The Himavad Gopalaswamy temple is a popular spiritual destination in the Mysuru region. However, outside this region people hardly know about it. This article intends to briefly introduce the temple to everyone seeking divine blessings of the lord Gopalswamy.
Himavad Gopalaswami betta – a brief introduction
“Do you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of your life? “Do you love to enjoy the scenic beauty of the dense forest while traveling up a hill?” “Do you love to feel, smell, touch and play with passing clouds?” “Do you love to do silent meditation on top of a hill?” “Do you want to pray and seek blessings from lord Krishna?”
If the answer to these questions is “YES”, then look no further, head straight towards Himavad Gopalaswamy betta – a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna built atop a hill in the western ghats.
The hill is a part of Bandipur wildlife sanctuary and is frequented by wild elephants. Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is covered with mist for most parts of the year and the temperature averages as low as 20 degrees with cool breeze. The temple is at a height of 4770 feet from Sea level.
The Temple of Shri Himavad Gopalaswamy was built over 700 years ago, and is one of the famous temples with picturesque views. It is also called South Govardhanagiri and Kamalachala.
The legends say that the 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 lake of swans in Sanskrit. Swan has a mythological significance in Sanatana Dharma. It symbolizes knowledge, tranquility and salvation. So, the belief is that whoever meditates in that place will be blessed with knowledge, bliss and Moksha – the permanent liberation from all kinds of miseries.
The Moola pratima of the temple, Lord Gopalaswamy or Krishna was consecrated by Rishi “Agastya” himself, millenia ago.
The moola pratime of Lord Krishna is 6 feet tall and is sculpted to perfection and the posture is that of a dance with the left big toe resting on the right one. The face looks mesmerizingly calm and happy. Simple yet grand is the prabhavali / panel behind the pratima. It has carvings of a tree, the Lord’s friends, his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama, Cows and Cowherds all the reminiscence from Dwapara yuga.
The temple on the hill
However the temple for the deity was built during the Hoysala Era, and is facing North. This temple was built by the King Chola Ballala in the year AD 1315. Later, the Wodeyars of Mysore who were ardent devotees of Lord Venugopala, took up the task of maintaining the hill temple and now it is the Karnataka government which is doing that work.
The scenic beauty of mother nature
This site is known for its scenic beauty and holds great religious significance. The plain tracts on the hills are covered with lush grass, and is home to elephants, deer and rabbit, while the slopes are covered with thick forests, home to tigers and leopards.
If anyone desires to walk into the clouds or touch the cloud, then this is the place to be for realizing his desire, and he can be literally on cloud 9, in the true sense.
How to reach there?
The Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is approximately 220 km from Bengaluru and 75 km from Mysuru on the Mysuru Ooty road.
There is a motorable road all the way to the top of the hill. However, private vehicles are not allowed on the hill. The visitors have to take the Govt bus organized by the Karnataka state transport from the Foothills. Materials used for pooja (prayers) alone such as flowers, fruits, Incense sticks etc. are permitted. NONE of the food items are permitted. Pooja materials should be carried in non-plastic bags. Visitors are allowed from around 8:30am till 4pm. Overnight stay on top is NOT ALLOWED.
Private vehicles are not allowed beyond the forest check post. One has to make use of the mini bus arranged by the forest department to visit the temple. First bus will operate at 8:30 am and the last bus is at 4:00 pm.
There is a forest department guest house at the top of the hill, which is not available for the public, only government officials on duty are allowed to use it.
Best Season to Visit the temple is monsoons and winter.
Festival and Jathra Details
Gopalaswamy Brahma Rathotsava is held every year in Phalguna Masam – Sravana, i.e. in the last week of month March. The special aspect of this car festival is that the chariot will be pulled by bamboo-creepers collected from the forest.
The Shravana masa of every year is the auspicious days of this temple. Every Saturday in Sravana masam special pooja will be held, thousands of devotees throng the temple at this time.