After Mirjan Fort
After spending around 1 hr at Mirjan fort, we headed back to Kumta at 1 pm. The plan was to check in to the hot Mahalaxmi comforts at Kumta (where we had booked our stay), have lunch in Kumta, get refreshed for a while, and Visit Yana caves in the evening. Everything went as planned. We reached the hotel by 1:20 pm. Rooms at Majalaxmi comforts were neat and clean. It has good parking space too. A fairly good vegetarian restaurant on the ground floor. That was everything we desired for. After checking in, we had quick lunch at the hotel below and took a short break before starting to Yana caves at 2:40 pm
There are 2 options to reach Yana Caves from Kumta
1. From Sirsi – Kumta Road
2. From Achave Road
Sirsi – Kumta Road
Reaching Yana caves via Sirsi – Kumta Road is the shortest route from Kumta with only 28 km to travel. One thing to keep in mind while choosing this route is that you need to walk/ trek a long distance of more than 1 km to reach Yana caves. This forest trail can be thoroughly enjoyable for the youth and physically fit travelers but can prove tough for the elderly and kids.
Hiregutti – Achave Road
Keeping our parents in mind we chose the other option of Hiregutti – Achave road. The advantage that this route offers is the minimal walking distance of around 500m from the parking spot to Yana caves. It also gives you the pleasure of driving your vehicle through the rough road amid the thick forest. The disadvantage of choosing this option is that this route is much longer with 76km of drive mostly on the not very well conditioned road.
Vibhuthi Falls can also be reached from this route. This route takes diversions from Mabagi Junction. Vibhuthi Falls is just 2 km away from Mabagi Junction.
The next 7.5 km stretch from Mabagi to Yana Caves, parking is an interesting one. The broken tarmac road travels through the thick forest and has many crests and dips. Don’t get fooled by the vehicles parked far behind the actual parking spot. You can drive/ride your vehicle to the proper parking slot as shown in the video.
Yana Caves are a 500 m downslope walk away from the parking space. Forest Dept has provided benches and dustbins along the walking path.
Beware of slippery surface and blood-hungry leeches while walking. Yana caves welcome you with the spectacular view of 2 huge monoliths named Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara.
You need to leave the footwear at the Bhairaveshwara temple entrance and walk barefoot around the cave. An easy climb of around 90 steps from the temple will take you to the caves.
Yana Rocks comprise 2 major rock formations: Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara. There are over 60 limestone rock formations in the area of which 2 are notable.
The huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline Karst limestone.
Hindu mythology links this place with an event in the life of the Asura, or demon king Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura, by austere penance, obtained a boon from Lord Shiva. This boon made it so that when Bhasmasura placed his hand over anyone’s head, he would burn them up and turn them into ashes (bhasma). It is further narrated that, in order to test his powers, Bhasmasura wanted to place his hands on his patron Lord Shiva’s head. He chased Shiva, which unnerved Shiva and prompted him to move from his heavenly abode to earth to seek the help of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu transformed himself to help Shiva, adopting the form of a beautiful damsel named Mohini who enticed Bhasmasura with her beauty. Bhasmsura was quite infatuated by Mohini and agreed to a challenge she issued for a dance competition.
During the dance competition, Mohini cleverly performed the dance bhang (“pose”) with a hand over her head. Without realizing the gravity of this act, the demon king also placed his hand over his head and perished by the fire of his own hands, he was converted into ashes. It is believed that the fire that emanated during this act was so intense that the limestone formations in the Yana area were blackened. The loose black soil or ash seen around the two large rock formations in the area are cited as proof of the legend by devotees who see them as due to the fire and that ashes produced by Bhasmasura’s death. The two hillocks are also named for this event: the tall peak being Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (“Shiva’s hill”), and the smaller peak, a few steps down below, being Mohini Shikhara (“Mohini’s hill”) where an idol of goddess Parvathi is installed.
The Only Bitter Part
Yana is also the cleanest village and one of the wettest villages in Karnataka. The only thing we hated about the place is the new rule set by the authorities to mandatorily leave the footwear near the temple and walk barefoot around the caves. The last time when we visited this place in 2016 there were no such rules and the place was really tourist-friendly. What irks you more is poor maintenance of the walking path which is full of dust, slippery gravel, and sharp stones. This is a fine example of how the mixing up of religious (blind)beliefs can have the potential of spoiling the experience of such a nice eco-tourism spot.
Route we took
Live the experience
Best way to experience the place is to watching it yourself..