RAJASTHAN’S ONLY hill station, Mount Abu has one of India’s most spectacular sights – the Dilwara Jain Temples. This group of five marble temples is situated on a hill 3 km (2 miles) northeast of the town. The two most outstanding are the Vimala Vasaln Temple and the Luna Vasaln Temple which have incredibly intricate and delicate carvings. The sculptural details on the various doorways, archways, pillars, niches and ceilings of both these temples are simply breathtaking, the marble worked so finely that in places it is almost translucent.

 The vimala Vasahi Temple, dedicated to Neminath, the 22nd Bain tirthankara, dates to 1231 and is even more ornately carved. Its most glorious feature, the main hall, has a magnificent lotus-shaped, tiered pendant carved from a single block of marble, descending from its domed ceiling. Behind the main shrine is the fascinating Hall of Donors, with a series of figures mounted on elephants, some in black marble. There are also life-size statues of the donors and their wives, with every detail of their dress and jewellery exquisitely and painstakingly caived . The focal point of Mount Abu town is Nakki Lake, ringed by colonial mansions dating to the late 19th century, and the summer palaces of Ftajput rulers. The curiously shaped Toad’s Rock overlooks the lake, and Sunset Point, southwest of the lake, offers some spectacular views from a stone terrace. About 4 kin (2.5 miles) below Mount Abu, just off the main highway leading to the town, is the historic Gaumulch (“Cow’s Mouth”) Temple with a natural spring flowing from the mouth of a marble cow.

ENVIRONS: Achalgarh, 8 km (5 miles) beyond Dilwara, has the ruins of a 15th-century fort, and a Shiva temple. The latter has a statue of Nandi made with over 4,000 kg (8,819 labs ) of gold, silver, brass and copper. A five-minute walk from the temple is Guru Slnkhar, Rajasthan’s highest point at 1,721 in (5,646 ft). It is marked by a small Vishnu temple.

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