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Achalgarh, Mount Abu

AchalGarh is one of the many beautiful medieval monuments that can be found in the picturesque Mount Abu. It was commissioned by Rana Kumbha, the esteemed designer who was responsible for many huge fortresses in Southern Rajasthan. Achalgarh is just 8 Kilometers from the main Mount Abu town and is well connected by road.

The fortress AchalGarh is surrounded by massive battlement walls. It is situated at the top of a mountain peak and offers picturesque views all year round. AchalGarh is found at the top of a steep winding path, whereby the 15th century fortresses and the temples are enclosed within the fortified walls. These fortified walls provide scenic lookouts onto the countryside.
A 10 minute climb from AchalGarh brings you to the beautiful and historic Jain Temples. These temples are a must visit for more great views and the beautiful sculpture.

Another must visit temple can be found below the path. The Achleshwar temple is famous for containing a Nandi which is said to be made of 5 metals, fold, silver, copper, brass and zinc. The Nandi is made up of Panchadhattu and weighs more than 4 tonnes.

Adeshwar Jain Temple:

From Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple, there is an uphill climb of about 15 mins and one reaches a decent height to get a panoramic view of the abu hills. One can also hire jeeps (INR 150) from the car parking to get to the top. After climbing 250 steps you can reach 550 years old Adeshwar temple built by Dhanasa Seth , Mahamantri of Rana Kumbha . There were 14 idols of Tirthakars made in panchdhatu . The total weight of the idols was told to be 57.76 tonnes . One idol was on ground floor, nine idols were on first floor and remaining four idols were on second floor. The white marble structure looks magnificent on the peak. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Adinath bhagwan and there are smaller jain temples around.

The Jain temple is beautiful and peaceful but you need to hike (and climb steps) to reach it. Further to the Jain temple are temples for Brahma & Kali. The view from the Jain temple is decent as you can see the aravalli and specifically Guru Shikkar. It’s a good place to visit if you are interested in trekking/hiking and are in good physical health – bring lots of water, sunscreen, hats and good walking shoes.

Achleshwar Mahadev Temple:

It is believed that the Achleshwar temple was built in the 9th century and legend has it that it was built around a toe print of Lord Shiva. There is also a pit that is said to reach to the netherworld. It is the only place on earth where the great toe of Lord Shiva is worshiped, that is estimated to be going to the centre of the earth. It is the proud possessor of the glory of rich mythology, theology, folklore and even history. Miracles happened in its hallowed precincts. Achleshwar also contains a natural Shivalinga. (A Shivalinga is phallus-shaped and fixed on a base, which is shaped like a yoni. The structure symbolises the supreme creative energy. It is usually made of stone but can also be of wood, metal, crystal, and soapstone.) There are also many other sculpted idols which are made of a crystal like stone. In natural light, this stone looks opaque, but if you place a candle behind the idols they take on a beautiful crystal-like sparkle, the stone is called the crystal stone or sfatik in Hindi. Nearby the temple, we find the scenic looking Mandakini Lake. This lake is surrounded by rocky hills, and rock walls covered with images of a Rajput king and buffaloes. These pictures are said to represent the legend that says the lake was filled with ghee and the watering hole of demons disguised as buffaloes. This was until they were shot by Raja Adi Pal.

Its Nandi, made of an alloy of five different metals, is credited with the marvel of repulsing the Muslim invaders by releasing millions of bumble bees to attack the Muslim marauders. They were the lessons learned by those in charge to preserve and protect the sanctity of the pristine temple that they devised a very injurious, albeit ingenious method of camouflaging the prominence and the eminence of the great temple.

In the process the whole temple was covered under a layer of lime, thus covering the intricate, fine, filigree masterpiece work of the great artisans of the bygone era. The result was that the edifice looked like a very ordinary, insignificant structure. As luck would have it, the people who had tried to camouflage the whole building by covering it with lime got lost into the unfathomable pit of time and together with that the future generation forgot if there ever were brilliantly sculptured temples under the dull, drab, dreary layers of lime.

Mercifully, then the Yuvraj of Sirohi State somewhere in 1979, and chanced upon something looking like marble under a layer of lime, while he was taking his royal visitors around the lime layered temples.

The dexterous state artisans set down in earnest to restore the great temple to their pristine splendor, under the gifted guidance of the proficient prince. At first the cleaning and the removing of the lime insult was done with extreme precaution. Layer after layer the great glory of the temples was being revealed. The pristine, intricate marble poems were being exposed and read with passionate reverence and awe. As the celestial work was being uncovered, utmost caution was taken to prevent any disfiguration to the ancient grandeur of the temples.

At all sites each column was warily detached. Painstakingly, it was repaired and refurbished, closest to its original glory and then with the same utmost care replaced on its own pillar in its true order. This could be abundantly observed at the Nandi corral.

The sanctum sanctorum was found to be built not with bricks or slabs of marble but with blocks of marble. As the cleaning was done a walking space was revealed between the exterior of the sanctum sanctorum and a jacket like walk outside it. It was a gallery like space meant for a walk round the temple termed parikrama. Amazingly, beautifully sculptured statues of Chamunda were found in a beautiful alcove on two of the walls, the rear and the left ones. They were smeared with vermillion, indicating they were then regularly worshiped in those halcyon days.

