Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mount Abu ~India Travels

During our Rajasthani travels we decided to get away from the Rajasthani desert heat and took a trip to Mount Abu which is a hill station in western India’s Rajasthan state. 

Mount Abu is situated high up in the Aravalli Range and is surrounded by forest. The hill station is a popular place for people to visit to get away from the heat and enjoy some cooler weather.

The car journey up to the hill station is along windy mountain roads surrounded by mountains and greenery. There is an abundance of monkeys on the road sides ready to pounce on the cars shroud you offer any fruits,especially bananas.

There are many tourist spots to visit in Mount Abu, you can find lakes, picnic areas, temples and hill tops where you can enjoy spectacular views. The top ten tourist spots that are highly recommended to visit are:

Dilwara Temple 
This is a jain temple which was built by Vastupal Tejpal between 11th and 13th century. The temple intricately carved in Marble and you will be totally mesmerised by the amazing architecture. 

Nakki Lake
Nakki Lake is a manmade lake also known as, Nakki Jheel.  The lake is Located in the centre of the hill station, and it is surrounded by   greenery, mountains and strangely shaped rocks.  The lake has picnic acres, boating and is surround with many shops and eateries.

Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across a distance of 288 km, the sanctuary crosses numerous mountain highs from 300 m to 1722 m at Gurashikhar which is considered to be the highest peak in the Aravali ranges. The sanctuary is the perfect place for trekking, seeing all kinds of flora and Faunaand igneous rocks with large cavities resulting from the weathering effects of water and wind. 

Guru Shikar
This is the highest peak of the Aravalli Range and lies about 15 kilometres from Mount Abu. The height of the peak is 1722 meters from sea level and if you do get a chance to climb there you will get some breath taking views of the surroundings. At the peak you will also find the Mt. Abu Observatory and a cave temple of Guru Dattatreya which worships Lord Vishnu. 

Shri Ragunath Temple
Shri Raghunath Ji temple is  a 650-year-old temple set on the shores of Nakki Lake, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.  The temple has beautiful Mewar architecture and carvings on the walls and ceilings. The temple is calm and serene and many followers of Lord Vishnu come daily to offer prayers.

Sunset Point
Sunset Point is an iconic point that is very famous tourist destination of Mount Abu. Here you can come and watch the beautiful sunset setting in the Aravali Ranges. It can be reached by car and then a short distance walk. 

For those unable to walk there are vendors who offer horse rides and trolley rides. The trolley rides are carts that you sit in and they are pulled uphill by the vendors. This is heartbreaking to watch as it takes a lot of strength, hard work and stamina to carry out this work. Some of the vendors were really old and do this daily for a living.

Around the roads reading up to sunset point there are street vendors selling lovely masala chai, roasted and boiled sweet corn and other street foods.

Arbuda Devi Temple
Arbuda Devi Temple is considered the most sacred pilgrim point of Rajasthan and dedicated to the goddess Durga.It can be come reached by climbing 365 stairs to symbolise each day of the year are cut into the mountain. There is a Dhoodh Baori,a sacred well with milk coloured water near the temple, worshippers believe that the waters is holy.   The temple is constructed out of one huge solid piece of rock and the inner sanctum is reaching by crawling a narrow cave.

Toad Rock
This rock is known as The mascot of Mount Abu. Toad Rock is one of the most frequented point in the itinerary of all visitors. To see the panoramic beauty of the surrounding lake and greenish hilly regions you can climb up the rock and capture the breath-taking scenery.

Mount Abu Bazaars
There are numerous shopping markets in Mount Abu. You can find traditional Rajasthani handicrafts such as Kota sarees, bangles, linen with Sanganeri print, Jaipuri quilts, and products made of marble, sandstone and sandalwood. 

You can also find Rajasthani crafts, paintings, leather goods along with a few Gujarati artworks and local paintings. Costume jewellery, shoes and ethnic clothes stalls line the bazaars.

There are many hotels and guest houses in Mount Abu that offer accommodation in all price ranges. If you want to visit all the above places you will require a minimum of 3 days. We were only in mount Abu for an overnight stay so were only able to visit Nakki, Lake  and the Sunset Point and the bazaars. The destination is perfect for a weekend break if you just want to relax with family and get away from the scorching India heat.

You may like to read about the other places I visited in my India travel series:

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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Simply Hike - My Wish List

Over the last few years the type of holidays we take as a family have changed drastically. With the kids grown up, we like to spend time outdoors, especially walking, skiing, cycling and activity holidays.These type of holidays are great for family bonding and good for the health too.

Weather in the UK is not always predictable so wrapping up well and having the appropriate type of gear, clothing, shoes and equipment that is correct for all weather conditions makes the holiday more enjoyable and safe too. There is nothing worse than going out in fashionable clothing and uncomfortable shoes to ruin a holiday.

If you are planning an outdoor holiday and need ideas for the type of equipment, clothing, shoes and accessories you may need, head over to the simply hike website who have every thing you will require for the whole family. Our plans for next year are a camping trip and a skiing trip so currently I am collating a list of  clothing and equipment we may need.

My top ten items that I would like to add to my shopping list this year from Simply Hike are:

Goldbergh Womens Paige Pant - White

The Womens Paige Pant from Goldbergh has a soft, stretchy fabric and are totally waterproof and comfortable to wear whilst skiing.

Roxy Womens Frost Printed Fleece - Water of Love

This women's fleece jacket is really warm with an inner fleece lining. It coordinates really well with the above ski pants.

Anon Womens WM1 Ski Goggle with Spare Lens - Watercolour Sonar Pink
These lenses have the Zeiss Sonar lenses and have 2 sets of inter changeable lenses. The goggles can also be worn over spectacles making them perfect for all conditions.Wearing eye protection in the snow is very important as the UV is very high during the day.There are many different designs available for men and women in the ski goggles range.

Jack Wolfskin Womens Park Avenue Jacket - Dark Sky 

This jacket offers total protection from the rain, its warm, comfortable and ideal for outdoor wear.

Didriksons Mens Drew Parka - Peat

This men's jacket is completely waterproof and windproof and it is well insulated to keep you warm and dry in all weather conditions.

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry Rucksack - Dark Zinc

This rucksack is totally waterproof . It has padded shoulder straps and a HardWave suspension that shapes to your back making it easier to care a load without getting backache.

Salomon Womens X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Walking Boot - Crown Blue Sunny

These boots are waterproof breathable boot with a strong grip. It has  a shock-absorbent EVA footbed and a cushioning Ortholite® sockliner,  providing comfortable wear in all terrains.

SmartWool Womens Hiking Medium Crew Sock - Dark Cassis

This Smartwool sock gives excellent comfort,support and breathability and are designed to reduce shock and abrasion and cradle your foot.

Stance Mens Spiderman Comic Socks 

These fun and colourful socks have a soft texture, supportive structure and extra comfy cushioning in the toe and heel so that they are comfortable to wear.

Meindl Mens Bhutan MFS Hiking Boot - Dark Brown

The shoes have ventilation and a gor tex layer that ensures the feet stay dry and the inner memory foam inside the boot  keeps the feet warm. 

There are many different ranges and choices of clothing, equipment, shoes and accessories available on the simply hike website for the whole family. Its a one stop shop to get everyone kitted up.

I am really excited to prepare and plan our first camping trip next year. If like me you have everything you need for a hike, you might consider a walking holiday in Austria. I would love to get some tips from all you lovely readers as to what I should add to my list. Please do share your tips in the comments below.

**This post is in collaboration with Simply Hike.