The feelings born for the first time leaves behind the imprint forever, so does this trip. The memories of this place is as fresh as the toothpaste that greets the teeth every morning bringing a sense of positivism.
The first trip that we had set ourselves free in the open world once the pocket had saved enough to afford the trip, off we went leaving behind the four walls 200 kms far away. The new world happened to be Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, a hill located in the Chamarajanagar district near Mysore lying in the area of Bandipur National park.
Ravi, Shiva, Suresh, Gokul, Vasu and Me, on one Friday evening had marked ourselves to the deserted night, throwing selves into the red Maruti Van which slowly dragged itself on the lonely roads looking up at the moonlit sky. Each one had a story to tell the passing night while I chose to dissolve into the soothing tunes of the stereo that was playing old kannada songs that the owner of the car loved to hear.
Vasu had brought his digital cameras along and it was the first time that we friends got to know about the new electronic gadget which had the ability to bring time to standstill with us in it.
We greeted the hill in the early dawn but the sun took its time to showcase its presence on the hills, letting the dense fog predominantly invade the hills.
The hill has a famous temple of Venugopalaswamy (Lord Krishna ) the reason of it’s name – Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta. The Temple contains an idol of Krishna holding a flute under a tree and the posture is that of a dance with the left big toe resting on the right one, with Rukmini and Satyabhama aside.
We were informed that the hills have wild elephants as their frequent visitors and a habitat for tiger, leopard, chital etc and no doubt the place is so serene for the flora and fauna to flourish here.
As the fog slowly drifted away respecting the decision of the Sun to highlight itself, the sunrise of the day lifted away the smoky blanket to unveil the green world that hid below it, exposing us to a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills and green valleys.
It appears we were lucky enough to explore this place back in those days as we could find ourselves driving up the hill and reaching by 6 in the morning but I believe now, visitors are allowed only in the time period of 8.30 am to 4 pm on the hills. Further, trekking, picnicking are discouraged and visitors are refrained from venturing beyond the temple premises in order to reduce the disturbance on wildlife.
The roads to the top of the hill are motorable but do not allow entry of private vehicles and instead KSRTC organised buses ply to and fro to the hill. Food items and plastic bags are strictly not permitted and overnight stay is a definite ‘NO’.
While the trip ended, it shook awake the traveler in me and I believe it is at this place, I discovered my love for nature that the soul seemed to get comfort with.
I had met the new ‘ME’ that day who lead the journey further with mother nature and as part of the journey came the love for photos, driving, cars, exploration and most importantly the UNEXPLAINED PLEASANT HAPPINESS that bestowed on the solace mind.