Sunday, November 04, 2012

Yana, Sirsi

Bhairaveshwar Shikara
It pays to have good friends, more so when these people are random guys you met in blogosphere. So, on Day1 of our Sirsi trip when we had given up hope on finding a room (all rooms in all hotels occupied, thanks to Dassera) in Sirsi, this blogger friend of a fellow traveler turns out to be our knight-in-shining-armor. All it took was one phone call and within minutes the six of us were given two of the best rooms in a hotel which belonged to a relative of our blogger friend. As if that magnanimity wasn’t enough, the hotel refused to take a single penny from us for our one-night-stay! A hot water bath and a good night’s sleep ensured all of us were all charged-up for the next day. A sumptuous breakfast later we were headed towards Yana.

Bhairaveshwar Shikara with Shiva temple
Yana is famous for two massive rock formations. Essentially, these rock formations are black crystalline limestone. The entire village of Yana is known for these rock formations. But there are 2 such formations that are of mythological significance, namely, Bhairaveshwar Shikara and Mohini Shikara. Yana is as much a geologist’s delight as it is for a pilgrim. The Bhairaveshwar Shikara is popular for a Swayambhu (self-manifested) linga. Add to that water drips on to this linga from the rocks thereby making the alliteration that it is holy Ganga flowing. However, the scientific reason for the formation of the swayambhu is attributed to phenomenon of stalactites and stalagmites.

Most of the pictures you find of the two shikaras on internet do no justice compared to the real deal. These are massive rock formations, standing as tall as 120 metres (Bhairaveshwar Shikara) and 90 metres (Mohini Shikara). These rocks are not without its share of mythological stories and prominence, as the names suggest. As per the mythological stories, the demon king Asura through persistent penance obtained a boon from Lord Shiva whereby on whomsoever’s head Asura places his hand, would turn to ashes (hence the name Bhasmasura). But Asura turns a Frankenstein’s monster and wants to test his strength on Lord Shiva Himself. After being chased by Asura, Shiva seeks refuge and advice from Lord Vishnu. Vishnu takes the form of damsel Mohini and entices Bhasmasura with her beauty and dance. An infatuated Bhasmasura agrees to a dance competition between the two. In one of the mudras (dance pose) Mohini places her hand on her head which an unsuspecting (and blindly in love) Asura copies, only to be turned into ashes by his own foolishness. The resulting combustion was believed to be so intense that it blackened the limestone formations of entire Yana. The Bhairaveshwar Shikara (Shiva’s Hill) and Mohini Shikara (Mohini’s Hill) thus got their respective names and temples (Mohini Shikara houses a Parvathi temple).
Mohini Shikara
Just like in Banavasi, the priest of the Shiva temple here gives all the devotees a briefing on the mythology of this temple. The pradikshina of the temple here is probably the longest and toughest of them all as it involves walking around and between these rock formations on barefoot. Once you are done with Bhairaveshwar Shikara, there are steps downhill that takes you to Mohini Shikara and the Parvathi temple.
This area once used to be a dense Sahayadri forest. And it took a trek of nearly 17kms from civilization to just reach these rocks. But crass commercialization and road-laying has done away with all this. And now visitors need to walk just half a kilometer from where they can park their vehicles. The day is not far behind where you can drive right up to the base of these hills. There’s a popular saying in these parts of the world - Sokkidhavanu Yanakke hogutaane, rokkiddhavanu Gokarna ke hoguthane, meaning, the one with tremendous guts and determination goes to Yana and the one with money bags goes to Gokarna. Unfortunately that is no longer true in these times of rapid and unbridled development.

Getting-there: Around 40kms from Sirsi town.

Must-Do: Check out the rock formations and the Swayambhu.
Must-Don’t: Littering and Vandalism. 

My Rating: 8/10

Information Courtesy: Wikipedia, OurKarnataka


  1. Yet to visit this place. Awesome narration.

    1. Thanks Niranjan. Yeah its a must-visit place if you are in Sirsi/Uttar Kannda

  2. Actually this place is very near to Kumta, if you come by other side just 17 Kms. There are 21 rock forms found in this place resembling shiva-ganas and also it is believed that lord shiva will stay in this place till the bee hives are present on these rock formations...

    Nice post...

    1. Wow.. thanks for the value-addtion to this blog. And thanks also for visiting my blog.

  3. very fine piece of write up on one of the finest creation by the mother. Nice photos, history, mystery nice narrated.

  4. Wow! Great place, great pictures and great write up. That's an interesting story behind the rock formation too. I'd heard about Yana but didn't know it was this gorgeous.
    I just got to see some red rocks myself. Shall put up the pics soon.