The Mythical History of Mount Abu
The lush green hill station in the Sirohi district of Rajasthan is an oasis among the heated desert land. This forested hilly area is a part of the Aravalli Range and is located in the Western part of India, along the border of Gujarat. Mount Abu is extremely popular among tourists, due to its soothing climate and scenic beauty. Along with this, Mount Abu has been an eye witness of a very rich historical past.
Ancient MythsMount Abu in the ancient times was a part of “Arbudaanchal” and was the abode of many saints. This mountain was considered to be a holy in the ancient times and as per legend’s saying all the 330 million Hindu Gods and Goddess have visited the Abu Mountain. The mountain was mostly a densely forested area with sage Vashishth residing the place. It is believed that Saint Vashishth performed a sacred “Yagna” to create four Rajput clans of fire named as Agnikula. This Yagna happened beside a natural spring, which came out of a rock with the shape of cow’s head.
There are many other myths relating to the birth of this place. One belief is that Vashishth’s pet cow Nandini once got trapped inside a deep gorge and was helped by Lord Shiva, who sent Saraswati to flow through the gorge. Saraswati flowed like a river and helped Nandini to float up and find her way to safety. To avoid such a trouble in future, Vashishth asked the youngest son of Mighty Himalaya to fill up the gorge. It is believed that the canyon was closed by the Lord with the help of mighty snake, Arbud. With age this place came to be known as Mount Arbud, which later on was renamed as Mount Abu.
With the birth of the four Agnikula Rajput clans, the mountain range got very unstable and led to frequent violent tremors. Lord Shiva helped the place by putting his big toe on the sacred Achalgarh. Thus the peak of Mount Abu came to be known as Guru Shikhar. Sage Vashishth’s ashram known as Gaumukh, is a popular place for the devotees to pay visit.
There are many other legends related to this historical mountain. One of the legends tells of a very old but powerful sadhu named Balam Rashiya, who wanted to marry a beautiful teenager of this region. Her parents were against this marriage and asked the sage to dig up a lake with his fingernails before the next day sun rise. Although elderly, the sage had a strong will and was almost on the verge of completing the digging, when Gods helped to save the teenager from this marriage. They imitated a cock and preponed the day break time. In this divine process Lake Nakki was formed.
Historical RulersAs per historical evidences Mount Abu region had not been ruled by any ruler outside the region. This is due to the difficult terrain with dense forest, which made conquests impossible. There is a dearth of actual historical information about Mount Abu. Local people are more believers of the various myths of the region. The earliest known clan of the region are the Nagas and the Bhillas. The first ever ruler was the Dhumraja in 916AD, who was also known as Parmer, meaning the enemy slayer. Then came the Solankis, who were the master architects. Their architecture was world renowned, example of which is the famous old Delwara Temple of Gujarat.
The Solankis were fierce warriors and conquered the whole of Rajasthan. With time, King Bimal Shah was filled with remorse and built the architecturally rich Dilwara Temple, to make his life better from his wilful sin. Tejpal and Vastupal, the best architects of the time helped the king to build the new temple. The Parmers were still residing in the region with glory given by the Solankis. All their glory was washed away in 1311, by Rao Lumba of Deora-Chauhan dynasty. They continued to rule for more than a century and shifted the capital several times from Chandravati to Sirohi. Rao Shashmal of the Deora dynasty continued to rule the region till 1405.
Mount Abu and a major portion of Rajasthan and Gujarat are believed to be at the epitome of glory under the rule of the Gurjars. The whole region is renowned as the “Gurjarabhumi” for centuries prior to the Mughal rule.
Mughal and British RuleAt the time of Akbar’s rule, Mount Abu along with the entire Rajasthan, came under the Mughal empire. During Mughal era, Mount Abu lost its importance and remained a small hilly region. It was with the fall of Mughal era and rise of the British Empire that the region grown its importance. The state of Rajasthan was under the Rajputana rule, which allied with the British and ruled peacefully. Colonel Todd rediscovered the hill station and made Mount Abu the summer capital of the Rajputana state. With time, Mount Abu gained importance among the Rajput rulers, who made gorgeous palaces and “Vakalat House” in the region.
The British with time had made many convent schools and paramilitary cantonment in the region. One road connecting Mount Abu with the plains was the Abu Road (also known as Kharadi), which gained importance after the Second World War. This was the time when the British rule was on the verge of ending and India was about to gain its freedom. The Indian Constitution was formed in 1947, with tourism industry gaining importance across India. Mount Abu became a popular tourist spot, welcoming people across India to enjoy the amazing cool weather amidst the heat of Rajasthan.