Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta Chamarajanagar Karnataka

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, is a hill, hence the name betta in Kannada, which located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka, at a height of 1450 metres. The hill is an extensively wooded forest, and is also the highest peak in the Bandipur National Park. Lying in the core area of the Bandipur National Park, the hill is frequented by wild life, including mainly elephants, and is very famous for its Elephant Safari. Dense fog predominates the hill year around, the hill thus gets the prefix Himavad, again in the native language of Kannada.

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, is a hill, lying in the core area of the Bandipur National Park, predominated by a dense fog year around. The hill is frequented by wild life, including mainly elephants, and is very famous for its Elephant Safari. Another highlighted tourist attraction is the Gopalaswamy Temple located on the hill. The place is also known for its picturesque views of the surrounding hills. Visitors are particularly fond of the spectacular sunrises’ and sunsets’ views from the top of the hill. As to account for religious and historical importance, this hill was considered a place of worship and penance. Hence, the air around the place still hymns of knowledge, tranquility and salvation.

Architecture of the Temple

The gopuram of the temple is single-tiered and rests on a compound wall in the enclosure. A dhwajastambha (a flag-pillar) and a bali-peetam (sacrificial altar) are present in the mukha mantapa (the inner-porch of the temple . The parapet wall of the façade of the mukha mantapa contains the sculpture of Dashavatara, depicting the ten avatars of the Hindu God Vishnu, with the centre portion of the sculpture depicting Krishnavatara, the avatar of Vishnu in which he appeared as Krishna. The garbha griha contains an idol of Krishna holding a flute under a tree, in which Krishna can be seen flanked by his friends, with the posture of a dancer, with the left big toe resting on the right one. The panel also features several characters and icons from Krishna’s avatar. Lord Gopalaswamy’s, (which is how Krishna is known natively) idol is flanked by his consorts, Rukmini and Satyabhama.

The National Park and Elephant Safaris

The temple is located in the heart of Bandipur National Park, which is the vital habitat of wildlife such as the tiger, leopards, wild Dogs and other species such as the Indian Gaur, Chittal, Sambar etc. To maintain the peaceful habitat for the residing animals, venturing beyond the temple premises has been declared an offense as per the Wildlife Act of 1972. Under the same, trekking, picnicking, partying etc. are considered punishable offenses. The hill is especially known for attracting scores of elephants throughout the year, hence an elephant safari is offered at the place under the administrative regulations, which still allow the visitors to experience the serene beauty of the hill.

How to Reach Gopalaswamy Betta

By Air Bangalore International Airport is the nearby airport to the place, located at a distance of 215 kms from Bandipur. One can avail taxis or buses to reach the temple hill from the airport. By Train Nearest railway station to this temple is located in Mysore city, at a distance of 80 kms from here.

From the station, one can take a taxi or bus to reach the temple hill. By Road KSRTC runs various state buses to Bandipur, hence if one has to travel by road, one can take prepaid taxis or state buses to reach the hill. This place is also connected to the highway which will lead you directly to the park. Coimbatore (167km), Bangalore (235km), Mangalore (310km) and Kochi (326km) are the nearest cities connected by road.

Photos – Riyas Rasheed