It seems that the only thing missing in Rajasthan is the sea. I mean, Mother Nature has given it just about everything - beaches (er, I mean the sandy desert), lush green forests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and even a hill-station, Mount Abu Rajasthan. We checked into the hotel after a lovely one-hour drive up from Abu Road at the base of the hills. After a light lunch, we went to see one of the most popular places to visit in Mount Abu India. the Dilwara Jain Temples.
We had heard a lot about these profusely carved marble temples, but no words can describe the breathtaking beauty of the Dilwara temples, which have been carved with such delicate intricacy that the effect is not of marble but of frilly paper cuttings. At places, the marble has been so finely shaved that it is actually translucent!
The worksmanship is much, much superior than the more famous Taj Mahal or any other monument in India... or for that matter the world. The only other place which comes close to it is Ranakpur.
The MBA in me could not help asking about the Motivation Factor behind it. It is said that this astonishing delicacy of carving was achieved by offering the artisans the weight of their marble shavings in gold... the more finely they carved, the more they earned. Wow!
Back in Mt. Abu, we watched the sun set spectacularly between two rocky peaks as we worked up an appetite paddling our boat in the Nakki Lake.
In the morning we visited the various centres of spiritual learning that dot Mt. Abu and the Achalgarh Fort with its superb view of the surrounding plains. We felt like taking it easy for the day and skipped going to Guru Shikhar, the highest point in Rajasthan and the nearby wildlife reserve with its sloth bears.
Instead, we took a leisurely walk around the pretty Nakki Lake with its charming English countryside cottages (built by the British to escape from Rajasthan's hot, dusty plains in summers) and the inevitable pleasure palaces of various Maharajas.
In the evening we went to Sunset Point, with its lovely view of the surrounding hills