An overview: Guru Shikhar, Mount Abu
Take a break from the rapid and continuously busy lives that you lead in the cities here. In the Aravali range, Guru Shikhar is the highest peak at the height of 1722m. The distance of Guru Shikhar from Mount Abu is only 15 Kms which is why it offers a mesmerizing view of the mountains and the hill station of Mount Abu. In order to get to the peak, you will have to climb a few steps after the 15 km drive to enjoy the breathtaking view.
The peak also holds the cave temple of Guru Dattatreya, a worshipper of Lord Vishnu and a Mount Abu observatory. The cloud conditions here are always in favor of the observatory, which also has an infrared telescope. If you visit the place in October or November, it would feel like you are walking among the clouds as it gets foggy and misty all around here.
On the road that leads to Guru Shikhar, one can enjoy food and hot tea on the food stalls, which is priced reasonably and tastes delicious, given the weather. One can also consume the available packaged food on the way, like chips. The hikers who reach the top of the peak, announce their achievement by ringing an old bell present there, which has ‘1411 AD’ carved on it. The echo of the bell travels far and wide.
More about Guru Shikhar
Guru Shikhar: The history
Guru Shikhar literally means ‘the peak of the guru’, and the name is inspired by Guru Dattatreya, who, it is believed, lived on the peak as a monk for a long time. To pay him respect, the cave on the peak has been transformed into a temple. The name ‘Dattatreya’ comes from 2 Sanskrit words Datta (given) and Atreya (Son of Atri). According to Hindu mythology, Atri, a sage used to compose hymns. He and his wife were given a son, Dattatreya, by the Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Dattatreya’s mother, Anasuya has a temple dedicated to herself, near to this one.
This temple is believed to be a very divine place because it is said that Guru Dattatreya was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Indirectly, Guru Shikhar is dedicated to worship Lord Vishnu and is an important pilgrimage point for his devotees. The temple is also famous because it holds footprints of a sheer, Swami Ramnath, who took the shrine under the statue of Raghunathji Temple, also here in Mount Abu.
The Mount Abu Observatory, which has been fully functional since 1994, and belongs to the ISRO facility, is also present on the peak. For ISRO it is a very important part of the infrastructure as it studies celestial objects for ground-based infrared observations.
Guru Shikhar: Things to do
The hikers are drawn to Guru Shikhar mostly in the mornings for two main reasons, the delicious local breakfast served at local shops and the sunrise that takes your breath away. In addition to the breakfast, these shops are also known to serve some great tea. You don’t just get the local tasty food but can also satisfy your food cravings for packaged food like chocolates or chips on the way, any time during the day. The top of the trek greets you with opportunities for family picnics, small souvenir shops, and breathtaking picturesque photography opportunities. If you feel like adding a religious touch to the experience you could also visit the Dattatreya temple.
Places to visit nearby
The temple of Dattatreya is a must-visit as he was believed to be the reincarnated spirit of Lord Vishnu and a god himself, blessed by the holy Hindu trinity. The shrine of Guru Dattatreya’s mother, Ahilya, can also be visited if you move into the north-west direction from Guru Shikhar.
Shiva Temple, Chamundi Temple, and Mira temple are some more famous temples around the area. The Peace Park and the Mount Abu Observatory looked after by the physical research library also draw a lot of tourist attention as they lay by the side of Guru Shikhar.
Best time to visit
In the months between October and March, the weather is considered most suitable to plan a visit to Guru Shikhar.
Guru Shikhar: Tips for visitors
- The steps leading to the peak after the drive are a little uneven, and therefore dangerous. It is necessary to maintain caution while traveling especially with children and old people.
- It is always advisable to wear comfortable footwear that stays firm on the ground because even though the hike isn’t difficult but it’s a little steep at places.
How to reach
The distance of 15 Kms between Mount Abu and Guru Shikhar can be covered by a car or a hired taxi. Sometimes two-wheelers are also available on rent for the journey. Following this ride is a short 300-steps hike to the peak.