Saturday, July 12, 2008

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta (G Betta)

The first reaction i got when i said that we are going to Himavad Gopalaswamy betta was " 
Where is this place?? ". 


Not surprised because G betta is completely ignored and not so famous as its neighbours in bandipur, mudumalai and nanjangud. G betta is located in the range of bandipur forest area and its a pukka wildlife spot mixed with devotion as there is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna atop the hillock. 


Its located in the Chamarajanagar district at a height of 1454m and is the highest peak in the Bandipur national park. Dense fog is predominant here and hense the prefix "Himavad" and the temple of Venugopalaswamy (krisnha) which completes the name `Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta`. We got to know about this place through friends and wanted to visit there to just hop around. Our initial plans was for 2 days with trekking to this place from the base and so on but finally everything got cancelled and we dropped the idea of going with the common dialogue "yavaga time agutho hogona bidu, next time nodona bidu maga". 


17th May 2008: Saturday afternoon 3:30pm me and raja were casually chatting, both held up with work and were discussing about visiting G betta, suddenly decided on visiting the place and to be back by the next day evening, to summarize we had just 30 odd hours for around 450 kms and to be back...


Called up our other partner guru and asked him to be at my house my 5pm, and he readily agreed!!! as ever. Called our other kulla partner Manoja -- and he was in office !!! - asked him to push off from there and be ready by 5pm, so within 10mts of casual talk we had decided to visit Gbetta in my beloved alto spending the night at mysore. So as planned hours before, picked up guru and manoja as usual was late, delayed all the more by 30 mts, then picked up raja on the way and finally left bangalore by 6pm, crazy fellows that we are... The only thing which was disturbing us was the absence of our cameras, we had NO cameras with us, only our mobiles to suffice... Raced off to mysore road, filled up the tank at ioc and left to mysore in search of a sound sleep. Reached mysore by 9:30pm after dinner at haripriya hotel in mandya and started searching for a place to settle down.. and lo behold....... "man proposes god disposes" -- proved itself again to us because we could not find any vacant rooms/lodges to stay.. and the places we found were demanding 1200 rs only for the night stay!!!!!


No idea why the prices were so high that weekend, after the dissappointment at mysore, decided to try at nanjangud which anyways was near to our destination. Finally found a place in nanjangud and laid down quietly after a tiring day.... 


18th May 2008: Left the place as early as 4:30am because still we had around 50+kms to cover. Still yawning drove slowly (rather the road after gundlupet is in a very bad shape)... moving further ahead of gundlupet, you find a big arch at the right side (when coming from mysore).. indicating the path to G betta. This is the entrance to the peak.. and the arch is for the temple atop the hill. Sunrise time, empty roads and no cameras.. sigh!!!!.. We could see cloud cover everywhere... and still clicked some photos using our mobiles stopping our vehicle right in the middle of the road without a soul to be bothered of. Again after driving for a few kms, reached the checkpost beyond which entry is only allowed between 6am and 5pm as its a prime wildlife habitat (more explanation for this later). Ours was only the 2nd vehicle to be going in that direction... we were there quite early and it turned out to be a perfect timing for us..... 


The roads are tarred upto the peak to help devotees reach the temple, but its so steep that you cant push your vehicle in 3rd or 4th gear as it just wont move ahead. My poor alto was cruising in 2nd gear and on 3rd started struggling.... the road doesnt look so but it is so.... and to add to the excitement we found lots of fresh elephant dung all along the path making us look out at every turning whether there are elephants ahead of us, luckily we came across none.. Steep and also the roads are narrow with hairpin bends we were wondering if night driving was allowed here, and if you face elephants (u will face) along the way, there are NO ESCAPE routes......... (thankfully so entry is not allowed after 5pm). After few more kms up the winding road, reached the top where the temple is located. There is a guest house there (it was closed for renovation but now reopened... and you can stay there overnight with permissions from the forest department). The temple opens only by 9 or 10am (curse me for my poor memory)... and we were searching for a place to freshen before visiting the temple. Found the guesthouse caretaker at the right time and he arranged everything for us "in the open bathroom"... ah what a lovely natural feel !!! Made the customary temple visit, listened to the history of the temple and came back praying for the good of the world. Came out and ventured behind the temple to view the lovely sight it offers.... Being on top of the highest peak in the range offers an unardulent, beautiful lush green view of the surroundings. The farther you see, the more greener it turns with hillocks in between and clouds playing hide and seek all day long. No wonder its called Himavad G betta. We saw a group of enthusiasts some distance away also admiring something, we joined them only to realize they were admiring a herd of elephants grazing on another hillock to the left of us... (the peak through which the roads are created.. made us wonder what if we had encountered them on the roads... that was a huge herd)... Got a good sighting of 2 adults and a calf which came close by.... we were rueing the fact that we had no cameras to capture all these wild moments, still it was one of the best wildlife sightings with lots to see around (and practically without spending anything).... spent quite a considerable amount of time admiring the valley and the surroundings topped up with the wildlife.. Didn't venture out too deep as we were warned about wild animals around.. 


As the sun rose, it was getting hotter and hotter, realized we had nothing much more to do, so decided to drive back and also pay a visit to Bandipura par and drive back home. As it was afternoon, not much of acitivity at bandipura, went around the museum there - i think hardly anybody notices it, rested for some time in the cool grass seeing the tamed baby elephant and the boars playing around. Time to pack up..... left bandipura and after few kms... the road is worse upto gundlupet (i have already been thrice on this stretch in the last 6 months, and i have seen absolutely no improvement.. Hope this changes before my next sojourn on this route !!!). Lunch break at gundlupet, had a spicy meal and then started our way back to bangalore with the regular pit stops now and then. Reached outskirts of bangalore by 6pm (but reached home only by 7:15pm, curse the traffic that piles up rapidly after bidadi...). 10pm : i was wondering what all we went through the last 48 hours and i had to be in office the next morning... the way life just goes on............................... The series of phots say it all........ (all with our mobiles only !!!)

 
(1)the mysuru palace at night... (2)valley view... (3)our palace on wheels...


 
(1)sunrise view... (2)posing on the way to gbetta... (3)the valley view from behind the temple...


 
 
 
(1)..(2)..(3).. posing with the valley as the background...


 
 
(1)..(2)..(3).. posing in front of the gbetta temple... 


Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!
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