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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yana Rocks and Caves, Uttara Kannada-Explored

Yana was on my wishlist for long. There existed a kannada saying “ಸೊಕ್ಕಿದ್ದರೆ ಯಾಣ, ರೊಕ್ಕಿದ್ದರೆ ಗೊಕರ್ಣ” Which translates to “if you have lots of money, go to Gokarna, (a place in coastal Karnataka, between Kumta and Karwar), if you have guts, go to Yana”. This is because a decade ago, Yana was in deep forest, not easily accessible to general public. Reaching Yana involved 15-20kms of trekking in dense forest and climbing tough rocks and boulders. Hence an expedition to Yana would demand lots of time, fitness and stamina.

However things have changed now. There is a drivable road which can take you as close as 3kms (there’s another road from Sirsi which can take you closer to 2kms). The last few kms has bad roads and closed for private vehicles, but bikers do manage to ride through this close to the rocks. A trip to Yana is now not as adventurous as it was earlier. Yana has started to get touristy, with crowds thronging in large numbers and polluting it with plastic and other dumps.

We reached just before dawn and trekked last 3 kms to reach the foot of gigantic rocks of Yana. Accompanied by a small stream and chirping sound of birds and because sun hadn’t raised yet, the journey was quite enjoyable.

We first spotted the southern rock, Mohini Shikhara (90 meters high) and then proceeded to view the bigger one, Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (120 meters high). 


The names Mohini and Bhairaveshwara comes from an ancient belief. There existed a Rakshasa named Basmasura. He pleased lord Shiva with his tapas and was awarded a prize- anyone whose head he touches with his palm would be reduced to ashes (Basma). But things get worse when Basmasura wants to try his new found power on the very person who granted it- on Lord Shiva. Sensing trouble, Lord Shiva runs to Lord Vishnu, explains the situation and seeks help. Lord Vishnu takes form of a beautiful woman, named Mohini and goes in front of Basmasura. Basmasura takes the bite, tries to win Mohini's love and proposes to her. Mohini puts forward a condition that Basmasura should win a dance competition with her, should repeat her steps exactly as she does it. Basmasura agrees and the competition begins. As the dance progresses, Mohini places her hand over her head. Basmasura has forgotten that his hands have a unique power to burn anyone whose head it touches. As he repeats Mohini's steps and places his hand over his head, he burns himself and becomes a fist full of ashes. Thus Vishnu ends an evil force and restores peace. 

At the bottom of Bhairaveshwara rock lies a small temple, of Lord Shiva, with belief that the lingam is self emerged and not placed there manually.






We enjoyed walking round the temple, in between gigantic rocks. Because the path goes around a temple, one is expected to walk without footwear. Be careful of the sharp edges and other things while you place your steps. The massiveness of these rocks consume you while you look around in amusement. These rocks have been lucky to be away from human habitation for long and amidst nature. Temple premise has running tap water to wash your feet.

The serenity of Yana is capable of leaving you mesmerized.  Forget your daily worries and give in yourself to nature. You will relish the moments you spent viewing these huge rocks. Unless some loud group of youngsters or school children happen to visit at same time, Yana offers extreme calmness, broken only by the chirping of birds.
  
  







There is a walkable path around the temple, passing in between the rocks. Lots of honey bee hives are located under the rocks, with green bee eaters flying around and feeding on some of these. Be careful not to disturb them.

There’re two shops near the rocks which sell nice tender coconut (Rs 20 each) and other light food and drinks.

Reaching Yana: 
Yana is 460 kms from Karnataka's capital, Bangalore. Kumta is the nearest town (20kms) to Yana, which is well connected by train and road. (Most of Bangalore-Karwar buses go through Kumta). Nearest airports are Goa and Mangalore.

There's another direct road from Sirsi, if you're coming from Belgaum side.

How much time to spare at Yana: Half day, for a leisurely exploration. Few hours, if you're very short of time.

If you're driving to Goa from Bangalore, you can easily spare few hours to take a quick diversion and explore Yana. Even otherwise, your exploration of Karnataka is incomplete unless you check out Yana rocks and caves.

Best time to visit Yana: Can be visited all through the year. Be prepared for leeches during monsoon months (June-September)

Nearby places you can visit along with Yana: Gokarna, Karwar, Unchalli Falls, Dandeli, Jog Falls

9 comments :

Indrani said...

Interesting. You got a good series from there.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Indrani

magiceye said...

Wow! Would love to visit!! Thank you

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Deepak

R Niranjan Das said...

I must visit this place. Lovely description!

Vivek Pal said...

Yana Seems to be Amazing and Stunning Cave . Beautifully written and amazing pictures....

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Vivek

Thanks Niranjan. Do visit on your way back

Sujai Sparks said...

Hi, Is it easy and safe for kids (age 6-10) to walk up to the foot of Yana? Is it a rocky climbing terrain? Please suggest as I'm planning to drive from bangalore with my wife and kids..Also, do you suggest we hire a cab (staying@hotel) instead of we driving? Please advice.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Sujai

It is pretty safe for small kids to walk- ensure proper shoes are put on.

You can drive yourself, unless your car is too delicate for moderately tough roads. The road was not great but easily manageable when we went 2 years ago. Go in your car, assuming you stay in Kumta or somewhere, check at hotel for latest road conditions. If you are not comfortable/confident then rent a cab locally for a day.