Located in the heart of the dense forest of Bandipur, Karnataka, Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is covered with fog almost throughout the year and that is the root of its name Himavad, meaning misty. A temple to Lord Krishna crowns this picturesque hill, the highest point in the surrounding region at 1,450 m (4,757 feet). The best time to visit it is during or just after the monsoon. The hill can be easily reached by car. The road to the top is quite basic, so caution is advised while driving. If you are lucky, you may spot deer, wild boar or even a herd of wild elephants on your way. The last, by the way, is not a preferred encounter. There is strict control by the forest department on the number of vehicles allowed to enter the area, which is a plastic-free zone.
This temple was built by the Hoysala King Ballala during AD 1315. It was later maintained by the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore, who were ardent devotees of Lord Krishna. Among the many legends associated with this place is an interesting one about one of the lakes, 'Papanasini' (meaning the one that washes away sins). The temple priest told us that, in the hill ranges of Gopalaswamy betta, no crows are found. The crows that existed took a dip in the Papanasini and, on attaining moksha, turned into Hamsa (swan) birds and reached heaven.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is about 220 km from Bangalore and 75 km from Mysore on the state highway to Ooty.
Photos by Yahoo reader VIKRAM RAMACHANDRAN (See more of his photos on Flickr)
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