The highest peak of the Aravali Mountains, Mt. Abu forms a distinct rocky plateau 22 kilometres long and 9 kilometres wide and is often referred to as an oasis in the desert. A scenic wonderland, Mt. Abu has rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests at its height. It also has the distinction of being the only notable hill station in western India.
Mt. Abu (or Arbudaanchal as it was known in ancient times) plays host to Rajasthan’s annual Summer Festival, held on Budh Poornima; a full moon night generally in the 5th or 6th month of the lunar calendar which was decided as the birthday of Buddha.
The Summer Festival is being held between the 15th and 17th of May in 2011. Over these three days, Mt. Abu will be hustling and bustling with cultural activities, sports and general fanfare. It is essentially one of the ideal times to witness both folk and classical music from Rajasthan as well as to gain an insight into tribal life and culture in Rajasthan.
The festival is inaugurated at Hotel Shikar and a ceremonial procession is carried out, ending at Nakki Lake Chowk. What follows is an extensive performance of folk music and dance like ballads, Gair, Ghoomar and Daph, native to Rajasthan and neighbouring Gujarat.
On day two and three, the ambience is almost electrifying with locals and tourists participating in various events and races like a skating race, boat race and rowing competition on Nakki Lake, horse race, tug of war, Panihari Matka Race etc. Performances like Qawwali nights, skating performances, CRPF band performance, deepen are also spectacular. The grand finale for the festival is a dazzling and delightful fireworks show.
In practical terms, Mt. Abu is one of the few destinations in Rajasthan that you can visit comfortably during the summer months. The airport nearest to Mt. Abu is Udaipur located about 185 kilometres away and the nearest railway station is about 30 kilometres.