trip to himavad gopalswamy betta

[Tip: You can skip the rambling and just see the photos by clicking on the first photo 💡 ]

After quite a while, went out with a group of friends to be amidst nature in Himavad Gopal Swamy Betta. Had also been on a brief visit to Bandipur (where we saw the above deer walking by a lake). (More info on the place – Payaniga: Sprint to Gopalaswamy Betta )


At the crack of dawn I got chucked out of the house by my wife and actually manage to make it in time along with Rashwin to our meeting point… to join Sanjeev and Chaitanya.

We left in Sanjeev’s car, taking Mysore road towards our destination. Stopped at Shivalli Restaurant on the recommendation of our expert foodologist Rashwin [ I really appreciate that througout the trip I thoroughly enjoyed all his suggestions! 😛 ] There we had among other things a cup-shaped idli, and a sweet named Chandrahaara – seemed to be a combination of… ok why spoil the surprise, you can try it if you go there some day, but I liked it a lot though others found it slightly heavy.

Later on we went to Nanjangudu, Elakki baLenu (banana) is supposed to be famous there and we almost went bananas trying to look for them – no shop had it and everyone kept redirecting us to some other place. But finally found out that the shops open only after 10 AM, and it was still 9:30 AM, and also that most of them are imported from Salem and other places and there isn’t that much of the local brand any more, so settled for some of the local bananas… (Rashwin needed to update his database)

The drive was pretty cool esp some roads like this one…

He sure has miles to go before he sleeps

Eventually reached the foothill of GopalaSwamy Betta…

…and drove up the hill (another option is to hike up) On the way Rashwin was telling us about all the elephants he’d seen right at that place in his previous visit there, and he kept seeing elephants in every boulder on the way. There was a song playing “kaNNaLLu neene… manasallu neene… ellelli neene kaaNuve” – seemed to be very apt to this situation “kaNNaLLu aane… manasallu aane… ellellu aane kaaNuve…” (everywhere I see ‘you’ –> ‘elephants’)

Very lovely peaceful temple…

Picturesque hills surrounded us with their lush green environment and exhilaratingly powerful cool breeze.


There, one can experience what Suresh was talking about on his site…

Green represents freshness , life, Aliveness.

The moment you land near mountains then your external stimulus comes to halt. With NO familiar sight to create thoughts in your head, first time you feel peaceful. Unimaginable serenity surrounds you.

Practice silence, Give yourself sometime to explore nature. Exploring nature your best chance to know life and yourself.

While we were walking back the clouds had darkened and there was a little bit of rain as well.

But the rain soon stopped, and as we were walking back… we noticed quite a bit of of plastic trash around the place. After exploring a bit, on the way back, since anyway we had a plastic cover, we started picking whatever we came across and putting it in the bag. There are some people who go on special treks just to clean out the entire place, so whatever we did was hardly significant. We came across another group of people, and I just mentioned to my friend how plastic was non-biodegradable, and continued to work. Somebody from that group started helping us too and it was really touching, I said “thank you”, and as an afterthought, added “…on behalf of nature” 😉 Even though we happened to have a very small cover, we could compress everything and manage to fit everything in there, and I was quite satisfied with the thoroughness of our job.

As Nipun has often noted, all the pollution we see outside can be a reminder that its a reflection of the pollution we have inside. He notes somewhere in his pages, and also a friend Upendra had once said, that when we are cleaning outside (with this understanding), we are cleaning both the outside as well as our heart. (In this way its nice to clean the house as well as well as the mind.)

Visited Bandipur which was just 5 kms away, but decided not to take the safari as it was to start at 3:30, another hour away, so we just walked around and saw a runaway tame elephant which a mahout chased and brought back…

We then drove around and had some close encounters with the deer kind…

(The deer at the beginning of this page is a cropped out version of a really mesmerizing but distant view on the way back).

