Mount Abu was once a haven for the occupying British, who preferred to head to this remote hill station to escape the scorching heat of summer on the lower plains. Even the Maharajahs built summer palaces here! It's altitude ensures that year-round temperatures are significantly lower than the average – and that the landscape is much more luscious and green than in the rest of the State. At the height of winter Mount Abu is one of the only places in Rajasthan where you might actually see snow, making the winter festival an entirely different experience to the one held in summer.
The resulting flora and fauna (including many obscure varieties of orchids) and the crystal-clear Lake Nakki provides a refreshing change from the desert environment and Mount Abu has become a leading destination both for trekking and adventure activities. It's definitely a place for relaxing and enjoying nature, although this means that it is not generally on your itinerary if you are taking a whistle-stop tour of Rajasthan.
More from Mount Abu
Mount Abu and the BritsThe British used Mount Abu as a summer retreat during the time of the British Raj and there is still some evidence of their stay in the style of architecture such as Bikaner House, designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in 1893. It was converted to a hotel in 1963 and has not really been updated since then. Many of the remaining examples of British influenced architecture are not outstanding and there is virtually no other evidence of the occupation. A couple of local temples are cut from the stone and can be reached by climbing step stair cases but the only reason to do so is the views of the mountain from the higher vantage points. Other than that there is little to recommend Mount Abu in terms of architecture, the main reason to visit being the landscape.
Mount Abu-on-seaMount Abu has a very different landscape than most of Rajasthan, eucalyptus trees and giant boulders along with waterfalls and the odd fruitbat flying by and the terrain is perfect for escaping and enjoying nature. However, the town itself and the area around Lake Nakki are extremely touristy and offer the kind of thing you would normally expect at a British seaside resort. With candy floss, glowing neon lights, Mr Whippy style ice cream and comical hats, if they had donkey rides it wouldn't seem out of place and the Mawari horses offered for rides carry a certain air of donkey-like misery. Extremely popular with domestic tourists, commercialism is king and the result is somewhat tacky. The fruitbats flying around Lake Nakki at sunset are an amazing sight although the plastic swan peddaloes and noise akin to a fun fair can spoil the experience. The overall effect can be quite jarring against the natural beauty surrounding it.