Friday, January 23, 2009

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta!

Madhu and Neeta were planning for an outing in the weekend. They involved me too and three together started deciding on the places. Lot of places were listed but after a lot of thinking and chatting. We freezed on Himavad Gopal Swamy Betta!

Himavad Gopal Swamy Betta is a hill located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka and around 220 kms from Bangalore. It lies in the area of Bandipur National Park and is frequented by wild life. The the prefix Himvad is due to dense fog which covers the hill all through the year.

The final list included nearly 14 people. We had planned to leave Bangalore the day before so that we can get much time to spend near the hills. At around 11.30, we left Bangalore and were on the Mysore road talking and shouting. In no time, most of the people were asleep. Me too :)
The journey was for about 4+ hours. We reached the foot of the hill at around 4 in the early morning. As Madhu had already taken permission to enter the forest department at that time, we had no issues going further. The way to the top of the hill was quite jerky as it was kind of steep in some places and the driver had a difficult time to keep the vehicle moving on. As we were near to the destination, the engine of the vehicle went off and the brakes weren't enough to halt the vehicle from moving backward. The vehicle moved for nearly 20 feet behind and with a great thud it did stop near a pit. Thankfully we had a great relief! After 10 minutes of struggling, the vehicle started and we were off again in the early morning.

At around 5. 15 we reached the top of the hill. We got down to find ourselves in middle of a hilly forest with a twinkling moon on the sky and very chill breeze all over. We could see the temple and the hills which were surrounded near by. We made our way to Inspector Bungalow which was 2 minutes of walk from the temple. As we were unable to find the concerned person near the place, we had a good time walking to the temple and again back to guest house. At last, we were inside helping ourselves with our bags and stuffs!

We had quite a good bit of introduction in the early hours of 6 AM. We were feeling sleepy but had no intention of sleeping. It was the time when the sun rises and nobody would like to miss it. We went out again leaving our bags behind, on the path leading to the temple and found ourselves to be in between the rise of the sun on one side and moon going behind on the opposite. As few were taking shots of the wonderful sight, we went further to explore a better view of the hill and surroundings.

As we reached back of the temple, we could see many more hills in a clear view where the clouds were on the foot of the hills. Quite an amazing view. As the moon was left behind without any clue we could see the sun rising to the opposite. We went further for a walk to the next hill and were quite far from the temple when we looked behind. Trying to spot some wild animals in the forest we headed further without much noise. At last where we thought of heading backwards, few people found an animal very far ahead. But unfortunately, we couldn't recognize what animal it was at first. The animal was moving very slowly and hence, we thought that it must some rock first but dropped that thinking when we could see more clearly when it was gazing nicely. With two minds, thinking either it must be elephant or a bison, we tried to move little further. We could finally recognize it to be bison! After few clicks here, we headed back to the our base camp which was temple.

We reached back the guest house at around 9 and quickly got fresh so that we can go next to the temple. After darshan, we came out and were waiting to have our breakfast as we were all very hungry. We came to know that it will take some time for them to serve the breakfast as they were supposed to do the temple rituals and then distribute the prasadas. So we had a good time playing dum charades though our stomachs were playing cats and rats game! :D

At around 12 o'clock we finished the breakfast and were back to the guest house all set for our trekking around the place. There was a guide who was supposed to take us for the trek and we quickly started our trek following him. He took us all the way round the place covering most of the places. The place is said to be having a no of wild animals which includes Tiger, Elephants, Spotted deer, Sambar, Wild dog etc. We were expecting to see atleast one of these on the way.

After half an hour of the trek, we saw spotted deer. The guide asked us to keep quite and watch it as it might run off hearing the voices (or seeing the city faces :P) . Most of the people couldn't see it as it went off as soon we noticed it. We were quite far from our starting point and were already tired to move further. We were taking rest every now and then. The guide showed us the place which is at the foot of the hill where we were standing and said that it is the place where most of the tiger resides and the place also has few den. Further he gave an explanation which scared me. He told that if the tiger is hungry it might walk for 25 kms in search of its food. That means we were standing in an unsafe place in the middle of the jungle. Well, thankfully nothing of that sort happened. We went further which is the place of elephants. The place was covered with high bushes and we finding it difficult to walk. We could see lot of elephant dungs here and there. It means that we were again in a risky place where anytime we can come across straight to the elephant. I would have loved to see an elephant from far there but didn't come across any. According to the guide, from past few days most of the elephants have gone further in to the jungle in search of water or river.

Just after little time, we saw Sambar! Atleast we were lucky enough to spot some deers and sambars. It was in a group and we could see it starring at us from a distance. In no time, all of them disappeared. There was a small stream passing by at the foot of that hill and we took rest there for 10 minutes. We had come all the way down for atleast more than 8 kms and now our turn was to climb back. According to the guide we had to climb 4 kms. We went on climbing the hill which was the difficult part. We used to take break every 10 minutes of walk and finally could see the tip of the hill where our trek ends. We went as fast as possible and again we came across huge bushes which was quite thick than before and had a great time howling and struggling to walk further. After a great effort we did reach the last hill which is exactly the same place that we had visited in the morning.

We went back to the guest house rejoicing that we did cover up a great trekking place. As it was so hot, we didn't really notice that our skin was burning. We got fresh in no time and were waiting to have our late lunch. The lunch was ready and we ate it without any energy left in our body. As people were busy packing their stuff. I went to take a quick rest and was sound asleep. It was Neeta who woke me up when all were ready to move out. I had hardly slept for 5 minutes but felt like I slept more than an hour. :D

I came out with my bag when I saw people were having a good time starting the tempo pushing and running. I did enjoy watching it. With another few pushes, the vehicle roared up and all of us where in talking and shouting. We were now heading back to Bangalore. Hearing to music and playing dum charades along the way was again a great fun. By the time we reached Bangalore it was 11.30 PM.

P.S: We were totally 14 people which included me, Neeta, Madhu, Saravana, Prabhu, Rajesh, Aparna, Nithin, Shoubith, Veeresh, Vasu, Veeresh's frnd, Shaubhik and the driver Raju.
To the Gang: Thanks for all the people who made it wonderful and also for the people who took the snaps.
Photos: Click here to check the pics from Shaubik.