The legend of Yana rocks

Glimpse of Mythology

The legend of Yana rocks

Yana, a picturesque village in North Karnataka, is home to some beautiful rock formations. Bindu Gopal Rao traces the legends associated with these monoliths.

The 1997 Kannada movie Nammoora Mandara Hoove was a super hit because of its story, music and star cast. However, there was another star of the movie that also became a unique destination. This movie effectively captured and utilised the natural beauty of the forests of Yana and it is widely believed that it was after this film was released that crowds started thronging this small village in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. 

On a recent visit to North Karnataka, I had a chance to visit this place as part of a long itineracy and naturally jumped at the opportunity. Known for its unusual rock formations, Yana is located in the Sahyadri mountain range of the Western Ghats. This place has two unique rock clusters that have become a huge tourist attraction and a place for trekking since they can be easily approached by a half kilometer small trek. These two rock formations are called the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (at 390 feet) and the Mohini Shikhara (at 300 feet) and are made up of solid black, crystalline Karst limestone. The two rock monoliths or hillocks, surrounded by thick forests and streams, rise sharply above the surrounding area near the Yana village and are a sight to behold. The black coloured hills form a stunning background against the greenery of the forest. 

History speaks

The cave temple below the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is famous since it has a self manifested linga and water drips from the roof over it, adding to the sanctity of the place. Naturally, this place becomes crowded during the annual festivities of Maha Shivaratri. Trekking to the black rock formations through the hilly forest of Sahyadri is something adrenalin junkies will enjoy. However, the stretch can be quite deserted, so it is advised to travel in groups. A variety of endangered species of birds and butterflies in this biodiversity hotspot makes it a boon for photographers as well. Closer to this place is the Vibhooti waterfalls, which makes for a beautiful sight as well. Again one can trek to the falls, so make sure you have comfortable shoes.

Legend has it that this place has a link with the life of the demon king Bhasmasura who with austere penance obtained a boon from Shiva. The boon was that whenever Bhasmasura placed his hand on anyone’s head, the person would be burned and reduced to bhasma or ashes. The king was obviously elated when he was granted the boon and wanted to test it immediately on Shiva. It is said that he chased Shiva who was unnerved, and sought the help of Lord Vishnu, who then transformed himself into beautiful damsel named Mohini to entice Bhasmasura. Infatuated with Mohini’s beauty, the demon king agreed to her challenge for a dance competition. It was during the dance competition, that Mohini cleverly performed a pose with her hand over head. Without realizing the impact of this act, the demon king also placed his hand over his head and perished by the fire of his own hands. It is believed that the fire that emanated during this act was so intense that the limestone formations in the Yana area were blackened. According to devotees, the loose black soil or ash seen around the two large rock formations in the area are caused because of Bhasmasura’s ashes.

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