Later on we went to Srirangapatna and just managed to catch a boat ride (and some birds) in time…

…and some crocs as well

Sliding off the rock into the river, swimming towards us and leaping out into the boat with its fierce jaws wide open, capsizing our boat and swallowing us all …is something that fellow did not do. Quite unlike what Chaitanya seemed to be imagining with his thorough interrogation of our boatman instructing him to keep a safe distance. Thanks Chaitanya for saving all of our lives, and probably the crocs’ as well, who knows what kind of indigestion it would’ve got had it eaten us (chandrahaaras and all :mrgreen: ) !

On the way back after a brief visit to someone’s house in Mysore, we went to a nearby Nimishaamba temple in Srirangapatna. Nimisha is “one minute” in Kannada, and it is said that whatever one prays for, one is granted within one minute! It was a really lovely temple…

next to a river…

…vaguely similar to the pictures I’ve seen (but never visited so far) of the ghats on the banks of the Ganges…

Inside the temple, I remembered Daduji‘s words… “what do Gods eat? They do not eat the fruits or flowers you offer them… they eat Punya! (merit)“. Merit is a most subtle gift that can actually be shared with others as an act of will. After all, ancient wisdom has said that pure love is not about bribing or flattering, but giving. So I stood there in silence for a while, and then atleast tried to do that… Well, with whatever little merit I might be having 😉 Eventually I did ask that my life be used for some useful purpose, and the welfare of my friends who were with me and all my family members.

Later on I happened to reflect on something that all of us would’ve experienced… something that Einstein has talked about… on how time can seem stretched or shrunk depending on different situations. My own theory is that it depends on levels of awareness, if our mind is really in that moment, our level of awareness is higher, and then a lot of things can be done in even very little time. Time may seem to slow down or even standstill, recall the movie Spiderman, a fight scene in the cafeteria. Or the more well known bullet evading scene in the Matrix. The biography of Aikido founder Morehei Ueshiba titled the Art of Peace vividly describes an incident where he walks across a war torn field unscathed. On the other hand, even a a supposed-to-be-slow-and-relaxing holiday may fly by, if one ends up getting all worked about about relaxing! 😆 And those familiar with mythology would know that one minute for a diety, is actually a very veeerrrry long time for a human! But we can hope that the “nimisha” referred to in the diety’s name refers to our human realm! 🙂

There are plenty of farmers selling fresh – Really Fresh – vegetables and fruits opposite to the temple. We bought quite a lot from there. There were some guys who were catching some crabs as well. The man holding the crab in the photo below (it was a live one and there’s a certain knack to holding them safely) was explaining how these crabs have pincers like scissors, and that once they grab an ankle and get a grip, they’ll cut right through! He said that they catch these crabs and drink ‘soup’ from it… different people different tastes!

(The idea did occur if somehow I could try to get the caught crab released back into the water, but it might be as good as dead already with all the manhandling. At times I find it hard to discriminate between a kind of quiet acceptance of the way the world works, or just a complacent attitude 🙄 )

Later on, I heard a Harikathe and wandered around to that place. The rest of the gang was hanging around near the temple and joined me later. Someone in the crowd came to me and explained that the orchaestra was part of celebrating Hanumajayanthi. I liked the simple arrangement in the village (notice someone holding a mike by hand in the video below) with all the kids sitting over there on the staircase. Sat there for a while, and took some pictures and also video from my mobile. The kids were pretty excited and started dancing as well 🙂

I took down the address from one of the adults I was talking to over there, and hope to keep my commitment of sending them printed photographs ( I’ve missed this on several occasions in the past! 😈 )

Had dinner with the second round at Shivalli Hotel … really excellent food. This time we did wonder whether Suryahaara (sun garland) isn’t available at night when chandrahaara was there for breakfast! Fell asleep in the car on the way back after Sanjeev’s assurance that he didn’t need our moral support to avoid doing so himself at the wheel. (Not that otherwise I’d have remained awake) It had been a long day that had started at 4:30 AM (we left Bangalore at 5:30) and returned home around 11:30 PM, for all of us it seemed to be much more than that!

