Bettadapura Hill and Golden Temple – Summer Ride 16/04/2016

Place: Bettadapura hill and Golden Temple Tibet colony, Bylakuppe, Karnataka
Distance: 450 km round trip
Route: Vijaynagar -> Mysore -> KR Nagar -> Bettadapura -> Golden temple
Bikes: Bajaj Avenger Cruise and Suzuki Zixxer
Crew:  VinayUmesh and Sagar (Myself)
Type: Trekking
Ideal for: Friends
Budget: 1000/Head

It had been two months since my last trip to Hulukaddi betta, as summer is not really a good time for bike rides and trekking. I refrained from any travel plans. Gradually, Bengaluru’s summer had slowly scaled down. Moreover, Vinay’s friend Umesh was all set with his Avenger cruise. These reasons were enough for me to push myself for this long ride. I know Umesh from my last ride to Hesaraghatta grasslands. 
Sooner, I had this plan to possess my dream bike Avenger, so it was a great opportunity to know and understand the bike better. The plan was quite simple – Will halt at Umesh’s home which is in KR Nagar (around 40 km from Mysore). Next day, visit Bettadapura and Golden temple and return to Bengaluru. Being Pillion rider sucks, but since my Discover 125 couldn’t withstand long rides, I reluctantly decided to be pillion rider for Umesh.
Best of the beast: Golden temple. Bylakuppe
Brief about the places:
Bettadapura Hill: Bettadapura Hill houses Sidlu Mallikarjuna temple, built by Cholas centuries ago. It is believed that during Diwali, lightning would strike the temple at least once. Hence the name – Sidlu means lightning and Mallikarjuna is another name of Lord Shiva.
Golden Temple, Bylakuppe/Tibet colony: Bylakuppe is the largest Tibetan settlement in India located near Kushalanagar, Kodagu district. Golden Temple is a major attraction at Bylakuppe. The richly gold painted Buddhist statues in the monastery are impressive and unique, reflects the cultural heritage of Tibetans.

Friday evening: Vinay and me left home at 8 pm, Umesh was already waiting for us near the Mysore nice road junction. Took another 30 minutes to reach there. 

The ride: After a formal greeting and refueling we were all set for the long ride. I had been on Mysore road several times and I always feel home when I ride this stretch. With minimal traffic we rode at a normal pace and finally, when our stomach started growling we pulled over for dinner before Mandya. We had light meal as we shouldn’t be dozed off with heavy meal. I was sitting behind Umesh, he rides too fast 😡 riding at 110-120 kmph is not something I am used to, he literally took hell out of me. As we moved on, the cold was unbearable, we paused couple of times for tea. We finally reached Mysore ring road where we took the diversion to K R Nagar, another 35 km to our destination. 

Finally, we reached Umesh’s home at 12:30 in the night. Three and half hour of the ride made us tired, but we were equally excited for the next day. We decided to get up early in the morning and visit places around. It took no time for us to fall in deep sleep.

Saturday Morning: Before the Sun rose, the early morning was greeted by a hot cup of tea and biscuits. We freshen up and left home as early as 6 in the morning. We planned to cover Bettadapura, Golden temple and Dubare (if time permits) in a single day.

I started navigation to Bettadapura Hills, Google guru said its 35 kms and would take an hour to reach. I love riding in the early morning, this time I had a reason to rejoice as I was riding Avenger. The bike offered superb comfort and quality riding experience throughout the stretch, totally enjoyed it. In about an hour around 8 am, we reached a small village where we had breakfast to boost our spirits. Umesh informed about the trekking at the hills, so we carried a bottle of water and some snacks.

Somewhere on the way to Bettadapura
Lush green paddy fields almost throughout the stretch

Bettadapura Hill: We parked our bike at the arch near the entrance. We observed a car being parked there, which gave a hint about other tourists at this place. The guard at the entrance asked us to write our names in a register book before proceeding and also warned us about the leopard spotted recently near the hills. It was 9 in the morning when we started, sun was already up but it wasn’t much hot as we expected.

