Yana: Bold & beautiful

Yana’s age-old rocks nestled in the Sahyadris have many a story to tell. They leave Sudha Balachandran totally mesmerised

The famous rocks of Yana

We drove through winding narrow roads, covered on either side with lush, green trees. We passed several hamlets; the roads were not in a great shape but what lay ahead of us kept us going. Finally, after nearly two hours of driving, we reached our destination. We walked 500 metres down the mud path, with tall trees lining the road; it felt like we were trekking through a thick, evergreen forest. Suddenly, the path cleared and what we saw ahead of us was totally amazing.

Formidable formations

We stood gazing at the dark rock formation that looked like a haunted tower with uneven spires, rugged and craggy in appearance. We first saw a smaller one to our right, with its pointed top jutting out through the trees, and further up, we saw a mammoth-sized rock structure that looked strikingly beautiful. It was a dark shade of grey and we were astounded to see some shrubs growing from the rock crevices.

These are the incredible rock formations in the village of Yana, in Uttara Kannada, near the town of Kumta. They are nestled in Sahyadri Hills of the Western Ghats. The two structures, called locally as Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara, are made of solid, crystalline limestone. Mohini Shikhara is the smaller of the two, measuring about 90 metres, while the taller one is about 120 metres. The two hillocks rise sharply, and stand formidably, towering over the forest trees.

There is an opening at the base of Bhaiaraveshwara Shikhara, forming a natural cave. It houses a shivalinga which is believed to have formed on its own — swayambhu. We climbed up the steps that have been constructed on the left side and entered the inner hollow, a cavern of sorts. We saw several bats hanging upside down within the dimly lit parts.

Bheemana Eri Gudda
Bheemana Eri Gudda

A small opening at the top between the rock surfaces allows the sunlight to penetrate the hollow. The floor is uneven and we had to watch our step in the dimly lit place. All this adds to the magnificent setting within the hollows of the huge hillock. We then slowly came out of the other end of the cavern, climbed down several steps, taking innumerable pictures of the mesmerising grey rock that looks like a cut-out from a fantasy comic book!

After our trek to Yana, as we headed back to our homestay near Sirsi, we decided to watch the sun set over the hill called Bheemana Eri Gudda. We parked our car at a clearing and walked up a slope; we climbed a few steps, and the next moment, we were literally walking on the ridge of a hill. The view from the top is spectacular — undulating hillocks rising and falling in a never-ending line right across from us, the beautiful valley below covered with thick, evergreen trees, River Aghanashini flowing slowly and silently at a distance, its meandering form clearly visible from our vantage point on the hill.

We walked to the tip of our hill and waited with bated breath for the wonderful show that Mother Nature had in store for us. And it was truly magical. All the members in our group, even the kids, grew silent and watched the scene being played out. The sun morphed into a big, orange ball that we could see directly without hurting our eyes.

As it slowly made its way down towards the horizon, the sky was painted with different shades of crimson and orange. It looked like a live painting performance was being specifically orchestrated for us. While we were busy admiring the beauty and trying to capture the moments on our camera, the sun slowly dipped down, finally slipping away from our view. We could not help but clap spontaneously at the beauty of the spectacle.

We slowly walked back to our parked cars and rode back to our homestay. All we could talk about was the beauty of the Yana Rocks and the magical sunset that we witnessed at Bheemana Eri Gudda!

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