28 Responses to “trip to himavad gopalswamy betta”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    post shows your love for nature wildlife environment and society. your views are always inspiring and great. you think about nature when u r there clean the environment take photos of village people. please dont forget to send the photos you can not imagine the happiness they get in villages by getting such things. I have experienced and sanjay please dont forget please send them the photographs after printing.
    wonderful time you had and all good places you visited great and simply great coverage. thanks a lot

  2. Suresh Panje Says:

    Hello, Dear Sanjay,
    How come you did not encounter any herd of wild elephants? You would have enjoyed to see how the young calf elephants are always protected by the elders in the herd.
    Wish you had met a bison or two. Anyway, thanks for sharing your trip with colourful enchanting snaps.
    Suresh Panje
    News Editor (ANI TV)
    New Delhi 110 022

  3. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Wow! Great snaps and funny commentary!

    Do send out the snaps which you promised, I had done that once during the trip to Murudeshwara. One village person(named Viveki) from Karwar had come there and requested that photographer for a photo. He demanded them to pay some 20bucks for a photo which they didn’t accept. I offered them to take a photograph and collected the address.

    It was digital camera, so I generally don’t print the photos but upload them onto internet or just download them to my laptop generally. But this viveki guy’s interest in the photo inspired me to get the photo printed. Eventually sent the snap after about a month. I hope he received it, well it was too late but ya, better late than never!

  4. msanjay Says:

    Praneshavare, even if I’d forgotten after seeing your comment i definitely will!

    Suresh, We only heard of elephants from Rashwin, but we did see a good deal of elephant dung as a consolation. We were in Bandipur for hardly an hour so that much was more than what we could’ve hoped for… maybe some other time if we go on a more detailed trip! The safari is at 6:30 AM, 3, 4, and 5 PM I think, so probably early in the morning or late in the evening one might stand a better chance.

    Veena, nice story and I’m sure he would’ve received it! I’ve procrastinated for the past 3 days already but I have a target of this weekend! 🙂

  5. Prashanth M Says:

    Wonderful photos…

  6. Srik Says:

    wow! Nice pictures.

  7. Sharatchandra Bhargav Says:

    Hi Sanjay, your posts always leave me in a very reflective, nostalgic and meditative mood. It was a wonderful endeavour in cleaning up the trash at the Betta. Kudos to all of you for that.

    We had also recently been to Mysore and Nanjungud; maybe I will be inspired enough to share some ramblings and photos myself sometime soon. Mysore still retains that old world charm which Bangalore has unfortunately lost. The Kukkanahalli Kere there is still beautiful and serene, making walking there in the midst of the beautiful Manasagangotri campus (prakritiya madilalli) a wonderful experience. As I said maybe someday, I’ll pen these thoughts down in a more organized manner. For now, keep writing, your posts are excellent as always.

    P.S: Do you have a reference site for T.N.Seetharam’s Minchu?

  8. msanjay Says:

    sharath if its just a one off post, you can feel free to write here itself, or you can easily start a site of your own at I would like to visit Mysore on a weekend sometime in the near future, and you seem to be talking about some nice spots – so really looking forward to your article…it sounds pretty interesting!

    Just google for minchu (which incidentally is not associated with TNS anymore afaik) and see the first result…!

  9. karthik Says:

    Holy !! its so green… when we had gone it was kinda dried up man …. and though we didnt spot any elephants we spotted a huge snake.. 😀
    Thanks a lot for all the valuable info , read all of it and went on bike from banglore:)

    ^ our visit to this wonderful place !!

  10. Sanjay M Says:

    Nice link Karthik… glad to hear from you! 🙂

  11. Ravi Raju SD Says:

    Really amazing photos

  12. Ravi Raju SD Says:

    Really Wonderful Photos

  13. shashi Says:

    good photo

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