A secret gem of a place
Abu Travel Blog› entry 29 of 33 › view all entries
A morning coach journey continuing west to Mount Abu. The landscape getting ever more increasingly dry and desert like with reducing amounts of foliage. However once passed Abu Road, the climb up to the mountain town of Mount Abu provided a complete change with suddenly a mass of palm trees and odd shaped rock formations. The temperature still very warm despite the altitude.
Mount Abu is a big holiday (especially honeymoon) destination for Indian couples but seemingly off the backpacker route for most Westerners. The main attraction in the Jain temples that are "the finest examples in India". The complex of 5 temples, 5km out of the town don't disappoint. The whole complex is made of white marble, dating from between 11th and 16th century. The two biggest temples (11th and 13th century) provide the most intricate carving I have seen in any stonework (apparently the masons were paid by the weight of dust created by their carving).
I walked the scenic road back down to the town with plenty of photo opportunities and basked in the glorious weather. Unable to find a decent restaurant in town and even the Rough Guide recommendations only good quality fast food outlets.
I met up with Richard and Laura the following morning for a final trek for this trip. Another beautiful day as we made a short jeep journey out of town to the bottom of the mountain. Our guide explained that the reason for the odd rock formations is that the whole mountain formed out of volcanic rock that used to be under water causing the rocks to be shaped in to their current form.
After a number of leisurely climbs that allowed for many water breaks we hit the ultimate peak. Not the best with heights at the best of times, I was torn between awe at the stunning view and stomach churning vertigo as we were rewarded with a slab of granite that looked out over a 1500 foot sheer drop down to the Rajasthan plain that otherwise continued for 100km without another hill in sight.
Met up with laura and Richard again in the evening where we all went for the South India speciality Dosas (a kind of fried savoury pancake) and belatedly discovered Raita (natural yoghurt - not sure why they needed to serve it with curry powder on top though !). Established that they were heading on a similar route for the next week so agreed to head off to Jodhpur together on the same bus tomorrow.
Mount Abu a nice interlude between the fort cities in Rajasthan. Even better to have some good company for the next leg of the trip.