Romanch in Mount Abu, Romance in Udaipur, Part 1

With the arrival of monsoon it was customary to pack my travel gears for a vacation that was overdue, because of scorching heat. This time I had pleasure of four days leave including Sunday, so I thought to make it large. Finally after lot of intra-communication a trip to Udaipur and Mount Abu was finalized.

Luckily I got reservation via tatkal in Mewar Express for the same day. It starts from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway station at 19:10 and reaches at Udaipur by around 6:30. From station it is a walking distance to roadways bus stand, where the first bus to Mount Abu departs at 8:30.

Mount Abu is in Sirohi district of Rajasthan. The route goes via NH 76, NH 8 and then NH 14 to Mount Abu. In bus, I meet a guy Jai Prakash, who is in government medical service in Sirohi district. He tells me about culture and few interesting facts of Rajasthan and particularly this region. I saw flocks of sheep led by persons with red pagdi everywhere. Jai Prakash told me that they belong to Revadi community and they live for their cattle. Usually in summer there is no water or food for their cattle in Rajasthan, so they took them to distant places, as far as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Now they are coming back after monsoon. Garashia and Gamiti community also dominate Sirohi district. They usually depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

This area is also not supposed to be safe for driving in night due to these tribal communities. They use to target the tourists and beat them even after offering the money, because they not consider it manly. Garashia community usually has their residence on rugged hills of Aravali and interestingly the head of the family has residence on upper hills in comparison to other family members. So you can usually find two or more houses built close to each other that belong to same family as it is not suppose to be unusual for a person to have more than one wives and as much as 20 children.

Tribal houses en route to Mount Abu


Sirohi is also famous for its sword. It is made of very fine quality of steel and they are very flexible, can bend up to entire length without breaking. He stepped out at some place but before that we exchanged our numbers that I use to call him last day of my journey and we met again, but that part later.

On the way to Mount Abu

The ride till Abu is about 4 and a half hour and either one can hop off at Abu road or near the T-point where the drive to hill gets start. From here a shared Jeep can be hired for 30 bucks for around 30 minute drives to Mount Abu. Due to monsoon it was lush green all around. Mount Abu is not at very high altitude like the mighty Himalayas but equally thrilling. After a year long membership first time I used my life time “Youth hostel membership card” and got a nice room in just 300 bucks at discounted rate in hotel “Tourist Resort”, part of youth hostel chain, near famous Chacha Museum.

Mount Abu provides a unique facility of hiring bikes for 150 bucks a day. You can choose any make of your choice. It is also important because the highest point of Mount Abu, Guru Shikhar is some 20 km drive in hills. Besides one can visit Delwara Jain temple, Achalgarh fort, Nakki Lake, the famous sun set point and an exciting wild life sanctuary Travor’s Tank.

So, first thing first, I hired a bike and went straight to a Gujrati restaurant to have their thali. Mount Abu is seems to be dominated by Gujrati rather than Rajasthani culture. Ahmedabad is just 200 kms from here and deity Amba ji tour in Gujrat is very common among tourists. Well back to thali, it was sumptuous meal at a cost of 80 Rs with unlimited filling of everything. As most of you know about Gujrati dishes, everything comes with a sweet taste but not bad for a change.

It was already 3 so I first decided to cover the famous Guru-Shikhar. At a height of 1722 m it is highest point of Mount Abu as well Aravali hills. Around 20 km drive to this peak is very pleasant and one can enjoy every bit of it. I stopped several times to click photographs.

The bike I had rented
Breathtaking View
Due to monsoon it was lush green all around

The time I reached to Guru Shikhar it was cloud all over. Guru Shikhar provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Mount Abu and lush green Aravali.

Guru Shikhar, most of the tourists were Gujratis

Cloud was quicker than me and covered the entire area so vastly and doesn’t allow me to click more photographs. There is also a temple of God Shiva at the top known as Dattatrey temple.

Next stop was Nakki Lake. As per legend this lake was dug by gods using their nails, that is why the name Nakki lake. It is situated in the heart of the Abu very near to the main market. People were enjoying boating and spending time with their families and friends.

 

Nakki Lake is the hub of all action

Finally the last activity of the day was to shoot some pictures from sun set point. Although due to clouds it was not seems to be encouraging, but still I managed a few.

 

 

 

What I observed here that non-vegetarian foods are not very popular among either Gujratis or Rajasthanis. You have to choose among few Punjabi restaurants for non-vegetarian delicacies. I found some ‘Surti-Omelette’ is written everywhere; it was worth trying with the addition of home made garlic paste on the top of Omelette.

Night was still cold even in the month of July and I needed two blankets to have a comfortable sleep but all I can say now that I loved that.

