Mount Abu Road Photo Essay
Mount Abu, the lone hill station in the desert State of Rajasthan, made headlines this week when it recorded the highest-ever rainfall on a single day. Torrential rain has been wreaking havoc in south-western parts of the State, leading to floods and devastation. The popular hill spot was cut off, and about 1,500 tourists, mostly from Gujarat, were stranded for several days.
Mount Abu is situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level on a rocky plateau of the Aravalli Hills, in Sirohi district, bordering Gujarat. Often referred to as an ‘oasis in the desert,’ the route to Mount Abu passes through the Abu Road town on the plains, from where the hill station is 28 km away. After continuous rain for several days, the hill town received an unprecedented 770 mm of rain on July 24, inundating low-level areas between the hills and creating panic among locals. Streams of water flowed with a ferocity not seen before, as roads were submerged and people were forced to remain indoors.
Does it get heavy rainfall?
During five days since Sunday, Mount Abu received a whopping 2,116 mm rainfall, breaking all previous records. According to the meteorological department’s data for 1901-2000, the average annual rainfall at the hill station is 1,554.2 mm. The average rain during the monsoon months of July and August every year has been registered at 573.2 mm and 600.3 mm, respectively. Amid the heavy rain, life was thrown out of gear and the supply of essential items was hit because of floods at adjoining places such as Pali, Jalore and other parts of Sirohi district. Telephone, cellular phone and Internet services went down, while the prices of commodities of daily use shot up.
How did it impact the town?
Two anicuts on the outskirts of Mount Abu and the famous Nakki Lake situated at the centre of the town were overflowing with rainwater. While markets and offices remained shut for most part of the week, all schools and colleges were closed as a precautionary measure. Medical staff at the local government hospital were asked to cancel leave, as there was a fear of outbreak of diseases after the water receded.
Heavy rain sent boulders hurtling down on the Abu Road-Mount Abu road, 6 km from the entry toll booth. As a result, Mount Abu’s contact with the rest of the district was cut off. The road was cleared on Thursday with the help of excavators and stone crackers. Over the weekend, vehicles were moving at a snail’s pace at the site of the landslide. Heavy vehicles were asked to stay away as a major crack had developed on the road. The administration has asked travellers to exercise caution in view of the possibility of rocks falling from a height.
Why does it need protection?
Mount Abu is a popular destination, especially among tourists from Gujarat. More than 30 lakh domestic and international tourists visit the hill station every year. The highest peak is Guru Shikhar, situated 5,650 feet above the sea level. The oldest mountain ranges of Aravalli are home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. The forests of Mount Abu were declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1980, covering 290 sq. km of the mountain. It has rich flora and fauna.
It has sub-tropical thorn forests in the foothills and sub-tropical evergreen forests along the water courses and valleys at higher altitudes. A variety of rare and endangered species of animals are found here, and the leopard is the apex predator. As environmentalists describe the unusually high rainfall in Mount Abu as a fallout of global warming, the popular hill station will need to protect its rich vegetation of coniferous trees and flowering shrubs in order to maintain its cool climate.
Mount Abu ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a popular hill station in the Aravalli Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan state in western India, near the border with Gujarat. The mountain forms a distinct rocky plateau 22 km long by 9 km wide. The highest peak on the mountain is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 m (5,650 ft) above sea level. It is referred to as 'an oasis in the desert' as its heights are home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. The nearest train station is Abu Road railway station: 28 km away.
The ancient name of Mount Abu is Arbudaanchal. In the Puranas, the region has been referred to as Arbudaranya ("forest of Arbhuda") and 'Abu' is a diminutive of this ancient name. It is believed that sage Vashistha retired to the southern spur at Mount Abu following his differences with sage Vishvamitra. There is another mythology according to which a serpent named "Arbuda" saved the life of Nandi (Lord Shiva's bull). The incident happened on the mountain that is currently known as Mount Abu and so the mountain is named "Arbudaranya" after that incident which gradually became Abu.
The conquest of Mount Abu in 1311 CE by Rao Lumba of Deora-Chauhan dynasty brought to an end the reign of the Parmars and marked the decline of Mount Abu. He shifted the capital city to Chandravati in the plains. After the destruction of Chandravati in 1405, Rao Shasmal made Sirohi his headquarters. Later it was leased by the British government from the then Maharaja of Sirohi for use as the headquarters.