The Dashaavtar Temple left all the visitors spellbound. The canopy of the entrance had restored statues in various dance forms. The restoration is unnoticeable by even a trained eye. The restitution left all and sundry awestruck. Save and except one of the limbs of one of the statues, all other repaired limbs looked as the part of the primary creation. The one that could be noticed is an isolated example, was due to the different quality of marble, intentionally used to observe the difference.

Photogenic Place, especially over the top of the fort. Recommended since among the best places to visit in ABU.

You can enter the fort , first through Hanuman pol and then through Champa pol . The fort protected Achaleshwar Mahadev temple , Kantinath jain temple , Chamunda Devi temple , Mahakali temple , Raja Gopichand’s cave and Shravan Bhado pond .

Ambaji Temple, Ambaji

Ambaji, a famous pilgrimage place of Gujarat in India is situated on the border of States of Gujarat and Rajasthan near Abu Road, in the Danta Taluka of Banaskantha District, near the origin of the famous Vedic virgin river SARASWATI, on the hills of Arasur Parvat in Ambica forest , towards south-west side to old hills of Arvalli, at the altitude of about 480 meters, at about 1600 feet high from sea level, having at 8.33 sq km (5 sq. miles area ) area as a whole , is in fact one of the Fifty One (51) ancient Shakti Piths, the main Centre of Cosmic Power in India. Ambaji is an important temple town with 7 to 8 millions of devotees visiting the Ambaji temple every year. It is situated at a distance of approximately 65 km from Palanpur, 45 km from Mount Abu, 20 km from Abu Road, 185 km from Ahmedabad, 50 km from Kadiyadra.

In the holy temple of “Arasuri Ambaji”, there is no image or statue of goddess the holy “Shree Visa Yantra” is worshiped as the main deity. No one can see the Yantra with naked eye. The photography of the Yantra is prohibited.

The original seat of Ambaji mata is on gabbar hilltop in the town. A large number of devotees visit the temple every year especially on Purnima days. A large mela on Bhadarvi poornima (full moon day) is held. Every Year from all over the country people come here walking all over from their native place just to worship MAA AMBE in September.The whole Ambaji is lighted up as the whole nation lights up at the festive time of Diwali.

The shrine of Amba is regarded as a revered shrine by the Shakta Shaktism sect of Hinduism. It is believed that the Heart of Sati Devi has fallen here. The origin of the Shakti Peetha status temple is from the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati’s self immolation. Shakti Peethas were believed to have been formed when the body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi fell into different regions when Lord Shiva carried her corpse in sorrow after her death. The shrines are considered as highly revered by Shaivist (Shaivism) sect in Hinduism. The Shakti Peethas are mostly worshiped by tantra practitioners. Each Shakti Peetha has a Kalabhairava shrine associated with it the Kalabhairava of The Amba Matha Temple is Batuk Bhairav.

Ambaji is one of the 51 ancient Shakti Peetha Tirth in India. There are 12 main Shakti Pith Tirth, significant places of pilgrimage for the worship of Shakti, namely, Ma Bhagwati Mahakali Maha Shakti at Ujjain, Ma Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Mata Bramaramba at Srisailam, Shri Kumarika at Kanyakumari, Mataji Ambaji at AnarGujarat, Mata Mahalaxmidevi at Kolhapur, Devi Lalita at Prayag, Vindhya Vasini at Vindhya, Vishalakshi at Varanasi, Mangalavati at Gaya and Sundari at Bangal & Guhyeshwari Temple in Nepal.

The climate of Ambaji is pleasant never too hot or cold. Sunrise and Sun Set are at about 6-10 am and 6-30 pm respectively, hence Nitya Arti is performed everyday as per Sun Rise & Sun Set times. It is also a pretty good opportunity to enjoy Sun Set from the top of Gabbar. In past Ambaji was occupied by some aboriginal Adivasi tribes, but today it is occupied much with different Gujarati and Rajasthani people. The population of Ambaji is about 20000. The average raining in Ambaji is about 30 to 40 inches per year, so with a view to mitigating any water scarcity in summer, sufficient water supply is arranged from Panchha a near by village, having abundant supply of water, by Local bodies of Ambaji Gram Panchayat.

The Holy Place of Pilgrimage Ambaji is surrounded by hills of Arasur which is very rich with different kinds of minerals and marbles, hence Units of Gujarat Minerals Development Corporation and some private units of Marbles Mines have flourished well in vicinity of Ambaji. Gabbar is just 5 km away from Ambaji and Kumbharia Jain Temples is also 2 km away from Ambaji Temple, whereas Koteshwar Temple of Lord Shiva is 5(Five) km away, in the forest area.

