Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, is a hill located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka at a height of 1450m. It is also the highest peak in the Bandipur National Park. Himavad in kannada means mist covered, so the hill got its name because of its climate and the temple dedicated to Gopalaswamy in the peak of the hill. It lies in the core area of the Bandipur National Park and is frequented by wild life including elephants. Dense fog predominates and covers the hills round the year.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is just 12 km from the Bandipur national park. While Bandipur is frequented by tourists Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is ignored. Most of the people visit here due to the temple. The roads leading to the temple is scenic, photogenic.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta has a motorable road all the way to the top of the hill. But entry for private vehicles are restricted. One has to use the government bus from the foothills to the peak. Materials used for pooja such as flowers, fruits, incense sticks etc. are permitted. Other food items are not permitted to be carried in. All these materials should be carried in non-plastic bags. Visitors are allowed from around 8:30am till 4pm. Overnight stay on top is not allowed.
The Gopalaswamy temple is well maintained and its beauty comes from the surrounding landscape and not from the architecture of the temple. The sanctum sanctorum contains an idol of Krishna holding a flute under a tree. Krishna is flanked by his friends and the posture is that of a dance 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 idol is flanked by his consorts, Rukmini and Satyabhama. Cows and cowherds are featured towards the right side of the panel.
The temple is most of the time covered in mist. When we had visited the place in July, the temple received light drizzle, mist and a very amazing breeze. Due to the mist the visibility had come down. The bus ride to the temple was all green and had amazing views of valleys.
We knew the temple serves free food at 12 in the noon. We had lunch here. We had rice with sambhar and a sweet. One has to wash their own plates here.