Abu - High Times - Travel with
Traveller: Daniel Rayner,
Mount Abu was an
impromptu plan so we left without a reserved ticket from Bandra Terminus.
Like they say, the best plans are the ones that work out but not always
how they ought to, this holiday was sure one of them.
Even if you were to land
up at the station without a ticket, a light conversation with the TTE will
leave your wallet lighter and the paper stub you need to start your
voyage. Seating in the sleeper compartment and if your personal skills are
up to mark, people will surely 'adjustí for you. Its 12 hours so be
Once you reach Abu Road, your tryst with Abu begins. Youíre
accosted by various agents and donít settle for a dime over 300 for the
trip to Abu for a single vehicle. 250 and you can pat your back. The road
going to Mount Abu is worthy of an amusement park ride with its
twists and turns and can make even the hardened travellerís tummy wriggle. Personally, a lozenge
in the mouth conquers this adventure.
You may chance upon a rabbit or bear on the road if your lucky, a baboonís
red posterior if not. Keep an eye out for the giant reflective mirrors
once you cross the check naka, their space age look gives you this surreal
Need for Speed feeling.
In Mount Abu
Hotels are dime
a dozen and you canít walk ten feet with out observing one.
For those looking for an economical trip, guest houses are a plenty.
We stayed at Hotel Aravali and paid 400 a day which was decent.
Their manicured lawn and bridge
over a troubled pond of lotus leaves makes a nice view in the morning
while the wooden swings reek of tranquillity. If you donít mind
shelling out a lilí more the Ajanta and Ellora rooms at Hotel
Hiltone are worth every dime. The unmistakable texture of natural
rock greets your eye as soon as you turn the key. Both these rooms
have rock faces behind the beds and lo behold..a waterfall, perfect
to greet that hangover in the morning.
Attractions of Mt. Abu
In due course, you
encounter the standard attractions of Abu like Nakki Lake and Dilawara
Temple. Both are worth a look...but the real fun lies in your possible
interaction with nature.
Head to St. Maryís
school if you can and see if you can join them on their regular walk
to Plummi and maybe even Saajan Plummi (hills)
and other points.
Both these treks are worth the view and the vast expanse of hills and
valley interjected by lowlands will make you reminisce of Braveheart and
the Scottish highlands, truly a sight to remember. The walk can be
dangerous because of animals and if youíre unfamiliar with the path up.
However, an early morning hike in the company of the kids is tonic indeed.
Even if the lactic acid filled thighs and bulging pot belly slows you down
the view from halfway up Plummi could lay claim to the origin of the
phrase ía picture is worth a thousand wordsí.
In Mt. Abu
spotted frequently so save all bravado for your neighbourhood bhajjiwala.
Avoid after dark hikes and run uphill if a bears chases you, consider
yourself lucky if you escape or even see one. Although many animals are
protected, rabbits run amok and make delicious meat.
Recipe: A car for a
journey to Gurushikar (will come to it later), high beam headlights to
stun rabbits, low beam NOT to annoy other drivers and the ability to knock
them over and cook raw meat properly. Donít engage in the above if you
lack the last ingredient...
The ride to Guru Shikar is around 22 kms but is a gorgeous one...a
strong beer and a passenger seat is the perfect high, please refrain from
drunk driving though. A police office station near the top by the name of
Sharmaji will rile you with a sermon if he sees your poison but nothing a
few Gandhis canít handle. You can see Kargil and into Pakistan from the
Although most hills are safe, do not get out of your vehicle if you
see an unmanned roadblock as some hills are notorious for tribal dacoits
who jump you once you vacate your car. Turn back immediately if you chance
on one. They are often said to be the Botas but locals claim they are
tribals from the plains.
Pigeon Hunting was a favourite and again local favour is a must. In
the rarity you know someone, ask their house help if they are accustomed
to the past time. Good luck though.
The food in Abu is decent and if your stuck at 12 with a hungry belly head
to the market and look for the and a guy. His masala half fry is heaven on
earth and I pray he sets up shop in Bombay...stay away from
pizzas. Sample the local cuisine and seek some Rajasthani non veg
preparation from a local / authentic restaurant. Its spicy and just what
the doctor ordered.
A word of advice - donít visit on weekends as the crowds can cramp
you and the traffic jams will remind you of Mahim causeway. The monsoons
make the place come alive but its still green in summer.
Abu can be a crazy trip if you manage to combine the offbeat with the de
rigueur so donít be shy, its time to embrace the wild
Contributing Traveller: Daniel Rayner,
a free soul with the winds of
travel ruffling his hair and a shadow at his feet. A communication
graduate with a passion to pen. firstname.lastname@example.org
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