One can reach Ambaji by State Roadways through buses from Ahmedabad and also through Rajasthan Roadways, in as much as Ambaji is just 21 km away from Taluka Centre Danta by road and is just about 50 kms away from Palanpur, the Main City of Banaskantha District. The nearest Railway Station from Ambaji is Abu Road (Rajasthan), just about 20 km away by road. Ambaji can be reached from Khedbhrahma, Danta and Abu Road by State Highways, linked with National High Way. Ambaji is connected with most of the cities of Gujarat & Rajasthan with daily regular and luxurious Bus Services. There are about 100 Dharmashalas for residential purpose and more than 50 private Guest Houses and hostel with all amenities, in the city of Ambaji. Moreover Circuit House, State Government Rest House, District Panchayat Rest House, GMDC Rest House, Forest Bungalow and newly established Holiday Home Jagatjanani Pathikashram and Ambica Vishramgruh, belonging to Shri Arasuri Ambaji Devasthan Trust are also available to the tourist & pilgrims. In Ambaji, there are some branches of the nationalized banks like State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and also some branches of District Central Co-Op. Banks too. Ambaji also has pretty good facilities of email, internet, modernized Post Office, telephone & STD & ISTD Television & Cable Networking.

Devotion : Nitya Darshan

Note:  Darshan Times varies on any Annakoot from SAAMDT or from any Devotees.

Arti of Mataji is carried out regularly Every Day at about 6-00 a.m. in the morning.

Seasons Timing
During Summer In Morning from 7.00 to 10.45
In Noon from 12.30 to16.30
In Evening from 19.30 to 21.15
During Monsoon In Morning from 7.00 to 11.30
In Noon from 12.30 to16.30
In Evening from 19.00 to 21.00
During Winter In Morning from 7.00 to 11.30
In Noon from 12.30 to16.00
In Evening from 18.00 to 20.30

 

Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust (SAAMDT)

Devotees Facility:

After the foundation of Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust of Ambaji, in the year 1958, the temple trust has taken some landmark steps to provide more and more amenities and accommodation to the coming visitors and pilgrims of Mata Ambaji Tirth. Though there are hundreds of big and small private Hotels and Guest House, Dharmasala in Ambaji, yet in furtherance of providing more facilities, accommodation and comforts to the tourists and pilgrims and with a view to furnishing more and more lodging, boarding facilities and comfort, Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust has built and established some Guest Houses and Holiday Homes, Dharmashala and Bhojanalay in the heart of city of Ambaji, and thus Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust at present provides and administers the  lodging and boarding facilities, which include all kinds of modern facilities and traditional Gujarati Cuisine and breakfasts.

Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust has also founded and established special Public Toilets and Bathing Facilities for the Devotees, near the temple complex as well as in Ambica Bhojanalay, with the help of Nasa Foundation and the people at large, coming to Ambaji also use these public facilities, provided by the temple trust, simply for a nominal token rate of Rs.2 /- per user. Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust has also constructed big Locker Rooms for keeping the luggage of the tourists and some big Parking Plots near Ambaji temple as well as at Gabbar Taleti (Bottom), for the vehicles of the tourists.

A long and broad Fly Over Bridge, 120 meters long and 17 meters broad with total marble floorings, costing at about 1(one) crore rupees, for the purpose of direct passage for the tourists, is constructed at the instance of Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust, under the auspice of its huge and promising Renovation Project for the Temple Complex and its surroundings. This Fly Over Bridge Facilities will help the devotees to come and reach in front of the Main Temple into Chachar Chowk directly from State Highway, without any rush and difficulties through this Fly over bridge.

Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust has constructed a big Decorative Shakti Dwar, like that of Gopuram style which shall be 71 feet long and 18 feet broad, parallel to state highway in centre at the western end of this fly over bridge, containing total five gates in a whole structure, at the estimated costs of Rs.1,99,31,200/-. The whole Shati Dwar shall be made from Bansi Pahanpur Stone, attached with 10 feet high compound wall at its both ends.

Gabbar Hill, Ambaji

Gabbar Hill is in Gujarat, close to the Rajasthan border, about five kilometre far from Ambaji Temple. It’s concerning 480 m (1600 ft) high and has an area of over eight sq kilometre. This pilgrim center close to the origin of the Saraswati River is steeped in legends. It’s believed to be the original abode of the Hindu god Ambaji. Ambaji’s ‘footprints’ on this hill is a major pilgrim attraction. Devotees are said to hear Ambaji’s voice at the cave of Ambaji. The Mountain or Hill of Gabbar has additionally a small temple fortified from the western side and there are 999 steps to go up to the mountain and reach this holy temple at the top of Gabbar Hill. A Holy Lamp is constantly burning on this hill temple facing specifically in front of Visa Shree Yantra of nij Mandir of Mata Shri Arasuri Ambica. An aerial ropeway also connects the temple at the hilltop. The fort was made within the fifteenth century close to the joining (confluence) of 2 holy rivers. One will see the local tribal villages working as silversmiths, potters, arrow makers also as basket weavers.

It is in fact One of the Fifty One (51) famous ancient (Pauranik) Shakti Piths – The Centre of Cosmic Power of India and it is the original holy place of Mata Ambaji, where the piece of the heart of the dead body of Devi Sati fell at the top of this holy hill of Gabbar as per the legend narrated in the “Tantra Chudamani”. Wherever any of the 51 holy parts and ornaments of the dead body of Devi Sati fell on this earth, all such places are known as famous 51 Shakti Pith – centre of cosmic power . Octagonal temple built on a place where heart of Sati fell and so honoured as Shaktipeeth. All the eight openings of the temple were adorned with beautiful Andola toranas . The sanctum sanctorum was presided by the pre Aryan deity who gave Ajay arrow to Lord Ram to annihilate Ravan. In the niche behind the deity an auspicious flame was burning since ages and was told the same facing the Visa Yantra at Ambaji temple, Ambaji 5 km away, could be seen from there in the night.

