Coastal Karnataka Day 4 – Trek to Yana Caves

Place: Yana Caves and Rocks, Yana

Distance: 444 km from Bangalore
Type: Trek
Trek Distance: 3 km
Ideal for: Family and Friends
Best time to visit: Post Monsoon

Our Coastal Karnataka trip was going on a lazy mode. We were hardly covering one or two places per day but we were not compromising on food and sleep πŸ˜€ Well, most of my trips used to be on a tight schedule, more concerned about seeing the places but this time we were just chilling out.

Best of the Beast:  Nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by a thick forest, stand the black limestone monoliths of Yana village. Courtesy: Sharat Chandra

The New Year Eve celebration was amazing yesterday night. We went to sleep only after 3 am so we woke up late in the morning at 11 am. Today’s agenda was just to visit Yana and go back to Bangalore.

How did our 4 days trip go you ask?

After searching for a while we found a decent restaurant at Kumta for breakfast. Yana is 28 km from Kumta, but because it passes through Ghat section it took close to an hour to reach Yana. On the way, we stopped at Agnashini River bridge which looked astonishing. The 5-minute break turned into 30 minutes photo session as everyone wanted a perfect profile picture for their social media. It was 1 in the afternoon and the sun was high in the sky. Finally, after lots of twists and turns in the Ghat, we reached Yana.

Incredible view of the Agnashini River

I could stare at the calm river for hours together and never get bored.

The complete Gang in a single frame.

Brief about Yana: Hidden gem in the Uttara Kannada District, Yana shot to fame after being portrayed as a picnic spot in the Kannada movie, Nammoora Mandara Hoove. Yana finds a mention in mythology, after earning a boon from Shiva to turn anyone he touches into ash, the demon Bhasmasura tries to touch the head of Shiva, who pleads to Vishnu to intervene. Vishnu appears to Bhasmasura in the form of the alluring Mohini, charming him so completely that the demon proposes to her. Mohini agrees but on one condition – he will have to match her steps as she dances. The demon immediately agrees, and as the dance progresses, he forgets his boon. Mohini touches her head and Bhasmasura follows suit. The explosion was so intense that it turned the stones this dark.

Route map of Yana Caves

There are two routes to reach Yana, one is from Kumta (the one we took) and other is from Sirsi. To reach Yana Rocks from the parking spot one has to do mild trekking. The trek distance is more and slightly difficult from Kumta side and it is shorter and easier from the Sirsi side. Make sure you take the same route back while descending otherwise you will be lost in the woods.

Even though it was a weekday there was a considerable number of vehicles parked in the parking area. There are no restaurants but there were few stalls selling refreshments and water. We carried a water bottle and a cold drink.

The board welcomes to Yana. The trek starts from this parking area.

There are no restaurants but few stalls selling refreshments and water

Trek time: After visiting beaches every day for the past 3 days we were happy to see greenery and forest on the 4th day. The trek is 3 km long and the first part of the trek is slanted and doesn’t have steps and the second part is steep and it is assisted by steps. Undoubtedly the first part of the trek was the most beautiful. With greenery surrounded on both the sides, the route covered by shades which makes it easy to trek at any time of the day.

The route is covered by thick forest on either side making it trekkable at any time of the day

There is also a tiny water stream running along the route which makes the trek charming. During monsoon, this path will be covered by blood-sucking leeches, so if you are attempting this trek during monsoon then make sure you have precaution taken to avoid leeches (read my post about Bandaje falls where we encountered the worst experience with leeches).

There is a small water stream to the right en route. Don’t forget to have a look at it.

Bluetooth speaker vs Birds calls it was.

We took a stop to visit the water stream on the right. The bird call and the stream gurgle added to the beauty of nature. About 3km away, we finally reach a small Ganesh temple after which the steps started. The steps are well placed and are easier to climb. Finally, we could see the first rock – Mohini Shikara to our left. The rock is about 90m tall and it is the most beautiful rock.

Ganesha temple on the way. After this point, the stairs start.
Stunning view of the Mohini Shikara at Yana. 

The 90 meters tall Mohini Shikara is the most beautiful Rock among the two peaks

The surrounding thick forest is a sight to behold

The last stretch of the Trek.

We crossed a bridge and continued past it to the cave temple at the base of Bhairaveshwara Shikara, the taller peak at 120m. There is a small cave temple at the base of the hill dedicated to Bhairaveshwara. After paying our respects to the naturally formed lingam deep inside the cavernous sanctum sanctorum, we proceed to circumambulate the rock. There are stairs which pass through the center of Bhairaveshwara hills

The 120-meter tall Bhairaweshwara Shikara is the biggest Monolith here.

Temple at the base of the hill is dedicated to Bhairaveshwara

The naturally formed linga in the Sanctum is worshipped by devotees.

The Yana caves look marvelous as you get closer to it

As we look up at the sky, the sheer enormity of the massif makes us speechless

The soaring black limestone peaks of Yana
Silhouette of the Mohini Shikara 

We wanted to get into the water while returning but we were running out of time so we decided to skip it for this time. The next destination was directly Bangalore. It was almost 4.30 pm by the time we started driving back. We stopped near Devimane for a tea break and sightseeing. We took another stop at Sirsi for minor car repair. We reached Bangalore at 3 am.

We took a shop at This view point

There is a small temple here. The place is named as Devimane

And this is the stunning view from the temple

Important Notes:
1. Yana temple timings: 6 AM to 7 PM
2. The route is well-marked, so there is no need for a guide. 
3. Ensure that you are well-covered, especially in the monsoons as there will be leeches.
4. The trek is medium in difficulty from Kumta side, I saw elder people climbing along so it shouldn’t be a big issue if you are planning to get your parents here.
5. The 3km-long trek begins from Sundholle via Anegundi, while the 0.5km route is closer to Sirsi.
6. There are no entry fees but there is a nominal parking charge. 
7. There are basic functional toilets at the entrance.
8. Make sure you descend from the same route as you ascended.

Check out the remarkable drone footage of Yana on Sharat Chandra’s youtube video. PS: The aerial view of the Yana caves are captured from the same youtube video.

Read all the posts of the 4 days Coastal Karnataka trip
Coastal Karnataka trip Day 1 – Panambur beach, Mangalore
Coastal Karnataka Day 2 – Saavira Kambada Basadi
Coastal Karnataka Day 2 – St Mary’s island, Malpe.
Coastal Karnataka Day 3 – Celebrating New Year at Om Beach, Gokarna.

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