News Karnataka
Tuesday, May 17 2022
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Yana: Breathtaking blend of mythology and nature

India is a home for caves. We see a number of caves gere which is unique from each other in its nature. When it comes to our State, Karnataka, we have caves ranging from stone to wax among others. Some caves are man-made and some others are natural. And one of the best example for natural, rocky cave is Yana.

Yana is situated in Kumta Taluk of Uttara Kannnada District. It is in the range of Western Ghats. Yana is famous for its naturally formed limestone caves. Yana caves are in the middle of the forest which enhances the beauty of the caves. There is so much to do and explore in Yana rocks that one could easily spend 2 days hiking and sight-seeing.

Black limestone rock formations form the backdrop of this area. There are two main hillocks here namely, the Mohini Shikhara at an elevation of 90 metres and the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara at 120 metres. The rocky formations arenkarst enveloped by dense forests in the Sahyadri hill range. There are over 60 limestone rock formations in the area of which 2 are notable.

The Bhairaveshwara Shikhara named after Lord Shiva is 390 feet while the Mohini Shikhara named after Mohini, an avatar of Lord Vishnu is 300 feet tall. Karst refers to soluble rock formations made up of dolomite, limestone and gypsum.

Below the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is a 9.8 foot tall opening in the rock that leads to a cave. The cave houses a bronze statue of Chandika and a self-manifested Shiva Linga over which water drips down from the roof of the cave. This water emerges as the Chandihole, a small stream that merges with the Aghanashini river. According to Hindu mythology, Yana is linked to an event in the life of the demon king Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura was given a boon by Lord Shiva that if he were to place his hand over anyone, the person would burn up and turn to ashes.
He wanted to test his powers by placing his hands on Lord Shiva’s head and chased him to do this. Shiva sought the help of Lord Vishnu. In response, Vishnu transformed himself into a beautiful woman called Mohini. Mohini challenged Bhasmasura to a dance competition and fooled him into placing his hand on his own head. He was then turned to ashes. The heat from this event was so intense that it blackened the nearby limestone formations, goes the mythical story.

Yana is also seen in several Kannada films. Nammura Mandara Hoove movie picturised this place wonderfully.

Gokarna, Murdeshwara, Sirsi, Sahasralinga, and Yallapura are the nearby places one can visit during Yana trip. The best time to visit Yana is between October and April.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Raksha Deshpande

The author is a postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Karnataka University, Dharwad. Her interests range from literature, history, travel to politics, and is keenly interested to write human interest stories and articles relating to literature, travel.

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