Gabbar Tirth: Rope Way

In order to develop Ambaji Pilgrimage as a Hill Picnic Place of Gujarat, Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust had in 1998 installed and inaugurated Shri Amba Devi Udan Khatola Facilities, that is to say, a Rope Way on the mountain of Gabbar, with the help of Usha Breco Co. of Calcutta on a lease basis, so that more and more pilgrims can visit and enjoy the beauty and holiness of Gabbar with so ease and joy, just by reaching in time, without any trouble. Rope way on Gabbar Hill has in fact encouraged more and more tourists and pilgrims, especially the aged and infirmed and senior citizens people from all corners of the world to come and sit in Rope Way in order to swing in the arms of the Beauty of Holy Gabbar Hill and its rocky surroundings.

Ropeway services (UDAN-KHATOLA) are very fast & easy at hand at the Gabbar Hill (Ambaji) especially if you are old, or have kids, or lacks time or face difficulty in climbing 1000+ steps. The charges are very nominal Rs. 80 as a Return fare (Rs. 50/- one-way). It hardly takes 2 mins to slide up / down.

Time is 0600 hrs to 2000 hrs.

If you can climb 1000+, that is best, but if you can’t, do not hesitate to go for it. Your kids will love the experience. Must go & avail ropeway…it is superb. There is children play area, cafeteria & scenic beauty is too good.

Legend of Holy Hill Gabbar in Devi Bhagvat

In Accordance with the legend in Devi Bhagvat, Mahisasur was a dangerous demon to the whole universe, therefore all the Gods under the leadership of Tridev Bhrahma (Lord of Creation), Vishnu (Lord of Maintenance) & Mahesh (Lord of Destruction) ultimately went to the final recourse to the Mahadevi Adhya Shakti, the Supreme Original Cosmic Power of The Universe and worshiped her for rescue and help. And then Adhya Devi Shakti incarnated on earth with weapons surrounded by a bright circle of sunny rays, so as The Atomic Energy emerges from its origin and Devi killed and absolved the demon Mahishasur by her holy sword and since then she became known in the world as “Mahisasur Mardini “.

Gabbar in Ramayan

As per a legend said in Ramayan, Lord Rama and Laxman came to Ashram of Shrungi Rushi in search of Sitaji, where they were told to worship Devi Ambaji at Gabbar. And Rama did so and Jagat Mata Shakti (The Mother of Energy of the whole Universe) Devi Ambaji gave him an miraculous arrow namely “Ajay”, with the help of which Rama conquered and killed his enemy Ravan in the war.

Mundan of Lord Krishna

It is also a legend that the hairs of holy child Lord Krishna were also removed here on this Gabbar hill, as a holy ritual ceremony of hair removing Mundan, in presence of his foster parents Nand and Yashoda, who had worshiped Devi Ambaji and Lord Shiva, during the period of Dwapar yug.

The Legend of Maha Maya

It is also said that Mangal and his wife, a devotee couple of Mata Ambaji used to go for cow grazing near Gabbar Hill, where they saw an unknown white cow, usually grazing near their ones and then disappearing over Gabbar Hill. So one day they followed this cow and went on the hills of Gabbar and reached at night to a big ground, floored with marbles and wonderful pillars and Torans with the doors of heaven which were opened simply by the voice of this holy cow Kamdhenu and they found the Goddess Devi Adhya Shakti siting in her palace. So these cow grazing couple requested for remuneration from Amba Mata, for the service of cow grazing job for that wonderful white cow and Mataji gave them some grains of Jav (Barley) , but they carelessly thrown the invaluable grains on the hills of Gabbar but in the morning they found some of the grains made of gold. So they repented and went back on the hills to see Mata Ambaji and worshiped for mercy without any grind. Ultimately Mataji pleased and graced to reincarnate as their daughter in future. And then, this couple born again as Nand & Yashoda, the foster parents of Lord Krishna. And Mata Ambaji  reincarnated as their daughter Maha Maya, who disappeared in jail, after warning Raja Kans.

Sword of Rana Pratap

The Well Known Rajput King of Mewar, Maha Rana Pratapwas a true devotee of Arasuri Amba Bhawani. He was once saved by Mata Ambaji, so he had gifted and dedicated his famous sword to the holy feet of Mata Arasuri Ambaji.

Origin of Navratri Festival

As per Mahabharat, on the Full Moon Day Purnima of the month of Bhadrapad (Bhadarva Mas) Princess Rukshamani had worshiped her Kul- Devi Mata Ambica on the mountain of Gabbar Hill, in order to invite her beloved Lord Krishna, to abduct her from her Swayamvar to marry and Mata Ambica gave her a boon to achieve her goal to marry Lord Krishna, as against the wish of her brother and relatives and other kings. And Princess Rukshamani wedded with the Lord Krishna and became Pat-Rani, the main Queen and had celebrated the well known Indian Festival of Navratri, for the first time on this earth, in the Garbh- Deep Nrutya in Gujarati Garba Style, with her friends & relatives in Dwarka.

