The Buddhist have their prayer flags. Something similar is found at Gopinath Betta in Chikkaballapur.
The hills have a great influence on the life of the people in the district. Every hill has some significance and people go up these hills during different seasons for different reasons. Even if the path to the hill is a difficult one or full of rocks, people will beat a path to the top.
Legends and beliefs
Gopinath Betta is one such hill in a series of hills. Here people come in droves. Some to see the huge boulders and rocks, others to seek blessings at the Lakshmi-Narasimha temple.
Many devotees take a vow and tie cloth pieces to the branches and the thorns of a bilva patra tree which is found on the top of the hill. There is a belief that in doing so one’s wishes will be fulfilled.
Bilva tree itself if considered sacred in the Hindu tradition. Ayurveda values the Bilva highly for the medicinal properties contained in its root, fruit and leaves. It is a healing tree which cures all diseases caused by vata (wind) and gives strength to the body.
Tree and religion
This trifoliate leaf is symbolic of trikaal or the Hindu trinity of devas known as Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh. The Bilva leaf or patra as it is known, represents the trinetra or three eyes of Lord Shiva. Bilva tree grows to a height of 8 meters with thorns.
There is no proper road to reach the top of the hill. It is difficult to traverse the mud road. Yet women, children and elders ascend the hill. After going around the hills once, they then come to the bilva tree and tie a cloth piece to the branches and thorns of the tree after praying for their wish.
“Such a practice is quite popular in North India. In South India, practices such as breaking coconuts, shaving the head and feeding the devotees are popular while taking a vow or seeking favours and graces from the divine”, says Gopalaswamy, who delivers discourses.
“It is not clear whether the wishes of the people are fulfilled here or not. But it is quite common to see people tie cloth pieces and then untie (remove) them a few days later when their wishes are fulfilled. This practice has been going on for a number of years and still continues”, he adds.
The hill also affords a picturesque view of the surroundings and dwellings below. Besides women, children and elders, this place is also popular with the youth.