Mount Abu and Gurjars
The Arbuda Mountains (Abu Parvat ' Mount Abu) region is said to be original abode of the famous Gurjars. The association of the Gurjars with the mountain is noticed in many inscriptions and epigraphs including Tilakamanjari of Dhanpala. These Gurjars (Gujars or Gujjars) migrated from the Arbuda mountain region. As early as sixth century CE, they set up one or more principalities in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Almost all or a larger part of Rajasthan and Gujarat had been known as Gurjaratra (country ruled or protected by the Gurjars) or Gurjarabhumi (land of the Gurjars) for centuries before the Mughal period.
Mount Abu and Rajputs
According to a legend, sage Vashistha performed a great yajna at the peak of Mount Abu, to seek from the gods a provision for the defense of righteousness on earth. In answer to his prayer, a youth arose from the Agnikunda (fire-altar) — the first Agnivansha Rajput..Achagarh Fort is one of more attracting place which was built by Parmar Rajput kings..dilwara temple built by mahipala Soalanki (Chalukyu).
Mount Abu town, the only hill station in Rajasthan, is at an elevation of 1,220 m (4,003 ft). It has been a popular retreat from the heat of Rajasthan and neighbouring Gujarat for centuries. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1960 and covers 290 km² of the mountain.
The mountain is home to several Hindu temples, including the Adhar Devi Temple (also known as Arbuda Devi Temple), carved out of solid rock; the Shri Raghunathji Temple; and a shrine and temple to Dattatreya built atop the Guru Shikhar peak and a number of Jain temples including Dilwara Temples, a complex of temples carved of white marble built between the 11th and 13th centuries CE. The oldest of these is the Vimal Vasahi temple, built in 1021 CE by Vimal Shah and dedicated to the first of the Jain Tirthankaras. They include the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple (1412) and the Kantinath Temple (1513). It is the location of the headquarters of the Brahma Kumaris.
The Achalgarh Fort, built in the 14th century by Kumbha of Mewar, is nearby and at its center is the popular visitor attraction of the Nakki Lake. The Toad Rock is on a hill near the lake. Close to the fort is the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple, a popular Shiva temple.
The Durga Ambika Mata Temple lies in a cleft of rock in Jagat, just outside Mount Abu town.
In Mount Abu, the faith community of Brahma Kumaris has its spiritual headquarters, which are represented by its own account in 110 countries. Every year about 2.5 million visitors are supposed to visit the sprawling campus of that spiritual movement.
While there are hundreds of hotels for tourists, some Dharamshalas can be found for as low as Rs.700 per night. Raghunath Dharamshala at the bank of Nakki Lake is one of those in a spiritual environment.
In summer thousands of people come here. To reach Mount Abu, the nearest approach by road is from Abu Road which is 27 km.
The setting sun scene on Mt Abu is famous among tourist; it was depicted in the movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.
Summer prevails from mid-April to mid-June, when the average maximum temperature remains around 36 °C. It is suited for light cotton clothes.
Due to its relief and geographical conditions, it rains in Mount Abu during the monsoons. During the rainy season the temperature falls. Normal summer clothing works. It is wise to carry an umbrella to avoid being caught in the rain.
Winters are cool in Mount Abu, with mercury hovering around 16 °C to 22 °C. Nights are chilly, and the average night temperature is around 4 to 12 °C. The temperature has dipped to as low as −2 to −3 °C. Heavy winter clothing is preferable. In daytime, light pullovers are sufficient.
|Climate data for Mount Abu|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||4.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||5.3|
According to the 2011 Census of India, Mount Abu has a population of 22,943 out of which 54.7% are males and 45.3% are females. It has an average literacy rate of 81.15%, higher than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy is 90.12%, and female literacy is 70.23%. In Mount Abu, 12.34% of the population is under 6 years of age.
89.31% of people are Hindus, 7.69% are Muslims while 1.45% are Christians.
Parshvanatha Temple at Dilwara group of temples
Brahma Kumari foundation headquarters at Mount Abu
Turtle shaped rock near the Nakki Lake.
Toad rock on a hill near the Nakki Lake.
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