We caught a train from Ajmer for Abu Road that is on the way to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. As it is around 350 kilometres away it takes about five hours. From Abu Road one has to take a cab to go 28 kilometres uphill to get to Mount Abu. The place is around 4000 ft in elevation located as it is on Aravali Hills. With a visit to Mount Abu we registered visits to most of the hill stations in the country
The only hill station in the state of Rajasthan, Mount Abu once hosted the Indian Police Academy. The Academy was later shifted to Hyderabad, perhaps, for the reasons of inadequacy of space and proper facilities. Police Service officers of our class of 1961, however, had to proceed to Mount Abu from Mussourie for professional training as the Academy was then yet to be shifted.
If one asks the pundits they would speak of how Mount Abu was mentioned in Hindu ancient texts. But that was in the hoary past. In more recent times it was a Chauhan Kingdom that was later conquered by Parmars in the early parts of the last millennium. That it is a place of history cannot in any way be denied because of the numerous old Hindu temples on several hills surrounding the place. Most of the Hindu temples are locally famous. There are some Jain temples as well but the best known one is Dilwara temple It is known the world over for its intricate workmanship on marble.
Abu, too, has a lake that is steeped in Hindu religious lore. It is not a big lake by any standard as it is half a mile long and a quartet mile wide. But it is the most visited site by the tourists. While there is a garishly painted boat-like structure that offers Rajasthani snacks, there are marine vehicles available for boating. At some places from the shore the lake offers picturesque views. None can really deny the beauty of a place where a water body and green hills happen to colide.
As we walked away from the lake we came across Madhuban of the organization of Brahmakumaris. A magnificent structure in the midst of nature it is excellently maintained. It has a huge hall known as the Om Shanti Bhawan that seats 3000 people. The place exudes efficiency as the gardens and the hall and other attached areas were excellently maintained. In one areae some exquisite life-size effigies of Radha and Ktishna are kept in protective glazed almirahs. It is a very impressive outfit managing conferences and participants’ boarding and lodging.
Incidentally, Brahmakumaris is an international NGO aiming at transformation of human outlook from material into spiritual. The organization is headed by women but all decisions in running it are said to be taken in consultation with their male associates. The organization was established in 1937 by Prajapita Brahma Baba.
With great hopes of seeing top class work on marble we took a taxi and went towards Dilwara Temple. We had heard so much about it and had also seen its photographs depicting the fine work on the temple walls, on pillars and on the ceiling. But, unfortunately the most beautiful example of work on marble was closed for repairs. We had to satisfy ourselves with one of the other five temples of the Dilwara group. It was nothing much in comparison to the the Vimal Vasahi temple photographs of which we had seen. Nonetheless, the carvings on marble are mindboggling considering that the temples were erected between 11th and 14th Centuries. To use primitive tools to carve so beautifully so far out in the past is something which is remarkable.
We had to come away disappointed but we took a few shots of the spires of the temples. The satisfying part was refreshments available on the premises were delightful.