January 2019 | Bike Rides Bangalore

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Coastal Karnataka Day 4 - Trek to Yana Caves

Place: Yana Caves and Rocks, Yana

Distance: 444 km from Bangalore
Type: Trek
Trek Distance: 3 km
Ideal for: Family and Friends
Best time to visit: Post Monsoon

Our Coastal Karnataka trip was going on a lazy mode. We were hardly covering one or two places per day but we were not compromising on food and sleep :D Well, most of my trips used to be on a tight schedule, more concerned about seeing the places but this time we were just chilling out.

Best of the Beast:  Nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by a thick forest, stand the black limestone monoliths of Yana village. Courtesy: Sharat Chandra

The New Year Eve celebration was amazing yesterday night. We went to sleep only after 3 am so we woke up late in the morning at 11 am. Today's agenda was just to visit Yana and go back to Bangalore.

How did our 4 days trip go you ask?
After searching for a while we found a decent restaurant at Kumta for breakfast. Yana is 28 km from Kumta, but because it passes through Ghat section it took close to an hour to reach Yana. On the way, we stopped at Agnashini River bridge which looked astonishing. The 5-minute break turned into 30 minutes photo session as everyone wanted a perfect profile picture for their social media. It was 1 in the afternoon and the sun was high in the sky. Finally, after lots of twists and turns in the Ghat, we reached Yana.

Incredible view of the Agnashini River

I could stare at the calm river for hours together and never get bored.

The complete Gang in a single frame.
Brief about Yana: Hidden gem in the Uttara Kannada District, Yana shot to fame after being portrayed as a picnic spot in the Kannada movie, Nammoora Mandara Hoove. Yana finds a mention in mythology, after earning a boon from Shiva to turn anyone he touches into ash, the demon Bhasmasura tries to touch the head of Shiva, who pleads to Vishnu to intervene. Vishnu appears to Bhasmasura in the form of the alluring Mohini, charming him so completely that the demon proposes to her. Mohini agrees but on one condition – he will have to match her steps as she dances. The demon immediately agrees, and as the dance progresses, he forgets his boon. Mohini touches her head and Bhasmasura follows suit. The explosion was so intense that it turned the stones this dark.

Route map of Yana Caves
There are two routes to reach Yana, one is from Kumta (the one we took) and other is from Sirsi. To reach Yana Rocks from the parking spot one has to do mild trekking. The trek distance is more and slightly difficult from Kumta side and it is shorter and easier from the Sirsi side. Make sure you take the same route back while descending otherwise you will be lost in the woods.

Even though it was a weekday there was a considerable number of vehicles parked in the parking area. There are no restaurants but there were few stalls selling refreshments and water. We carried a water bottle and a cold drink.

The board welcomes to Yana. The trek starts from this parking area.

There are no restaurants but few stalls selling refreshments and water

Trek time: After visiting beaches every day for the past 3 days we were happy to see greenery and forest on the 4th day. The trek is 3 km long and the first part of the trek is slanted and doesn't have steps and the second part is steep and it is assisted by steps. Undoubtedly the first part of the trek was the most beautiful. With greenery surrounded on both the sides, the route covered by shades which makes it easy to trek at any time of the day.

The route is covered by thick forest on either side making it trekkable at any time of the day

There is also a tiny water stream running along the route which makes the trek charming. During monsoon, this path will be covered by blood-sucking leeches, so if you are attempting this trek during monsoon then make sure you have precaution taken to avoid leeches (read my post about Bandaje falls where we encountered the worst experience with leeches).

There is a small water stream to the right en route. Don't forget to have a look at it.

Bluetooth speaker vs Birds calls it was.

We took a stop to visit the water stream on the right. The bird call and the stream gurgle added to the beauty of nature. About 3km away, we finally reach a small Ganesh temple after which the steps started. The steps are well placed and are easier to climb. Finally, we could see the first rock - Mohini Shikara to our left. The rock is about 90m tall and it is the most beautiful rock.

Ganesha temple on the way. After this point, the stairs start.
Stunning view of the Mohini Shikara at Yana. 

The 90 meters tall Mohini Shikara is the most beautiful Rock among the two peaks

The surrounding thick forest is a sight to behold

The last stretch of the Trek.
We crossed a bridge and continued past it to the cave temple at the base of Bhairaveshwara Shikara, the taller peak at 120m. There is a small cave temple at the base of the hill dedicated to Bhairaveshwara. After paying our respects to the naturally formed lingam deep inside the cavernous sanctum sanctorum, we proceed to circumambulate the rock. There are stairs which pass through the center of Bhairaveshwara hills

The 120-meter tall Bhairaweshwara Shikara is the biggest Monolith here.

Temple at the base of the hill is dedicated to Bhairaveshwara

The naturally formed linga in the Sanctum is worshipped by devotees.

The Yana caves look marvelous as you get closer to it

As we look up at the sky, the sheer enormity of the massif makes us speechless

The soaring black limestone peaks of Yana
Silhouette of the Mohini Shikara 
We wanted to get into the water while returning but we were running out of time so we decided to skip it for this time. The next destination was directly Bangalore. It was almost 4.30 pm by the time we started driving back. We stopped near Devimane for a tea break and sightseeing. We took another stop at Sirsi for minor car repair. We reached Bangalore at 3 am.

We took a shop at This view point

There is a small temple here. The place is named as Devimane

And this is the stunning view from the temple

Important Notes:
1. Yana temple timings: 6 AM to 7 PM
2. The route is well-marked, so there is no need for a guide. 
3. Ensure that you are well-covered, especially in the monsoons as there will be leeches.
4. The trek is medium in difficulty from Kumta side, I saw elder people climbing along so it shouldn't be a big issue if you are planning to get your parents here.
5. The 3km-long trek begins from Sundholle via Anegundi, while the 0.5km route is closer to Sirsi.
6. There are no entry fees but there is a nominal parking charge. 
7. There are basic functional toilets at the entrance.
8. Make sure you descend from the same route as you ascended.

