Of tall pines and a blanket of mist

Of tall pines and a blanket of mist

Three of us set out on the trail. At 6 am, the area was enveloped by a blanket of mist and it was impossible for us to see anything further than a few tens of metres away. As the mist lifts, one can spot many hamlets that dot the base of the hill. Pastoral scenes such as smoke rising from a chimney in a faraway hamlet, farmers on the way to their fields along with their cattle and the red soil at the base of the hill beckon.

Up the hills
After a couple of kilometres, the trail begins to move up the mountain. The ascent is pretty steep with many vertical slopes. The forest grows thicker and deeper.
The trees in the backdrop of fog offer excellent photo opportunities. It takes more than an hour to complete a trail covering four kilometres, which is exactly half way up the hill. Undulating hills loom large at this point. This place commands a view of ridges of hills, lingering mist and sun rays trying to peep through the mist. By 8:30 am, one is almost near the peak.

There are some pine trees on the road side. It is said that the British planted these trees during their innumerable visits to the Gopalaswamy hills.  The weather is salubrious and the early morning rays of light pierce through the fog as a crisp, fresh smell of pine hangs in the air. For the religiously inclined, there is a temple of Himavad Gopalaswamy at the summit.

The temple makes a pretty picture, surrounding by eucalyptus trees and a heavy mist engulfing it. In the forest in the vicinity of the temple is a lake.
An immense cloud of vapour drifts above the surface of the water, making for a breathtaking picture. As we traverse the rocky and grassy trails, the hills of Bandipur range enthralls us.

Getting there
Himavad Gopalaswamy betta is 75 kms away from Mysore.
Take a deviation towards the right at Hangala village after Gundlupet on Bandipur road and proceed 11 km on the same road to reach the hills.
Ashok Uchangi

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