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Yana - A Must for Hikers/Trekkers
Yeshwanth MCH, Bangalore

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Trekking/Hiking: KumaraParvatha

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“Sokkidhavanu Yanakke hogutaane, rokkiddhavanu Gokarna ke hoguthane”, hence goes the saying in this part of the world. “The one with tremendous guts and determination goes to Yana and the one with money bags goes to Gokarna “, a pilgrim place close by, this saying personifies the trek to Yana of the past. So it was in the past since Yana is in the heart of the dense forests of Western Ghats in Karwar district of Karnataka. Now the things have changed and the civilization has arrived here with the motor able roads, hotels and of course, with its own ills.

Yaana Trekking:  Looking at the Mohini Shikara from the base of the Bhairaveshwara Shikara
Looking at the Mohini Shikara from the base of the Bhairaveshwara Shikara

Yanna Trekking: As you enter Yana you come across this gigantic Bharavishwara Shikara.Yes, commercialization Yana has begun in a big way. Yana is situated in the lush evergreen forests of the Sahyadri Range of Mountains. It is 25 km from Kumta or can also be approached from Sirsi, which is about 40 km . Sirsi is around 400 Km from Bangalore . From Bangalore you come to Sirsi though Haveri where the major distance of the drive would be on NH4 else from Shimoga route, which is the Bangalore –Honnavar highway. 

We took the Haveri route to Sirsi and arrived at the place called Vaddi cross. Earlier all the motor able roads would end here and the trek to Yana from here would be 17 km. Now we have roads, which take very close to Yana. The road ends 3 km from Yana. We started the trek at this point .The entire mountain ranges were covered with green cover of trees was inviting us to explore them. It was very soothing to in this wilderness without noise and pollution of the concrete jungle. There is well-defined path from here to the Yana used by devotees and trekkers here. 

Yaana Hiking: Another view of the Bhairaveshwarashikara
Another view of the Bhairaveshwarashikara

After walking for 3km all of a sudden appear two gigantic peaks towering around all the forests and mountains, The Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the Mohini Shikhara. These two shikharas are the ones, which have made Yana distinct from other regions in the Sahyadri and have captured the imagination of generations of people. These two peaks are one of the mysteries of the Mother Nature yet to unraveled as two how there are here in the midst of forest terrain. The taller one ,Bhairaveshwara Shikhara stands 120 meters and the slightly smaller one Mohini Shikhara is 90 meters from its base. They are solid composition of black, crystalline limestone. These rocks have stood for centuries as witness to the growth of civilization.

Yaana Trekking: Forests surrounding the Yana Peaks
Forests surrounding the Yana Peaks

Still mesmerized at the peak we walked to the base of the peak. Bingo ! What do you see. We have a shop here selling Coca Cola .At the base of the Bhairaveshwara shikhara is a cave temple a natural formation where resides the Lord Shiva . Water drips from the projecting rocks over the linga, and devotees call it Gangodbhava. The cave also has a bronze icon of Chandika, an incarnation of mother Goddess Durga. Trickled from the rocks form a small river, 'Chandihole' which joins the Aghanashini river at Uppinapattana. There is a grand jatra held every year during Shivaratri for 10 days and is attended by around 10,000 people. Devotees are allowed inside the cave only on these days .These peaks have a myth associated with them as to be the place where Lord Vishnu as Mohini killed the Bhasmasura a rakshasa.

Yaana Hiking: Mohini Shikara standing tall above the surrounding forests.
Mohini Shikara standing tall above the surrounding forests.

We made the temple foyer as our base camp. Mind you this place is very sacred and the priests have to be notified about using the premises.Infact you are not allowed to walk with the footwear on the whole the Bhairaveshwara shikhara itself is revered and looked upon as Lord Shiva abode .We cooked and packed our lunch and started out.

