Down in Mount Abu’s market area, you gain little sense of the wonderfully wild landscape enfolding the town, but head for a few minutes up one of the many trails threading around the sides of the plateau, and it’s easy to see why the area has inspired sages, saints and pilgrims for centuries. Unfortunately hiking alone is not recommended, as there have been robberies and even murders of unaccompanied visitors, and police will turn back anyone spotted heading out alone. There’s also a chance of running into bears and leopards – bears, in particular, can be dangerous if surprised, or when with their young.

Two good local guides are Lalit Kanojia at the Shri Ganesh hotel, who leads 3–4hr treks every morning; or the experienced Mahendra Dan, better known as “Charles”, who runs a range of half-day and full-day walking tours focusing on village life, wildlife spotting and local Ayurvedic plants, as well as overnight camping expeditions. Details of his tours can be found at mount-abu-treks.blogspot.com and he can be contacted via the Lake Palace hotel.

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