Introducing Mt Abu
Mt Abu rises high above southern Rajasthan, cool on the heels of the baking desert plains. It’s a welcome hill station retreat, nestled along pedolo-filled Nakki Lake, which attracts hordes of weekenders from neighbouring Gujarat. The tremendous wooded valleys that line the winding drive to the summit lend some longed-for Alpine beauty to a Rajasthan excursion, and house wildlife including bears, wild boars, langoors (wild donkeys), Indian civets, hyenas and sambars. There are also plenty of botanical delights on offer, most notably a number of rare orchids, and excellent trekking opportunities for all levels of fitness.
Mt Abu is more widely known as a pilgrimage centre, particularly for Jains, and the clusters of once stately summer retreats – and damp brick hotels – are often filled with the seasonally devout. The extraordinary Jain Dilwara temples rival most in India though, and the humble presence of Brahma Kumaris followers gives Mt Abu its place in the eternal sun.
It’s organised mayhem around Diwali, and best avoided; May sees the Summer Festival , while December is the time of the Winter Festival . Note that evening temperatures can catch you cold, so remember to pack something warm.