The legend of Mount Abu and Achalgarh

Being a part of one the oldest mountains of the world, Mount Abu has a lot of legend associated with it. The great saint Vashisth lived and performed a yagna to create four Agnikula – the Chauhans, Parihars (Pratiharas), Parmars and Solankis (Chalukyas) to protect the earth from demons. 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. Once Vashisth’s cow Nandini was trapped in a deep gorge and could not free herself. Vashisth appealed to Lord Shiva for help. The Lord sent the divine stream Saraswati, to help flood the gorge so that the cow could float up. Vashisth with the help of mighty snake Arbud filled up the gorge permanently. Thus the mountain came to be known as the Arbud mountains. Historically this mountain terrain has been the sanctuary for regional warriors. It was because of this strategic topography that the invaders could never defeat the local rulers. As the attackers would attack, the local warriors would climb the familiar mountain ranges and from the top would assault the aggressors and force them to retreat. The earliest clans of the region were the Bhillas and the Nagas. Dhumraja, established the Parmar dynasty in 916 A.D. There was a fierce war with Bimal Shah of the Solankis. The later was filled with repentance and desired penance. He met a Jain hermit who told him that there was no penance for a willful sin, however he could make his life better by constructing temples. He soon went about to construct Dilwara temples. The two tycoon brothers, Tej Pal and Vastu Pal, who were then considered to be the biggest builders in the country, ably helped him.

Ruins of Achalgarh Fort
Ruins of Achalgarh Fort
A watchtower of Achalgarh?
A watchtower of Achalgarh?

There existed a ruined fortress of the Parmer rulers on one of the summits of Mount Abu which was renovated and reconstructed by Rana Kimbha in 1952 A.D. who named it Achalgarh. He won the fort defeating the Deoras of Sirohi. The fort remained neglected since the decline of Mewar after Maharana Sanga and is almost in ruins. The first gate of the fort called Hanumanpole is still exixting with its tower.

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The Hanumanpole with towers on either side

There is another gate the Champapole, which served as entrance to main fort.

The shrine of Shaninath is thought to be build by Solanki Raja Kumar Pal(1143-1172 A.D.) of Gujarat. The original shrine of Mahavir has been replaced by Shantinath, probably after the former was plundered by Muslim invaders.

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Shantinath ji Temple Achalgarh
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The sculpture outside Shantinathji Temple

The Achleshvar Mahadev is said to be built in 813 A.D. Shesh Shayi Vishnu sculpture can be found in the Laxmi Narayan temple.

Shesh Shayi Vishnu
Shesh Shayi Vishnu

There is an inscription in the temple complex stating that Vastupal and Tejpal brothers, constructed the sabhamandap in 1234 A.D. In 1292 A.D.

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Same graceful work on marble as Dilwara temples by Vastupal and Tejpal brothers at Achalgarh Sabha mandap (under restoration)

Maharawal Samar Singh of Mewar also repaired the monastery temple. Another inscription stated thatMaharav Lumba of Chauhan conqured Chandravati and Mount Abu in 1321 A.D. Maharav Tej Singh constructed the steep well behind Achalesvar ten years later. The Nandi Shrine was put up in 1408 A.D.

Another legend to end this post: The Mandakini Kund was all filled up with Ghee. Every night some ghee got stolen. So the king Dharavarsh went to investigate the matter. The three demons in the form of Buffalos who stole the ghee of Mandakini Kund was killed by Dharavarsha with one arrow piercing all three at once.

Three buffaloes of Mandakini kund
Three buffaloes of Mandakini kund
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