Hike To Yana Caves
There is a saying in Kannada for Yana “Sokkidhavanu Yanakke hogutaane, rokkiddhavanu Gokarna ke hoguthane” which translates to “People with Money Go to Gokarna and with Guts come to Yana”. Mostly because of the dense forest you had to cover in old times with no proper roads. But now its changed you have good roads to drive and a beautiful hike after that. Yana is recommended for its unusual black rock formations. The most famous of them include the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara the tallest and the Mohini Shikhara.
How to Reach
From our hotel in Gokarna, Yana was approx 50kms. So we drove through villages, and a dense forest with boards of Cheetah, Snakes and other wild animals. The forest ride is shaded and its tough to judge the time while riding.
We reached the location where we had to park our vehicles. And continue with the 30minutes hike into the forest. You will see a well stocked kiosk with snacks and water before entering the forest. You must collect some drinking water to keep you hydrated through the hike.
We started our hike when it started to drizzle and heavy showers accompanied later. We packed our devices in a plastic bag and started walking. The walk was accompanied by other tourists some running due to the rain and others ignoring it. You will see beautiful small waterfalls on your journey top in the forest. Wooden benches and dustbins made out of trunks of trees. Small huts you can take shade when it’s raining but we continued on our journey to the top.
We climbed approx 250 steps to reach the compound of the rocks. Where you can see a temple attached to the giant rock. The story about these rocks comes from Hindu Mythology.
A Demon King Bhasmasura who obtained a boon from Lord Shiva. To be able to burn anyone to ashes whenever he places his hand on their head. The demon king thought to test his powers by placing his hand on Shiva’s head. So he started running after Shiva while he tried to escape from the king. Seeing this all the Gods in heaven got worried and went to Lord Vishnu who is considered to resolve all problems.
To protect Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu turned himself into a beautiful woman (Mohini) to entice the demon king for a dance competition. While dancing, Mohini placed her hand over her head which was repeated by the demon king forgetting the circumstances leading to burn himself to ashes. They say that the fire was so vast that it blackened these rock formations.
Entering the Caves
We were already wet and about to get dirtier with the black soil inside those caves. You need to take off your shoes at the entrance to be able to go into the caves. Walk carefully on some sharp slippery pebbles to reach the stairs to the top into the caves.
The caves were dark with openings at top allowing some light to enter. Which looked like enigma in the daylight but would transform to a haunted place at night for sure. The cave walls had a black dirt which is better not to come in contact with.
At the other end of the cave you walk down the stairs covered with trees which was a pleasant view. Crossing which you reach the compound where you started the climb of the caves.
The temple below Bhairaveshwara rock is also a pilgrimage centre after Gokarna. People come to visit the Linga which is said to have emerged itself at that place. Another interesting fact is that water from the roof keeps driping on the linga.
One more advice to check your feet when you reach the end as i found a leech between my fingers. So take care. It was a great place to go if you are around that area. But don’t forget to leave on time as these places get dark very early and dangerous with wild animals.
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