Kumbharia Jain Temples, Ambaji

Kumbharia Jain temples built by Vimal Shah during the 12th century are five different temples dedicated to the Jain tirthankars – Mahavir, Neminath, Sambhavnath, Shantinath and Parshwanath. Artistically built with white marbles, these five temples are the only ones left out of the 360 Jain temples that were built by Vimal Shah, the minister of Bhimdev I – the Chalukya king. Just 3 kilometer away from Ambaji main temple near the state High way, Kumbharia Jain Temples cannot be left or avoided to visit. As per a legend, Mata Ambaji had suggested to Sheth Vimal Shah to build and construct 360 Jain Temples to the dedication of Jain Tirthankers, but when he was frequently asked about who had built these temples, he disregarded the holy grace of Mata Ambaji, hence Mataji became furious over Vimal Shah and destroyed all the 360 temples except 5 five which are undoubtedly marvelous jain temples, made of marbles and artistic architecture. It is said that Vimal Shah had repented for his fault and he had installed the idols of Mata Ambaji as Shashan Devi, Goddess of Empire, in his all other Jain temples, situated in Mount Abu and other places. These temples portray extensive artistic carvings of gods, goddesses, angles, horsemen and musicians.

The temples are open between 6.30am and 7.30pm daily.

This Holy Jain Temples of Kumbharia are not run by Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust (SAAMDT) but is run and administered by another Jain institute.

Kumbhleshwar Mahadev

Near Kumbharia Jain Temple there is an ancient Kumbheshawar Mahadev Temple which has been built as per Vastu Shastra, the ancient Indian Science of Architecture, with wonderful pieces of architect and Holy idol Ling of Ashutosh, and Jaladhari made from marble, continuously pouring holy water on the Shivlinga.

Anadara Point (Honey Moon Point), Mount Abu

On the north-west of the Nakki Lake, near by the old gateway to Abu is Anadara point named after the village Anadara. This place is at the height of 4,000 feet. Here from also the magnificient grandeur of the setting the sun can be witnessed. Near it is a Lover – Rock also popularly known as Honey Moon Point, is an attractive point for the visitors for it being in the natural creation in the shape of a man and a woman. For the newly – married couples, this is really a place full of very much charm. That’s why many visitors do come just to celebrate ‘Honey Moon’ at Mount Abu. It provides a serene aura with a pleasant view of the verdant valley and plains. It looks especially beautiful during the sun set hour.

Gurushikhar, Mount Abu

Gurushikhar holds the honor of being not only the highest peak of Mount Abu but the whole of Aravali mountain range; Situated at a height of 1722 meters (5676 ft) from the sea-level, Gurushikar provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Mount Abu town and green aravali range.

If you are traveling through the beautiful Mount Abu region in Rajasthan, you should ensure that you pay a visit to Guru Shikhar for postcard picture quality views of the town of Mount Abu and the Aravali Range, Guru Shikhar is also home to many beautiful and historic temples.

Coming to the peak of Guru Shikhar, you must make sure that you visit the temple of Guru Dattatreya. Many Hindus in the Western Indian regions believed that Dattatreya is a God. They believe that Dattatreya is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The word Datta means “Given,” Datta is called so because the divine trinities have “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. He is the son of Atri, hence the name “Atreya.” Nearby is an huge & historic bell which was inscribed with 1488 V.S (1411AD.) Unfortunately the old bell has disintegrated and had to be replaced by a new one.

If you go to the peak just a little to the north-west of Guru Shikhar, you can visit the shrine dedicated to Ahilya, the mother of Dattatreya. Like those from the taller Guru Shikhar peak, the views are simply enchanting.

To get to the peak of Guru Shikhar, you need to travel the approximately 7km long Delwara AchalGarh road (15 km from Mount Abu). It you are already traveling through the Mount Abu region, this is a very short trip to see the panoramic views offered of both the town and the lush green Aravali Range. A visit to Guru Shikhar also gives you the ability to enjoy a visit to the historic temples and shrines.

The cold sweeping breeze in adjunct with the panoramic view of the natural scenery full of charm and dense distant forests fill in the visitors a throbbing thrill.

Nakki Lake, Mount Abu

Nakki Lake is the heart of Mount Abu and perfect for Romantic evening. The picture perfect location of the lake surrounded with mountains, gardens and rock formations also make it a very good location for photography. In the evening the setting sun makes the canvas. Situated within walking distance from the main market and most of Hotel’s and restaurent’s of Mount Abu, the hub of evening activity and boating, Nakki Lake is the perfect place to spend your evening with your partner, friends and family.

Nakki Lake is the mythological lake with a very interesting story behind its creation. The legend has it that this lake was dugg by Gods or Devtas using their nails or nakh that’s why the name Nakki Lake – few sections of local tribes also consider Nakki Lake as a holy lake and worship it. Nakki Lake is also the only Indian artificial lake situated at a height of 1200 Mtr’s above sea level.

