Abu, Mt.

Any spot of serenity and natural beauty can be made into either a place of picnic or pilgrimage. The choice depends upon the temperament. To the Hindu mind such spots reflect God’s beauty and offer a congenial atmosphere for contemplation upon Him. One of such spots that nature has been bountiful in bestowing upon India is Mount Abu situated in southern Rajasthan and at a distance of 170 kms., (110 miles) from city of Ahmedabad. It is part of the Arāvalī range of mountains. The summit called Guruśikhara rises to a height of 1700 metres (5610 ft.) above the mean sea level. Referred to as Arbuda in the Mahābhārata, it is extolled as a tīrthakṣetra (a place of pilgrimage) on account of its association with the great sage Vasiṣṭha whose āśrama or hermitage was situated here. This is also supposed to be the place of origin of the Agnikula-kṣattriyas of Rajasthan like the Cauvhāns, Solaṅkis and Parmārs. Among the Hindu religious sites, the chief one is the Guru-śikhara itself, containing in a cavern the ‘footprints’ of an ancient sage. The Acaleśvara temple campus has a cleft in the rock containing ‘Śiva’s toenail.’ The same campus contains a shrine for Arbuda Mātā, the consort of Śiva and the Mother-goddess of the hill. There are also shrines for the sages Vasiṣṭha and Gautama at Gomukha. The temples at Devāṅgaṇa are dedicated to Viṣṇu and Narasiṁha. Mount Abu is also famous for its Jain temples built in marble by the merchant prince Vimalśā (A. D. 1032) and the brothers Tejpāl and Vastupāl (A. D. 1197—1247). These temples are dedicated to Ṛṣabha-deva and Pārśvanātha, the 1st and the 23rd Tīrthaṅkaras.

Jain Temple at Mt. Abu
Jain Temple at Mt. Abu