Gujaratis love Mount Abu, and believe it on or, it has been a popular destination for them for more than a decade now. Mount Abu is perfect for all kinds of trips – be it just about hitting the road and tackling the mountain roads or a chance to get out of the city and have a nice time with your family and friends. Gujarat, being a Dry State (sale and consumption of alcohol is banned), Mount Abu also makes the perfect escapade for all kinds of drinkers. Sitting poignantly in the borders of Gujarat-Rajasthan, the hill station also offers a wide range of other activities. For us, Mount Abu, this time, was about going offbeat and doing things that you won’t call ‘touristy’.
It would be a drive of just around 220 kilometers and everything for the trip was already arranged. We were five people travelling from Ahmadabad and this was the first time we were travelling together. For me, it was the usual 6AM alarm and by 7 o’ clock, I was already standing at our meeting point at Gota Cross Road. Pratik was on time and brought the drive for the trip – a beloved i20, that have been with us in so many good memories. By 7.30 AM, we started our drive with Hetal, Rishab and Nirali towards Mount Abu. After an hour of drive we reached our first stop for the day near Siddhpur. It was the popular Flora Restaurant and we treated ourselves to some mouth-watering South Indian platters. If you are ever taking this road, Flora Restaurant would be a recommended stop for your breakfast. Not only is the food good but it’s economical as well.
In another hour, we were already entering the Abu Road and this would be especially a great drive if you are keen on photography. We made stops several times to capture the landscape through our lenses and by 11.15 AM, we were at Hotel Mount Regency. This was the point where we met the organizer of the trip and also the founder of ‘Abu Ghumo” – Mr. Tanay. Abu Ghumo was aimed at making Mount Abu a specialized destination and we were looking forward to our first experience. We were promptly introduced to other members of our group – Yash, Megha, Abhinay, Tvara and two trekkers Harshit and Oshank.
The meeting was followed by a small introductory session where we were given the basic itinerary and some tips to make the experience more enjoyable. It was a brief session and after that, Tanay led us 8 kilometers downhill to our Nature Camp where we had our lunch. A lot of adventure activities were ahead and we made sure that we didn’t fill ourselves beyond comfort! It was sad that the food was so delicious! Then we started our journey towards Fun Zone where we had guided experience in zip lining, dirt bike, rock climbing, archery and several others. Each activity was interesting and I tried all of them. My personal favorite was however the rock climbing session and I believe that this fascination will make me do something more serious about it in the future!
The adventure activities lasted till evening and the whole session was a lot of fun, especially when you have friends so enthusiastic and sporty! At around 6.30 PM, our group was collected and led to a unique sunset point in Mount Abu. This was lesser known part of the hills where normal tourists seldom venture. In fact, there was no one there apart from our group members. A beautiful and happy sunset it was and we felt lucky to be there. An hour there and then we went back to the Nature Camp by 8 PM. Food was already prepared and this time, I ensured not to hold myself back! Even desi food like Khichdi, sev tamatar, bhakhari and kadhi felt so good!
After we have had our food and everyone was ready, Tanay led us to a small trek to one of the nearby forest pick. Usually, you would have required permission from the forest office but this was already included in our plans. It was close to a full moon night and the experience of walking in the forest was exhilarating. Mysterious chirps, hoots and screeches made the trek one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. For city dwellers like us, this was as close to the National Geographic experience I had ever got!
We reached there within couple of minutes and sat around the campfire, and someone started strumming on his acoustic guitar. The soulful music matched the night perfectly and we had a lot of fun till 2 AM in the night. Meanwhile, the organizers had already arranged for our tents and sleeping bags. So, this was not just the first time I ever took a night walk in a real forest (known to have a healthy population of bears and leopards) but also will be sleeping under the moon and with the wilderness around. It was cold but it didn’t take too long for me to fall asleep. After all, it had been one of a kind of day!
The chirps and early morning forest activities ensured that we were able to get up early and we took this opportunity to click the sunrise. We helped in packing the tents back but took the wrong route towards the camp. Luckily we realized it soon enough and didn’t need to wait more than 30 minutes to find our way back. The organizers served us a good breakfast consisting of poha, bread and katlesh.
I had my fill and when all of us were ready, it was time for a goodbye selfie! (We missed Abhinay & Megha during this selfie as they had to leave bit early in the morning).
The camp was certainly an experience we had in a while and I am sure that each one of us promised a return when an opportunity came. After saying goodbyes and thanking the organizer, we headed back on our way to Ahmadabad.