Hindu mythology link this place with an event in the life of Ashura, or demon king Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura by austere penance, obtained a boon from Lord Shiva. This boon made it so that when Bhasmasura placed his hand over anyone’s head, he would burn them up turn them into ashes (Bhasma). In order to test his power, Bhasmasura wanted to place his hands on his patron Lord Shiva’s head. He chased Shiva which unnerved Shiva and promoted him to move from his heavenly abode to earth to seek the help of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu transformed himself to help Shiva, adopting the form of beautiful damsel named Mohini who enticed Bhasmasura with her beauty. Bhasmasura was quite in featured by Mohini and agreed to a challenge she issued for a dance competition.
During the dance competition, Mohini cleverly performed a dance bhang (pose) with the hand over the head.Without realising the gravity of this act, the demon king also placed his hand over his head and perished by the fire of his own hands,he was converted into ashes. It is believed that fire that emanated during this act was so intense that the limestone formation in Yana area were blackened.The loose black soil or ash seen around the two large rock formation in the area are cited as proof of the legend by devotees who see them as due to the fire and that ashes produced by Bhasmasura death. The two hillocks are also named for this event: the tall peak being Bhairaveshwara Shikhara ( Shiva hill) and smaller peak, a few steps down below, being Mohini Shikhara.
Yana is a little more than an hours drive away (49 km) from our villa. Your ride to Yana will take you through the well-preserved Sahyadri forest range.
Take the route to Yana via:
1) Sanikatta Uppinagara
(Sea salt is extracted here with traditional methods.
It is the oldest salt manufacturing site in Karnataka. It has existed since more than 300 years.
One of the major sites of Gandhiji’s salt satyagraha)
3) Take the Hillur road (You need to cross the NH-66 Mangalore-Karwar road)
4) Take the right just after Hillur which is called the Yana road.
It comes before you join the Hubli-Karwar road from Hillur
You might have to walk/hike 1-2 kilometer after car-parking at Yana.
For those who are looking to pack in more than just beaches on your visit to Gokarna, Yana is a perfect getaway. Yana is famous for the towering twin rock formation that brings in visitors by the droves. It is known for the unusual karst rock formation. It is a part of the Sahyadri Mountain range of the Western Ghats. It is considered a biodiversity hotspot of the Sahyadri hill range and unlike anything that is there anywhere in India (or even the world).
Yana caves are made of two rock formations with vertical ridges: the shorter Mohini Shikhara (90 metres high) and the higher Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (120 metres high). At the base of the latter there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. You can then take a muddy path,around the temple,which takes you to the centre of Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. The open cave formation is well-lit during the day. If you don’t mind all the bats pooling around, you are in for a memorable experience. You can look up to the marvel at the scale of the rock and blue sky that canopies it.