The name Nakki is also derived from the romantic story of the aged sage Rasia Balam and the nubile teenager Kunvanri Kanya. The two lovelorn souls were prevented from tying their love in a nuptial knot, by the scheming parents and their conniving Gods. They had demanded that the sage could marry the teenager if he could dig up a lake for her with his nails over night. The sage was just about to accomplish the impossible feat when he was betrayed by all. It is said that the sage was the incarnation of Lord Shiva and the teenager was the embodiment of Ma Parvati. It is predicted that they would return again and then there would be upheaval in the universe.

Boating at Nakki Lake

Here is one fun activity in Mount Abu which is hard to miss. You can opt for a pedalo or boat or gondola which is like a shikara. For the couples, this boat ride is especially romantic since the boat passes by the beautiful scenery around. Remember for security reasons boat rides in Nakki Lake are done only during a favourable weather. Go for it and come back with lifetime pleasant memories. Cost of a pedalo is INR 100 per person for a 30 minute ride while you have to shell out INR 150 for boat or a shikara like boat per person for the same time.

Boating Timings: All days of the week 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Dilwara Jain Temple, Mount Abu

The Dilwara Jain Temples are open from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M. for tourists for free and No photography is allowed inside the temple complex.

These temples are open for Jain community from morning to evening for performing puja.

These famous Jain temples are situated at Delwara village about 2½ Km’s from the beautiful city of Mount Abu.

Dilwara Jain Temples is one of the finest Jain temples known world over for its extraordinary architecture and marvelous marble stone carvings. The design and accuracy of workmanship is unbelievable. Some experts also consider it architecturally superior to the Taj Mahal. It seems fairly basic temple from outside but every cloud has a silver lining, the temple interior showcases the extraordinary work of human craftsmanship at its best. These temples were built between 11th to 13th century AD, The beautiful lush green hills surrounding the temple gives a very pleasant feeling. The ornamental details of marble stone carvings are phenomenal and unmatched. The minutely carved ceilings and the pillars are just amazing. All this was done at a time when no transport or roads were available at a height of 1200+ Mtrs in Mount Abu; huge blocks of marble stones were transported on elephant backs from the Arasoori Hills at Ambaji to this remote hilly region of Mount Abu. Dilwara temples are also a popular Jain pilgrimage attraction.

Dilwara Temple complex consist of five major temples devoted to five Jain trithankaras(saints). All these shrines belong to different centuries. The first two are build wholly of white marble, they have got exuberant carvings and ornamentation work on the walls, doors, pillars, mandaps, torans, ceilings etc. The designs depict life stories of Jain Tirthankars, scenes of Gods & Goddesses and great men from Jain and Hindu Mythologies. There are many works that depict royal courts, marriage processions, dance figures and many other functinons. No design is repeated, this in itself is a proof of human ingenuity and creativity:

  1. Shri AdiNath Temple or Vimal Vasahi Temple –

This temple is build by Vimal Shah, Minister & Commander-in-chief of Bhima Dev I, Solanki ruler of Gujarat in 1031 A.D. Vimal Shah was remorseful and spent the rest of his life in religious discourse at Chandravati (near Abu road); inspired by Jain Acharaya, to wash-out his sins perpetrated in the battle fields, with the blessings of tutelary deity Ambika, constructed this temple. It took 1500 artisans and 1200 labourers and time span of 14 years to build this brilliant piece of architecture.

This temple is the oldest of all and dedicated to Shri Adinath Ji – The first jain trithankar, the temple has an open courtyard surrounded by corridors all beautifully decorated with marble carved stones. Cells inside this temple are containing tiny images of Jain saints artistically carved on marble stone minutely. The internal dome is aesthetically decorated with design’s of flowers and petals, the huge hall of the temple pillars decorated with the carving work of female figures playing musical instruments. The temple also has the “Guda Mandapa” – A simple hall decorated with the images of Shri Adi Nath.

The whole shrine covers an area of 140 ft. long and 90 ft. broad. As we enter the temple we get a glimpse of the grandeur of sculptured marble, exquisite carvings of ceilings, domes, pillars and arches of the temple which is beyond anyone’s expectations. It has a sanctum, a Gudha Mandap, Navchowki, Rang Mandap and a circumambulatory corridor having 57 cells. In each cell, image of one or the other Jain Tirthankar is installed. In front of every cell, double carved roofs are screened by double arcade of pillars. Cell numbers are marked and the name of the idol installed in it is also written.

One of the decedent of Vimal Shah named Prithvipal carried out constructions and repairs in 1147-49 A.D. and to commemorate the glory of his family erected a ‘Hasti-Shala’ in front of this temple.

As we walk along the corridor we enter the various cells. Each cell has an image of one or the other Tirthankar installed. All the images are unique in its creation.

Rang Mandap
A grand Hall supported by 12 decorated pillars and nicely carved out arches with a central dome in the most exquisite design. You can also see designs with heavy ornamentation work. On the pillars are placed the female figures playing musical instruments and 16 Vidhyadevis – the goddesses of knowledge – each one having her own symbol.

Navchowk
It comprises of the nine rectangular ceilings, each one containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on the ornate pillars.

Gudh Mandap
Inside the profusely decorated doorway is installed principal deity – Lord Rishabdev, also called Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar. Gudh-Mandap is simple, meant for obeisance and ‘Arti’ to the deity.