Yana Hiking: Mohini Shikara seen through the trees.Out of the temple starts out the steps, which lead to the Mohini Shikhara ,we have descent around 30 to 40 feet. At the foot of the shikhara is Goddess Parvati’s udbhava murti. Here we find many pitch dark caves and can here the errie noises of the bats. The rock formations are terrific .Some of rocks are just sitting tantalizingly at the edges of other rocks and looks as though they may roll any time .But they wont! We explored a bit around these areas. We had local guide to help us out to explore this area. A guide is recommended are it is very easy to get lost in this area if we miss a turn.

We took a deviation into the forests and did some exploration. The variety of flora is amazing ,with all the various varied colorful wild flowers and creepers with curves ,etc. We tried to identity some of these plants ,but without success .It is a treat to see all these at such a close proximity of the unspoilt nature. We went around the shikhara and this place is a very good spot for Rock climbing. The rocks are inviting us to climb them with their various formations. 

Yana Trekking: One of the many ingenious Rock Formations in Yana area.
One of the many ingenious Rock Formations in Yana area.

Yana Hiking: Scenery on the way to the Vibhuti Halls These rocks have all levels of difficulty to quench the thirst of any avid rock climber. If you are not used to rock climbing better not try, as the changes are you will also become a relic along with the rocks. Many caves are present amongst these rocks and are a very good place for camping .It was delight to discover the caves and climb up and down them. Our guide says that there are many such places and even two to three days are not sufficient for exploring them. We did some more exploration for a couple of more hours and with the impending darkness ,it was time to get back to the camp. The terrain makes it very difficult to walk in the darkness even with torches as it is very dicey with all the slopes covered by trees and shrubbery. In the darkness too the peaks looks ominous as they are pitch black and are a formidable sight .

Yaana Trekking: Water flowing placidly after forming the Vibhuti FallsWe had tasty dinner of sambar and rice courtesy of some culinary experts in the team. So now was the time for campfire and then sleep. We slept on the foyer of the house adjacent to the temple. Good thing about this place is that it has all the facilities for toilet and water.

We got up around 5 in the next morning and it was still dark and surprisingly not so cold .It was a enchanting view from the top to see the vast expanse of the mountain ranges all covered with trees. Some breath taking sceneries are there is savour. We had an early breakfast and went off to see the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara, the place that beckons the people to Yana. There is a well charted route to take a pradakskina of the peak which on its own is the pradakshina of the temple as the lord Shiva is sanctified within the peak.

After we climb for a some distance we come across a huge cave with a opening at the top just enough to allow the light. From the mouth of h cave we get a panoramic view of Yana forests and is a superb view. We climbed high up the peak as far as possible wherever the effort needed was less. We need some expertise to climb up to the peak .Also these peaks are swarming with bees are they don’t like people and that too if they are messing with them .\

Yaana Trekking: Hikers Walking down the slope
Yaana Trekking: Hikers Walking down the slope

The next stop was the Vibhuti Falls .We packed our lunch and were ready to bid adieu to the Peaks. We trekked back the 3 km to our van and had a bumpy ride to the falls .Some of us were perched on the top of the van had a great time. This road is very narrow and winding as it descends down the valley and ends 2 km from the falls. A jungle trail used by people goes to the falls and we took this track and trekked to the falls. This trail is very enchanting as we see agricultural field to your right and the jungle to your left. The falls is very beautiful.

Yaana Hiking: The stream after forming the bigger Vibhuti Falls cascades down the rocks making some small falls on its way downstream.
The stream after forming the bigger Vibhuti Falls cascades down the rocks making some small falls on its way downstream.

There is a big water falls of about 20 to 25 ft and a small one of 3ft .Some of us climbed to the top of the falls and it give a very good very of the surrounding area. This site is very good for camping and offers some mesmerizing sceneries down the valleys. We had a leisurely bath and unpacked our lunch and spent a couple of hours in the midst nature’s bounty. This river streams forms many such waterfalls on its way down the valley. 

It was time to return as dusk was approaching, so we trekked back the path again invigorated and started our journey back to Bangalore. We stopped for a bite in Sagar on the way and came back via Shimoga and reached Bangalore around 6 in the morning. So was the trip into the nature. 

Yeshwanth MCH is a Software engineer by profession and lives and works in  Bangalore

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