Gopuram at the entrance
3600 steps to be climbed
Gopuram at regular intervals for quick power break

The Trek: The entire stretch is laid by 3600 odd steps which should make ascending the hill easy for the trekkers. Having steps for the entire trail makes the trek less adventurous but makes it safer and guides the route. Even though we didn’t sense any signs of a leopard being around, it was in our mind throughout the trek. The climbing seemed easy at the beginning but in no time we were tired as hell, it made me realize how unfit I am now a days. Unless you put yourself through tough times you never realize your strength and weakness. It’s time for me to hit the gym and keep up my stamina. We crossed the group which was descending, they were the ones whose car was parked at the base. After talking to them we got to know that they were also from Bangalore and had come especially to visit this place.
Trail isn’t much steep but its quite long
Surrounding hills and the view as you go higher and higher
Ruins of one of the temple almost near the summit
They are on a B.R.E.A.K (Only friends fan can understand this 😉
Nandi facing the main temple.
There are no food or water available for the entire stretch so make sure to carry all the supplies, there are mantapas at regular interval to take rest and relax. After a lot of small breaks we finally reached the summit, it took roughly one hour to climb at normal pace.
Kudos we made it to the top within an hour, last few steps

The temple:
As we approached the peak we were greeted by ruins of the temple and a lot of monkeys. Throughout the trek I observed around 6-10 Nandi statues at different levels, all were facing the main temple. Spectacular landscape view, cold breeze kissing our face drained away the tiredness. Peak summer afternoon didn’t offer a soothing climate, but I think during early morning climate must be good. The temple has a compound built on the foundation of stone slabs.

The temple compound built on the foundation of stone slabs
I wonder how the place is still preserved for so long,
if maintained well it could attract a log of tourists every year
There are only some remains of the temple in some parts.
Some part of the temple is closed, but you can always explore the surroundings

The linga inside the sanctum sanctorum is two-and-a-half-feet high and is called by various names such as Sidlu Mallikarjuna, Annadani Mallikarjuna, Bhutanatha, Vijayadrinatha etc. Each name has a myth surrounding it. The temple got its name of Sidlu Mallikarjuna, because it has been hit by lightning so many times. 

Inside the temple.
Another pillar of Nandi on the other side, gaurding the Shiva linga.
Beautiful design on one of the doors of the temple
There we go, hot or cold – always ready to pose


We visited the temple and explored the surrounds. After spending good two hours we decided to leave the place at 12 pm. It was a peak summer time and the sun was high upon us. Took around half an hour for the descent.

Bettadapura Hills to Golden Temple: Our next destination was Golden temple, Bylakuppe. Again GPS guru said it’s just 21 km away and should take around an hour to reach. The road condition was pathetic which made the ride one hell of a experience. Riding off road on Avenger is even more tougher as it has got a shorter suspension and wider handle bar 🙁 We should have realized when the maps said it would take an hour to cover just 20 km. We took a break for chilled butter milk as the sun was intense and we were getting dehydrated. Finally we reached Golden temple at 2.30, after light lunch at nearby restaurant we proceeded towards the golden temple.

Golden Temple: A typical Buddhist monastery welcomed us. The place was quiet and calm, resembling the spirituality of Buddhism. The first view of the Golden temple was huge colorful structure in the center surrounded by well maintained lawns.
Iconic building you see as soon as you enter the premises
Side view of the above building
Don’t miss taking photo in front of this bell opposite to main temple
Main temple which houses 40 ft tall golden statue of Buddha and prayer hall

We were greeted by smiling tibetan kids, they looked like the cute tiny monks. We entered the prayer hall which is the main temple where 40 ft tall golden statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Amitayus are installed. The surrounding walls of the hall are decorated with rich paintings depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology. Believe me, they are a feast to eyes. One can relate to a lot of mythology stories here. Take time to have a small walk around the hall and explore.
Paintings near the entrance of the prayer hall
Prayer hall, 40 ft tall golden statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Amitayus
40 ft tall golden statues of Buddha
Beautiful paintings on the walls depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology
Painting of Buddha
Side view of the prayer hall
The silence here relaxes you. It’s a really peaceful place to meditate. The clean atmosphere maintained here is worth appreciating.
It was prayer time so we were asked to move out and wait for 20-30 minutes till the prayer is finished.
It was already 5 pm, we didn’t had any energy to visit Dubare. We had to ride back 60 odd km to reach Umesh’s home. We left the place after buying couple of beautiful crafts sold near the temple. We rode at a normal pace, the route was much smoother. We reached home at 7 pm. We had our dinner and slept peacefully.
Sunday morning: We decided to leave early to Bengaluru. Thanks to aunt who prepared nice breakfast for us. We packed our bags and departed by 10 am. We drove for 4 straight hours at a high pace and finally we reached home back by 2 pm.
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