Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Himavad Gopalswami Betta
This is one of the highest peaks in the area in Chamarajnagar district. It rises to a height of 1454 meters above sea level. The place is so called because it is covered in mist. It is approximately 220 km from Bangalore and 80 km from Mysore.There is a motor-able road all the way to the top of the hill. Entry fee is collected at the forest department check-post at foot of the hill. Visitors are allowed from around 6am till 5pm. Overnight stay on top is not allowed. Trekking and videography in the surrounding hills are allowed only with prior permission and to be accompanied by the forest department guides.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, is a grassy hill located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka, India. It lies in the core area of the Bandipur National Park and is frequented by wild life including elephants. It gets its name from the Himavad Gopalaswamy Temple located on the top of the hill. Himavad means filled with fog in the native language of Kannada.
The temple was built in 1315 by Perumal Dandanayaka, a Chola Viceroy. The temple is dedicated to Gopalaswamy, which is one of the names of the Hindu God Krishna. The gopuram of the temple is single-tiered and rests on the compound wall of the enclosure. A dhwajastambha (flag-pillar) and a bali-peetam (sacrificial altar) is present in the mukha mantapa (inner-porch). The parapet wall of the façade of the mukha mantapa contains the sculpture of dashavatara (the 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). There is a shikhara tower over the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum).
The garbha griha 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.
Legend says that sage Agastya, performed intense penance and as a result lord Vishnu blessed this place and promised to reside here. As this was a place of worship and penance, it used to be called as 'Hamsatheertha', which means the the lake of swans in Sanskrit. Swan acquires a mythological significance in Hinduism, symbolizing knowledge, tranquility and salvation.
Being a part of the Bandipura wildlife sanctuary, the hills are frequented by grazing wild elephants. The place is also known for its picturesque views of the surrounding hills, valleys and visitors may also see the spectacular sunrise and sunset from the top.
This temple was built in early fourteenth century by Cholas. And main specialty of the place is wild elephants which can be seen in herds of 60s-70s. Luckily we were able to sight them.