sunset point, Honeymoon point, gardens and parks such as the Ashok Vatika, Gandhi Park, Municipal Park, Shaitan Singh Park and Terrace garden are other places to visit.