June 11, 2014
For those who want to experience adventure but are averse to the idea of long and grueling journey on foot, a trip to Yana would be an ideal trekking spot for the entire family. Located amidst the thick and luxuriant foliage about 30 kms from Kumta, Yana offers wonderful trekking trails to nature lovers. Apart from the numerous trekking trails the gigantic and mind-boggling rock formations you are sure to make your trip to Yana an enchanting and fascinating experience. Yana is well known for the unusual rock formations. There are two gigantic hillocks and there are bat caves and the hillocks can be reached only by walking through short distance through the lush green forest.
Members of Mangalore branch Youth Hostel Association of India conducted a family trek to Yana on June 1, 2014 and the trekking distance was only 2.5 kms one way. Being a family trek there were lot of youngsters in the group of 45 people who were part of this trek. We travelled to Kumta by the early morning train from Mangalore and from Kumta travelled another 25 kms though the thick and lush green forest through two tempo travelers to reach the spot nearer to the rock formations. On parking our vehicles we had to trek another 2.5 kms through the thick forest enjoying nature and her priceless bounty. The sound of the flowing stream on the pathway and chirping of birds was our constant companion as we meandered amidst the forest to come across the awaiting the black beauties - Mohini Shikhara and Bhairaveshwara Shikhara.
Just before we could set our eyes on Mohini Shikhara the slender of the two, we came across a bat cave that smelt full of bat shit. But that did not stop us from exploring the cave. Though the atmosphere was quite nauseating its allure was irresistible. It looked like a man-made edifice with the touch of architecture. There was a huge bolder of a rock which was like a roof and naturally bats enjoy a safe haven beneath the protective cover of this rock. We tried our best to lift these rocks with all our might, though the entire exercise was meant only for photographs.
We first came across Mohini Shikhara - the smaller of the two massive rocks that comprise Yana. It is about 300 feet in height and looks as though the rock looks it is horizontally sliced at many places. Just as we could relish those happy moments of enjoying the black beauty we could see the other rock – Bhairaveshwara Shikhara which is about 390 feet. While Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is broad and looks sturdy Mohini is slender. Located in the Sahyadri mountain range of Western Ghats these rocks are made up of solid black crystalline Karst limestone. Yana is also well known as a pilgrimage centre because of the cave temple just beneath the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara.
On entering Bhairaveshwara Shikhara one should keep their shoes or sandals aside and ready to explore the cave with bare feet, in black dusty ground. Tourists are required to encircle the rock to get a full view of its beauty and grandiosity of the rock. A three meter wide opening leads us into the cave. Once inside you are exposed to a bat cave that smells nothing but bats and its shit strewn all around. Inside the cave in many places the rock at the top opens to give us a glimpse of the rays of the sun and also a breath of fresh air. It is quite a fascinating scene inside as the stone formations in various shapes and sizes tickle our imagination.
The path inside the cave is quite zigzag and steps are quite steep in some places. One has to take the help of cave walls to make their way downwards. The trouble however, is worth because once you come out of the cave you get a fascinating view of the beehive dotting the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara on beneath the rock cavity or even in open area. We could spot more than 50 honey combs in one stretch of the rock. Tourists are warned not to disturb the beehive because the species of these honey bees is called “Hejjenu” which is notorious for its formidable stinging attacks. We had to whisper in low key tones for the fear of disturbing the honeybees.
At the entrance of the cave there is a a Swayambu Shiva Linga (symbol of Shiva) over which a drop of water trickles from the roof. The quantity of the water dripping remains the same throughout the year, rain or shine.
By the time we finished encircling the rock we were famished and we had to reach the railway station by 4.00 pm. Our group of the last to emerge out of the cave and naturally we had to eat our packed lunch of palav in a hurry. We trekked the same distance to reach the parking place and once again began our journey back to Kumta railway station. We got the 4.30 pm train and reached Mangalore at around 9 pm. Our tickets were booked in advance and the entire coach consisted of youth hostel trekkers. We had hilarious time singing multi-language songs, some playing cards and a few testing their power with words. It was a fun-filled trek and quite enjoyable especially for those who came with the family. More fun and less trekking and none complained. Wasn’t it the best mode to say goodbye to summer and welcome the rainy season?
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