Hastishala (Elephant Cell)
This was constructed by Prithvipal, a decedant of Vimal Shah in 1147-49 A.D. In the front entrance statue of Vimal Shah originally carved in marble is seen, the statute was mutilated and was repaired by plaster. A Smavasaran, circular in shape, is also noteworthy.

2.  Shri NemiNathJi Temple or Luna Vasahi Temple –

This temple was built in 1230 A.D. by two brothers known as Tejpal and Vastupal, Ministers of Solanki Raja Bhindev II of Gujarat in memory of their late brother Luna. The Architect was Shobhandev. They dedicated this temple to the 22nd saint of Jainism – Shri Nemi Nathji. This temple is smaller than Vimal Vasahi but the ground plan and architecture is similar. This temple is far more in perfection and refinement. This temple has one hall named Rag Mandapa which has three hundred and sixty (360) tiny idols of Jain trithankar all minutely crafted on marble proving once again why these jain marble temples of Dilwara are superior to Taj Mahal, Among all these white marble idols the idol of Shri Neminath Ji is made up of black marble.The pillars of this temple were built by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar.

During the recent repairs of the 52 cells in the corridor four were newly built (23 – 26) and (27 – 30) were renovated. In front of every cell the ceiling is divided into two sections with double row of columns and in each cell image of one or the other Jain Tirthankar or Devi is installed.

Hathishala (Elephant cell) :- 10 beautiful marble elephants of fine worksmanship, neatly polished and realistically modelled etc are the main attraction of this cell.

Ragmandap :- This is the main hall, where in the centre of the dome hangs a big ornamental pendent of beautiful carving. Arranged in a circular band 72 figures of Tirthankaras in sitting posture and just below this band 360 small figures of Jain monks in circular band are depicted.

Navchowki :- The most magnificient and delicate marble stone cutting work can be seen here. Each of the nine ceilings exceed the other.

Gudha Mandap :- Black marble idol of 22nd Jain Tirthankara Neminath is installed here.

Kirthi Stambha :- A big black stone pillar ‘Kirthi Stambha’ stands on the left side of Tirthankar temple. It was constructed by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar.

Small cell :- There is a small cell, in between the trees, dedicated to the worship of foot-prints of ‘Dada Sahib’ Jain Acharaya Shri Jindutt Suri.

 

The remaining three temples are smaller, but, are as elegant as the above two.

  1. Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple –

This temple was constructed in 1582 and is devoted to Lord Mahaveer the 24th Tirthankara of Jain’s. This temple is relatively small. The temple’s upper walls have pictures of the porch painted by craftsmen of Sirohi in year 1764.

  1. Shri ParshavNath Temple or Khartar Vasahi Temple –

This temple was built by Mandika clan in1458-59 A.D. This temple has the tallest shrine with three storeyed along with four big Mandapa’s amongst all dilwara temples. The carving on the pillars of this temple is yet another example of Jain temples architectural superiority. This temple is dedicated to Lord Parswanath wherein in storey, in all the four sides, images of Parswanath are installed. The outer walls of the sanctum contains some beautiful and vibrant sculptures in grey sandstone, depicting Dikpals, double set of Vidhyadevis – one of standing figures and other sitting ones and a set of all the 24 Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures especially females comparable to the ones Khujrao, Konark etc.

  1. Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple –

This temple is known as Pittalhari/Peethalhar temple because in this temple most of the statues are built using ‘Pittal’ (Brass Metal). This temple was built by Bhima Shah; a minister from Gujarat dynasty, like other temples of Dilwara this temple is also having Gudu Mandapa and Navchowki. A massive metal statue with rich carving of its elaborate parikar of Rishabdev (Adinath), cast in five metals, mainly Pittal ( brass) is installed. The Shrine consists of main Garbhagraha, Gudh Mandap and Navchowki. In Gudh Mandap on one side, big marble stone Panch-Tirthi sculpture of Adinath is installed. The niches were constructed in 1474 A.D. while some cells were created in 1490 A.D.

 

Sanwalia Ji Temple, Mandaphia

As per the say, three idols of Lord Krishna were removed from the earth in year 1840 on the bases of dream of Shri Bholram Gujjar. All three idols were identical.

First idol was installed at First temple at Mandaphia, also known as Sanwalia Ji. Mandaphia is 7 km from Bhadsora cross-roads which lies on the four-lanned highway no. 76 and is 40 km from Chittorgarh & 65 km from Dabok Airport, Udaipur.

Mandaphia is the second abode of Lord Krishna (the first one being Nathdwara). This temple of Shri Krishna is considered second only to the temple of the Lord Shrinathji at Nathdwara.The sanctity and religious atmosphere of the place is augmented by the various festivals and ceremonies organized round the year by the Mandir Mandal or by the devotees from different parts of the country. Especially, on the 11th day of Bhadra- Shukla (Dev-Jhulni Ekaadashi), the Mandir Mandal organizes a mela (fair) and a rath processesion of the Lord in which lakhs of people participate with great religious fervor and Zeal.

