As promised in the previous post, this is a small know it all for visiting Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, literally translated it would mean Snow Krishna Hill. It is a small temple-hill located in the Chamarajanagar Distict of Karnataka.
When plans were made that we would be visiting Bandipur, I instantly told my better half that we cannot come back without visiting this temple. I had seen so many pictures of this place and it had always been on my wishlist. So, yayyy I got to strike one off. :P
This place is divine. Not just for religious reasons but for the pure joy you get by witnessing the 360 degree panoramic view of the Niligiri Hills. It is located within the Bandipur National Park and in fact it is the highest peak in Bandipur. One can figuratively see the intersection of the borders of the three southern states from here.
The temple here was built about 700 years ago. The Pandit performs pooja for every batch that arrives and sprinkles the mist that is formed on the Krishna Idol on our heads. This mist formed is the reason for the name Himavad, i.e. snow. Also an interesting fact about this place is that not even a single crow can be found on this hill. It is so strange.
This place is about 225 kms from Bangalore and 80 kms from Mysore. Perfect distance for a day trip as well. If you are on your way to Ooty or Coonoor, you should definitely take a detour to this place. Trust me, it is worth it.
- This place falls under the Project Tiger Act and hence is very well protected and is a strictly plastic free zone.
- It is open only from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
- Private vehicles are no longer allowed on the hill. You can drive up to the check post at the bottom of the hill, park your vehicle and then take a Govt. Bus to the top. [Trust me, this is a blessing in disguise because the roads are pathetic after the check post.] This bus ride will cost you 20rs one way.
- You are not allowed to carry anything apart from the pooja items. And yes, no food also. If you want to perform Pooja, it is best to bring the pooja items with you as there no shops on top.
- No overnight stay is allowed on top. Hence you will have to return back by bus before the last bus leaves. Depending on the crowd, the frequency and number of buses are increased.
- Do not venture out beyond the fence around the temple. This is a punishable act.
The previous night at our stay in Bandipur, our very friendly care taker informed us that the temple opens only after 8:30 AM and it would be a waste to go there early. So we decided to leave late. It was almost 9:30 by the time we left. The skies were clear and there was a chill in the air. From Bandipur, HGB is about 20 kms. There is a clearly marked sign to take a deviation towards this place. As soon as you get off the Highway, open spaces welcome you. Vast plains stretch as far as you can see. Agricultural lands mostly. I’m told that this place is filled with sunflower plants during spring. Now that would be a sight worth going back for, right?
When we finally reached the check post, everyone in the car looks at me like “Really? This place? Where is the misty fog you were talking about? “ And I sheepishly said “Umm... No idea!”
We spoke to the dozen police men stationed here and they told us that we need to park our vehicle and take the KSRTC bus to the top. This is mainly done to preserve the beauty of the temple and the serenity of the forest. Now there is a long queue waiting for the next bus. After about 10 mins, the bus arrives. The line barely moves forward and the bus is already full. We spoke to the police and asked them if there was any way we could take this bus. So he said if you are okay with standing and going, you can take this bus. And yes, we were finally on our way.
The road is so bad and steep, I have no idea how the rickety bus made it to the top. Since we were standing, we couldn’t enjoy the view much. But we could feel the temperature gradually changing from the blazing heat to the chilly breeze. And I was glad, that I carried my jacket. :P
It takes about 15 mins to reach the top. Once we got out the bus, I was blown away. The greenest grass, the bluest sky, the picturesque temple, the fresh air, the tranquillity of the forest, Oh My Heaven!
One of the cleanest temples I’ve seen. Simple and elegant. We stood in the line for the Darshan. Got blessings from the Lord and yes we were sprinkled with the Hima. Sated, at last. :)
There is a fence around the temple premises and you are not allowed to wander past this. You can go a full 360 around the temple and you will find valley on one side and hills on the other. A beautiful pond beyond the fence makes the picture frame even more perfect. This is what heavens are made up of. Ideal place. We clicked a few photos and just sat there admiring the beauty that is nature.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. <3
Few Pointers: Since we reached late, there wasn’t any fog surrounding the hill. So try and take the first bus and you will enjoy the place even more. Respect the temple and the forest. Since the hill is frequented by wild animals, don’t venture out unnecessarily and risk your life or the animal’s. There are no restaurants or eateries at the top. However, you will find some Thelas [Stalls] at the bottom of the hill. Carry a water bottle. As per my knowledge, there is no washroom at the top either.
I honestly believe that temples were meant to be like this one. Calm, quiet, secluded, serene. That is divinity for me, a place where my soul can jump with glee.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only on page.
– St. Agustine
This trip was first published on Nomadic Mortal.