A tropical hill-resort in the middle of the Rajasthan desert would seem unbelievable. Yet this is exactly what Mount Abu is. The broken ridges of the Aravalli Hills attain their highest point (1,722 metres) at Guru Shikhar, the Saints’ Pinnacle, in the southwestern corner of Rajasthan, bordering the state of Gujarat. This range is separated from the main chain of Aravallis by a valley about 24 km wide. In this vale the fruits and vegetables that feed the surrounding region are grown. As you climb up the winding road to Mount Abu, the hill becomes covered by tropical forests with a wide variety of trees. Each curve of the road brings into view silk cotton and bottle brush, mango, bamboo, eucalyptus, wild pomegranate, coral, date palm and lime. There are also the colourful flame of the forest (the famous pallash of the ancient poems), gulmohur, jacaranda, amaltash and oleander. Abu was selected as the site for one of the most sacred rites of the Vedic era, the yagna of the agnikund, or the sacrifice of the fire-pit out of which four clans of Rajput's Parmars, Chauhans, Pratiharas and Solankis were born.