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|
|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 …