Continued in Part 2 …

28 Comments

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    • Amit Kumar says:

      ???????? ????? ???. ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?????? 750 ???? ??. 1500 ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ?? 4 ????? ??? ???? ??????? ??. ??????? ???????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??. ???? ???? ???? ????? ??? ????.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Dear Amit,
    It was a mind blowing travel story. I gone through each word very patiently and I enjoyed it much. Photographs were nice specially the pictures of Guru Shikhar, Nakki lake and sun set.

    Waiting for the next part.

    Thanks.

  • Nandan says:

    You were away for a while so I am expecting a dream-series of Abu and Udaipur in coming days.

    I have never been to Abu though was able to Udaipur a couple of times. Great info about Sirohi and the tribal communities of the area. It must be a different experience , traveling all by yourself. :-)

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Great title brother!
    Beautiful place, so are the photographs.
    From where I can get ‘Youth hostel membership card’? Sounds really good. :)

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks Vinay Bhai. Mount Abu is really beautiful. Most of time in my two days stay, clouds were on the ground giving the entire environment a mystic feel. Glad you like the pics.
      For Youth Hostel Membership follow this link and do apply online.

      http://www.yhaindia.org/memberships/

      The lifetime membership charges are nominal 1550 with lots of benefit.

  • Vibha says:

    Hey Amit, I recently stayed in a youth hostel in the city of Bath. Since I do not have a membership card, I had to pay 3 GBP more than the members. The room was a dormitary with eight beds and two shared baths. I was expecting it to be very unpleasant and dirty but it was surprisingly clean. I even left my stuff at the hostel in an unlocked cupboard during the day and never had to worry about it. Was your experience similar or did you rent an individual room?

    I’ve never been to mount Abu but would love to go there some day. Till then, I think reading your post would do. Cheers!

  • Amit Kumar says:

    Thanks Vibha. Youth hostels are really amazing concept for travelers. Just 1550 for life time membership and you will get a host of benefits like;

    1. Discounted accommodation in Youth Hostels at more than 48 locations in India.
    2. Card is an international one and valid in more than 4500 locations around the globe.
    There are discount in eurail also.
    3. (Most exciting) Participate in Adventure and Trekking program (at very discounted rate).
    4. Discount at Nirula’s restaurant for YHAI Members.
    5. Discount on GTDC (Goa tourism development corporation) hotels.
    6. Discount on tourist hotels in UP (Run by UP State Tourism).

    Usually Youth hostels are a portion reserved for card holders in modest hotels (but location is always prime) at a discounted rate. You check the site http://www.yhaindia.org/memberships/ and you’ll surprise with the rates. In India also they have dormitory facilities at prices like 75 or 100 Rs. In Abu dormitory was not available but a nice clean room at 300 was worth a deal. You can also book online.

    Is it sounds like I am getting some commission :-) I hope after reading this they will give me extra discounts.

  • maheh semwal says:

    I have been to Udaipur / Mount Abu around 10 years back. Visited all the places except sunset point as we hired a car from Udaipur for one day trip to Mount Abu & because of the Tribal problem it was not advisable to travel in night hence after visiting all the places we were back to Udaipur by late evening.I was thinking that with the time the situation must have improved but after going through your post I realized that the tribal problem is still there.

    Even if you give all your money / stuff you are carrying , they will still beat you , they say they are not beggars that’s why they beat and snatch your every thing. It sounds very funny.

    Pictures are beautiful , especially Sunsets one. Thanks for refreshing the memories.

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks a lot Mahesh Ji. Glad you like it.
      The Garashia tribe problem is really annoying at Udaipur-Mount Abu stretch. See even after 10 years it is unresolved. They are quite scattered in entire region as they are allow to make their house anywhere they want and there is no land regulation from government side. That is why there is limited bus service between two places and private taxis are always unwilling to go in this stretch at night.

  • Sahil Sethi says:

    Amit , Good to read your post after a while. I have been to Udaipur a couple of times . Enjoyed reading through accompnied by nice pics.

    Sahil

  • Great photos specially of Sunset along with very good description.

  • Sharma Shreeniwas says:

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  • Rahul says:

    Dear Amit, very informative travelogue. The pictures look splendid. Would like to point out 1 correction though. “There is also a temple of God Shiva at the top known as Dattatrey temple.” Actually Dattatrey is considered to be combination of trinity i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Most of the Dattatreya temples are dotted along Gujarat, Maharashtra and Northern Karnataka / Andhra.

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks Rahul. Glad you liked it. You are write about “Dattatrey temple”. It was there on Guru Shikhar. I just missed to mention it. But thanks for sharing the details about God Dattatrey. This piece of information is new to me.

  • Ashish says:

    Super description. Super photos. Great work. Keep it up.

  • shoib says:

    ok firstly my name is shoib i am an engg student , we guys are planning for trip to mount abu
    can you please give us the info of hotel tariifs and about yhai hotels and about dormitary accomodation
    we are students(4 in no) so money is a big constraint it will be helpful if you guide us.

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