The temple symbolises the unflinching faith and devotion of the Vaishnavite Hindus for the Supreme Being. Thousands of pilgrims from far and near, many of them on foot, throng daily to Mandaphia to have a darshan of their Lord. In the hope of receiving divine blessings, they pray devoutly and make secret propitiatory offerings at the sacred altar of Sanwaliaji.
Their experience in the shrine, before the fascinating idol of Krishna, is spiritually so enriching that they immediately feel inspired to renounce their worldly procession for the sake of eternal bliss. It is indeed a miracle that the Lord disappoints none of his devotees–whether he comes to Him for pure spiritual joy or for celestial succor for his survival or success in the material world.

The temple is open from 0530 hrs to 1200 hrs and then 1430 hrs to 2300 hrs daily. Special Arti and Darshan timings are:

Timings Arti/Darshan
05:30 hrs MANGLA  ARTI
10:00 hrs to 11:15 hrs RAJBHOG ARTI & PRASAD
12:00 hrs to 1430 hrs REST TIME (LORD SANWALIA JI) (Temple close)
From 14:30 hrs ARTI, FALAHAR PRASAD SERVED DARSHAN
20:00 hrs to 21:15 hrs EVENING ARTI
21:15 hrs to 23:00 hrs BHAJAN & KIRTAN

 

Second idol was installed at Second temple at Bhadsoda-Bagund Chouraha, also known as Murti Parakatya Sthal. It lies on the four-lanned highway no. 76 and is 32 km from Chittorgarh & 65 km from Dabok Airport, Udaipur.

Third idol was installed at Third temple at Bhadsoda village, also known as Bhadsoda Sanwalia Ji. It lies 1 km from Bhadsoda cross road Chouraha.

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the heart of Assam and is world famous for Indian Rhinos. The park has about two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses and also holds the record for protecting the highest density of tigers in the world. The population of Indian Rhinos is more than 2000 today. Kaziranga National Park is a substantial sized park, covering approximately 430 square kilometers. In particular, it stretches for 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length from east to west, and is 13 kilometers (8 miles) wide. Much of it consists of swamp and grasslands, making it the perfect habitat for the one-horned rhinoceros. These prehistoric looking creatures exist there, along with almost 40 major mammals. These include wild elephants, tiger, buffaloes, gaur, monkeys, deer, otters, badgers, leopards, and wild boar. The birdlife is also impressive. Thousands of migratory birds arrive at the park every year, from distant lands as far away as Siberia.

The main attraction at Kaziranga National Park is close look at Rhino, Swamp deer on Elephant Safari every morning. Jeep safari is another option for sightseeing. Kaziranga is open daily from 1st November to 30th April. The best time to visit is during late February and March, when the December and January peak season rush is over. The park gets extremely busy during the peak season, and it’s likely to negatively affect your experience there due to the large amount of people allowed in. A week long Kaziranga Elephant Festival takes place in February.

The main entrance to the park is located at Kohora on National Highway-37, where there’s a Tourist Complex and booking offices. Buses stop there on the way from Guwahati, Tezpur and Upper Assam. The park has four ranges — Central (Kazaringa), Western (Baguri), Eastern (Agoratuli), and Burhapahar. The most accessible and popular range is the Central one, at Kohora. The Western range, 25 minutes from Kohora, is the shortest circuit but has the highest density of rhinos. It’s recommended for seeing rhinos and buffaloes. The Eastern range is around 40 minutes from Kohora and offers the longest circuit. Birding is the highlight there.

Jeep and elephant safaris are possible in all ranges except Burhapahar, which offers jeep safaris only. Boat rides are offered at the north eastern point of the park. If you’re planning on going on an elephant safari, it’s best to do it in the Central range, as it’s government operated there. Book it the prior evening, from 6 p.m. at the Tourist Complex office near the range. Private elephant safari providers in the other ranges have been known to cut short the duration of the safaris during peak times and charge high rates. Try to avoid the first safaris of the morning in winter though, as fog and late sunrise hamper viewing.

Kaziranga Opening Hours: One hour elephant safaris are offered between 5.30 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. Elephant safaris are also possible in the afternoon, from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. The park is open for jeep safaris from 7.30 a.m until 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. until 4.30 p.m.

Entrance Fees and Charges: The fees payable comprises a number of elements — park entry fee, vehicle entry fee, jeep hire fee, elephant safari fee, camera fee, and fee for armed guard to accompany visitors on safaris. The entrance fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 250 rupees for foreigners. The jeep hire fee depends on which zone you wish to visit and the hotel you’re staying in. It ranges from 1,000 rupees for the Central range to around 2,000 rupees for Burhapahar, per jeep. Elephant safaris cost 280 rupees for Indians and 750 rupees for foreigners. The vehicle entry fee is around 200 rupees and the armed guard 50 rupees. If you’re taking a still camera inside the park, the fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 500 rupees for foreigners. For video cameras, it’s 500 rupees for Indians and 1,000 rupees for foreigners.

 How to reach: There are airports at Guwahati (239 km) (which has flights from all over India), Dibrugarh (245 km) and Jorhat (89 km) (best accessed from Kolkata). Then, it’s a six hour drive from Guwahati, four hours drive from Dibrugarh and two hour drive from Jorhat, in private taxi or public bus. The nearest railway stations are at Jakhalabandha, one hour away (trains run there from Guwahati). Buses stop at the park entrance on the way from Guwahati, Tezpur and Upper Assam.