Check out the remarkable drone footage of Yana on Sharat Chandra's youtube video. PS: The aerial view of the Yana caves are captured from the same youtube video.

Read all the posts of the 4 days Coastal Karnataka trip
Coastal Karnataka trip Day 1 - Panambur beach, Mangalore
Coastal Karnataka Day 2 - Saavira Kambada Basadi
Coastal Karnataka Day 2 - St Mary's island, Malpe.
Coastal Karnataka Day 3 - Celebrating New Year at Om Beach, Gokarna.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Coastal Karnataka Day 3 - Celebrating New Year at Om Beach, Gokarna.

Place: Murudeshwar and Om Beach, Gokarna

Distance: 485 km from Bangalore
Type: Temple, Beach
Ideal for: Family and Friends
Best time to visit: October to February

This is the third day of my journey to Coastal Karnataka, after having a great time at St. Mary's island we moved on to explore Murudeshwar and Gokarna.

Best of the beast: Om Beach at Gokarna
Today's agenda was to visit only the beaches in Gokarna, the afternoon isn't a good time to visit the beaches so we started our day late. We got up at 10 am and got ready in an hour. Murudeshwar would be on the way and one of the group members insisted we visit it. Even though most of us had already seen it we decided to give a shortstop at Murudeshwar. We reached Murudeshwar at 12 pm. We had sumptuous south Indian thali at Indraprastha restaurant.

Lord Shiva Temple, Murudeshwara: The sun was high in the sky and the weather was not pleasant. We walked to the temple to have Darshana of Shiva Linga. It was my third visit to this place so I wasn't much interested to explore the place. Soon after darshana, we left the place. The stays in Gokarna were really expensive due to the new year so we had our stay booked in Kumta which is 35 km from Gokarna.

The iconic view of Murudeshwara Shiva statue and the gopura.

The Rajagopura at the entrance of the Temple complex is the world's tallest, standing at 249 feet

Murudeshwar beach view from the temple

World's second Largest Shiva Statue

Scuba diving at Netrani Island is very popular. Here are the details if you are looking for one

We checked in to the room at 3 pm. The rooms were spacious but it was stinky. I wouldn't recommend this place to stay even though you are on a very low budget. Without wasting much time we got freshen up and left for Gokarna. We realized it was late to visit all five major beaches in Gokarna hence we decided to visit one beach and stay there till midnight for the New Year Eve. Om beach and Kudle beach are the most happening beach in Gokarna. We chose Om beach to celebrate the New year.

Om beach Gokarna

You need to climb down using these steps. There are around 30-40 steps

Om beach is surrounded with the Volcanic rocks which look interesting

Kayaking at Om beach is a must try (Rs. 600 for two)

The volcanic rocks

The pristine beach makes you happy
Little Goa: As soon as we were nearing Om beach I got the Goa vibes. There was a drastic change in the culture as we moved from Kumta to Om beach. The beach was beautiful, people were playing in water and watersports was going on. Few of us were interested to do Kayaking and Jetski but I was interested to get some vitamin Sea. We took a stroll along the beach until we hit the last shack on the beach.

People playing in the water

We took a stroll along the beach until we hit the last shack on the beach.
There are many shacks along the beach, most of the shacks are occupied by the Isrelians and Spaniards. The beach is populated with foreigners in bikini taking a sunbath. Without wasting any time we jumped into the water. The waves were shorter and calmer but the beach was steeper than beaches in Goa. Soon after the sunset, the lifeguards started clearing people so we had to get out of the water. We had plenty of time to spend until midnight so we had a peek at all the shacks and settled at Ganesha Cafe.

The mesmerizing sunset

The sky is filled up with colors as the sun sets. 

We visited this cafe called Ganesh cafe until midnight

I was hoping people would be dancing around the atmosphere was boring

But the lightings were beautiful

Delicious food and a bottle of beer is all you need  on the beach :D
I was expecting people would be dancing and partying but everyone was sitting on the chair with a bottle of beer in the hand. There was constant police patrolling to keep things in check. The shack was serving only beer which complemented well with the food. I sat down on the beach an hour before the midnight, star-studded skies, the music of gushing waves and a moonlit sea everything looked magical. 10 minutes to midnight everyone started gathering at one place, some were liting candles while others were dancing with Bluetooth speakers on.

As the clock struck 12, the fireworks amazed us

This lady was lost in her own world looking at the fireworks.

Looked like she was performing some rituals to the God of Fire

And some were busy in decorating the beach with the candles

Welcome 2019: Happy New Year....  At midnight the sky was lit up with fireworks, people were bursting crackers, shouting Happy New year at the top of their voices and dancing with their heart out. We spent another hour wishing everyone a Happy New Year until the police started clearing the crowd. We came back to the parking area and started driving to our room. We came back to the room at 2 am and immediately went to sleep.
That's us lying on the beach and enjoying the fireworks

This Namaste Cafe is apparently very famous and we missed trying it out. Let me come back here again soon

Important Notes:
1. Darshana timings at Murudeshwar temple: 3:00 AM - 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM.

Read my next day's post where we trekked at Yana Rocks and returned to Bangalore from there.

Read the entire 4 day's iternary:
Coastal Karnataka Day 3 - Celebrating New Year at Om Beach, Gokarna.
Coastal Karnataka Day 4 - Trek to Yana Rock.

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