The Yana Caves are a natural wonder and a popular tourist attraction near Gokarna. Surrounded by the dense forests of Sirsi and Kumta, these caves are well known for their unique rock formations and patterns that stand as high as 390 feet.
The two monoliths are named Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara. While the former is taller, the latter is 300 ft tall. Both the Shikharas or hills are said to have formed naturally from black karst limestone. In fact, there are about 61 limestone rock structures within a radius of 3 Km. Besides several intriguing aspects, the most noticeable feature of the caves is the black color. The surrounding evergreen forests just accentuate the caves’ beauty.
Yana Caves History
The Yana Caves are deeply rooted in Hindu Mythology. Bhasmasura, a demon, got a boon from Lord Shiva that he could turn anyone to ashes by keeping his hand on their head. The boon gave Bhasmasura immense power but filled his head with an equal amount of arrogance. He misused his powers and committed atrocities that Shiva couldn’t tolerate. So, the latter sought help from Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu disguised himself as Mohini, an ethereal dancer who could mesmerize anyone. Mohini encountered Bhasmasura and began dancing with him. The demon was tricked into placing his hand on his head during this process. The moment the palm touched his head, he was turned to ashes.
It is believed that the fire that emanated during this act was so intense that the limestone formations in the Yana area were blackened. The loose black soil or ash seen around the two large rock formations in the area is cited as proof that Bhasmasura’s death produced the ashes.
The two hillocks were also named after this event. The tall peak is Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (“Shiva’s hill”), and the smaller peak, a few steps down below, is Mohini Shikhara, named after Vishnu’s disguise.
During the annual celebration of Mahashivratri, devotees flock to worship Lord Shiva in the cave at the foot of the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. There’s a self-manifested linga, so the cave is considered a place of worship.
Yana Caves Route & Entry
A walk of about 1 km will take you to the entrance of the Hindu cave temple. The entry to the Yana cave is through the Bhairaweshwara cave temple. So, remove your footwear outside the temple and climb up stairs leading to a wide entrance (9.8 feet) of the pitch-blacked Yana caves or Bhairaweshwara caves.
The ceilings of the cave serve as walls. These naturally formed rocks are enormous and high, with holes allowing sunlight to enter the dark caves.
The entire stretch of the caves is just 200 meters. You can spot bats on the cave’s walls, which also adds to the cave’s smell. You can get cool drinks and snacks near the entrance of the temple.
- Parking: Rs. 10 for two-wheelers, Rs. 40 for autos and cars, and Rs. 100 for buses.
- Entry Fee: Rs. 5 per person
- Restrooms: Not available
- Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM, closed during lunch between 1:30 PM and 3 PM.
Have you visited the Yana caves? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. For more such interesting blogs, subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest.