Thursday, 30 December 2010

Mount Abu

It was in the super hit movie ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ that I heard about Mount Abu for the first time ever. Some of the main scenes including the climax of the movie were shot in this location. Mount Abu which is a hill station located in Rajasthan is a major tourist attraction for travelers from the neighboring states such as Gujarat, Delhi etc. During monarchial rule, it served as a summer retreat for the kings. 

Unexpectedly, in 2003 I got a chance to visit Mount Abu. This happened while I was on an official trip to ‘Caine Energy’, one of our multinational clients for oil excavation related work in Rajasthan. Since the work was delayed, for the first week we stayed in a heritage hotel in Jodhpur named Sriram International. We didn’t have any work during the day. And what work can we possibly have in the night but to sleep!!

I had some of my colleagues for company – Joseph Simon from Kaloor, Velu from Coimbatore, Rajan nicknamed Raygon from Thiruvanthapuram and Abdul Gafoor from Madras. In two days we did a complete sightseeing of the Jodhpur Fort and Palace. We were now in a dilemma as to what next. It was then that our Rajasthani driver, Sivaratnam mentioned to us about Mount Abu. It would be a minimum travel of 4 hours. Though we were hesitant initially, we finally decided to go.

As the vehicle was about to reach Mount Abu, we were able to see other tourist vehicles. Most of the vehicles were from Gujarat. In a distance we could see Mount Abu.  The reason why we were able to see the vehicles descending and ascending the hill so distinctly was because there were hardly any trees or foliage that would hide the sightings. In 20 minutes we reached the top of the hill. We got bored after taking a quick round there. Everywhere we could see the commotion of tourists. However, there wasn’t any much scenery worth mentioning out there. With no prejudices, let me say it was hardly any competition to places like Ooty or Kodaikanal. In a nutshell, it is a small barren hill resembling a bald head!  The temperatures were as high on the hill as was down in the plains. How can it be a hill station without even having a cool climate?

We had heard that the sunset view from Mount Abu is very beautiful. We decided to see it and crowded at the Sunset point waiting for the sun to set. As the skies became overcast, we lost that opportunity as well. We who had planned to spend an exciting night there and travelled all the way up with our bag and baggage did not waste any further time and headed down hill in less than 3 hours. On pondering it became clear to us why so many tourists frequented the place.  This was the sole hill station in and around that part of the world. There is a saying in malayalam which means that no matter how poor you are, you must still celebrate Onam with whatever little means you have. This was an illustration of just that ‘Be content with whatever you have’.!

The plight of our driver was pitiable. He wouldn’t have thought even in his wildest dream that he would have to atone for his recommendation and drive us back from the hills so soon!!! 
Translated from my Malayalam blog ' Chila Yaathrakal ' by geetham. To read the Malayalam version, click here.