Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is the highest peak in Bandipur National Park. It attracts a large number of trekkers, pilgrims and nature lovers throughout the year. The hill is about 75 Km from Mysore and is located in Chamarajnagar district.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is a small hill in the core zone, and can be accessed by a small road through the village of Hangala, north of the national park. Gopalaswamy Betta (Betta is hill in Kannada) located inside the forest is a popular trekking spot. Atop the hill is a temple of Lord Venugopala Swamy built seven centuries ago and a travellers’ bungalow which remains locked now and belonged to the Ruler of Mysore.
The temple was built in Chola regime and there are 25 tirthas called the chakra tirtha. The area is also frequented by herds of wild elephants. The sobriquet Himavad (fog in Kannada) is because most of the year, there is a veil of mist covering the whole area and winds blowing through the trees are like a song in praise of the lord. Staying beyond 5:30 PM is not allowed. These hills are covered with grass and classified as shola forests. The forest is also a treasure trove of a variety of birds, animals and plant species. One may visit this place en-route Mysore.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna (Venugopalswamy) and was built by King Chola Ballala of Terakanambi during 1315 AD. It is located at about 1,454 mts above sea level. This is one of the higest peaks in the Bandipur National Park region. This peak is covered with mist almost all around the year. Thus the name Himada Gopalaswamy Betta, meaning a “Hill dedicated to Gopalaswamy which is covered with mist” in Kannada.
The view around the hill is simply beautiful. There are about 77 lakes, big and small around the hill. The radius of the hill is about 6kms. About 1km from behind the temple is a holy rock and it is believed that any childless couple who come here walking and pray, will be blessed with a child.