Yana Caves : The Small Wonder of Western Ghats

Yana Caves : The Small Wonder of Western Ghats

Yana  is a village located in forests of Northern Karnataka, India which is known for the unusual Karst (Asteroid) rock formations.

Proximity : 175 km from Goa & 53 km from Gokarna. If you ever happen to visit any of these famous tourist places, Yana Caves is perfect for a day trip with your family.

How to reach there : If you are opting for a roadtrip with your car or a hired Taxi, take a diversion from NH-66 near Kumta towards SH-69. Its a 30 km drive from here. On SH 69, one can find a Tourism board for Yana village on left side. Take a left from this point and drive till the end of the road and you will reach Yana Caves entrance. From here its a 2 km trek into the forest till you reach the caves.

I am not sure if this place is accessible through any of the public transports like Bus or Train.

Alert : After you reach the entrance, the 2 km trek into the jungle takes almost an hour. The level of difficulty is moderate. First half of the trek is walking through the inclines in the jungle whereas other half requires climbing ~350 stairs. The trek is not recommended if you have company of elderly people. 


Roadtrips are our preferred mode of travelling because they give us access to the hidden & unexplored territories which would have been difficult to reach otherwise. Also, it gives you the chance of discovering some beautiful places on your own. Yana Caves is one such untouched & hidden gem in the Jungles of Western Ghats that we are proud to have explored.

The two rock hillocks, known as  Bhairaveshwara Shikhara & Mohini Shikhara surrounded by thick forests and streams, rise sharply above the surrounding area up to almost 100 meters near Yana village. In the first rock hill, Bhairaveshwara Shikhara, there is 3 meters (9.8 ft) wide opening in the rock face that leads into a cave and hence Yana Caves.

Well, I can not talk enough about the scenic beauty of this place. Right from the time you take the diversion at Kumta on NH-66, the scenic beauty starts intriguing & enthralling you. The road is narrow (two lane) nevertheless idyllic & fun to take a drive on. One drives through thick & lush green forests with surprises of quick showers of rain, interspersed all through the journey till you reach the caves. (That’s the fun of travelling & driving in Monsoon in India)

Once you reach the entrance, there is a dedicated parking area which could easily accommodate a good number of cars, large vehicles & of course two wheeler. Also, one can find a small shop vendor selling biscuits, snacks, fresh lime juice & water bottles. Its good to buy some snacks & bottles if you are not carrying your own as the trek will demand you to stay hydrated.

Car Parking at Yana Caves
Small Shop at Yana Caves Entrance

Also, having snacks & water with you is a good idea as one can always have a nice family picnic while trekking through the jungles. The Tourism dept has made several stopovers with small huts, benches & dustbins along the trek to help you have a fun & eco-friendly picnic.

Trek to Yana Caves
Yana Caves Trek
Yana Caves Trek

And the trek, of course, is nothing but beautiful. It’s so refreshing to have a walk through the jungles with a river passing just next to you with small waterfalls, streams, bridges & wood logs. Only once in a while you get to move along these rather than cars & traffic jams.

Yana Caves Trek
Yana Caves Trek
Yana Caves Trek
Yana Caves Trek

There are at least two spots along the trek along the river with beautiful small waterfalls & wood logs for you to sit, hangout & enjoy. If you have time, do stop by & take a dip into these fresh rainwater natural pools.

Fresh Rain Water Pools at Yana Caves
Fresh Rain Water Pools at Yana Caves

After almost an hour & 2 km trek, you get to see the two gorgeous rock formations just like the ones you come across in those sci-fi or fantasy movies. You feel like you have time traveled to some ancient era. Below the rock formations, sits a temple of Lord Shiva which has historical as well as mythological significance.  It is believed that the fire, that emanated when demon king Bhashmasura placed his hands over his heads enticed by the beauty of Mohini, was so intense that the limestone formations in the Yana area were blackened.

These rock formations are perfect for photography lovers or anybody who likes to be inspired by nature & create something. These rocks are just stupendous. I will let pictures do the talking.

Mohini Shikhara Yana Caves
KSC_20160813_134623_17
Bhaireshwara Shikhara Yana Caves
Bhaireshwara Shikhara
Rock Formations at Yana Caves
Rock Formations at Yana Caves
Rock Formations at Yana Caves
Rock Formations at Yana Caves
Rock Formations at Yana Caves

Mystery intrigues us all. This is one place that will leave you thinking so.

Overall this place should be visited at least once if  you are a hiker or pilgrim or just a travel enthusiast like many of us. It’s ideal for a day trip or family picnic or even a romantic long drive with some one special.

Tips:

  1. Always carry an umbrella or rain jackets if you are visiting this place in Monsoons.
  2. There is a washroom facility at the entrance but not anywhere along the way once you start the trek.
  3.  The trek gets really slippery in the Monsoon. Avoid heels or any fancy shoes that will not take good care of you.
  4. Spare some 2-3 hours after you reach the entrance to completely enjoy the place like taking a dip in the river along the trek, spend some time at temple, a visit to the caves & take lots of photographs.
  5. Have some fresh lime juice at the entrance once you come back from the trek. It’s tasty & invigorating.
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