Tourist Destinations of Rajasthan
Mount Abu - The only hill station in
Rajasthan, Mount Abu is more than just a summer retreat. Its stunning
array of exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples, dating back 11th- 13th
centuries, make it a popular pilgrimage centre.
History of Mount Abu
The history of Mount Abu is as diverse as the city itself. It was once a
part of the Chauhan kingdom of Rajasthan and served as a summer
resort for the Rajput kings of the region. After that, it was leased by
the British government from the then Maharaja of Sirohi for use as the
headquarter of the resident to Rajputana (another name for Rajasthan).
During the British rule in India, it was the favorite summer destination
of the British, who came here to escape the dusty, dry heat of the plains
particularly Rajasthan. It also served as a sanatorium for the troops. The
small huts and cottages here tell stories of those times even today.
Mount Abu was the home of many saints and sages in the old days. Legend
has it that all the 330 million gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon
used to visit this holy mountain. It is also the place where the great
saint Vashishth lived and performed a yagna (sacrificial worship on a fire
pit) to create four Agnikula (four clans of fire) to protect the earth
from demons. The yagna was supposed to have been performed near a natural
spring, which emerged from a rock shaped like a cow's head.
According to another legend, once sage Vashishth's cow Nandini was trapped
in a deep gorge and could not free herself. The sage appealed to Lord
Shiva for assistance. The Lord sent Saraswati, the divine stream, to help
flood the gorge so that the cow could float up. Vashishth then decided to
ensure that such mishaps did not occur in future. He asked the youngest
son of Himalaya, the king of mountains to fill the chasm permanently. This
he did with the assistance of Arbud, the mighty snake. This spot came to
be known as Mount Arbud and was later changed to its present form -
This place is held in reverence by Jains as well since Jain scriptures
record that Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankar (spiritual leader),
also visited Mount Abu and blessed the city.