After writing about the Star Fort of Manjarabad, here’s another gem that we discovered during our research on Karnatka.
Certain wonders of nature leave you spellbound. Yana Rocks are one of them. Located near in the Uttara Karnataka district of Karnataka, 25 km from Kumta, they are renowned for their jagged appearance. These two monolithics rising straight up towards the sky measure 390 and 300 feet each. The taller of the two is known as the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara while the other – Mohini Shikhara. Home to a temple located in a cave at the base draws pilgrims as a ‘swayumbhu’ lingam is said to have been formed – more likely a stalagmite, a common feature in limestone caves.
The Wikipedia page mentions the legend describing how the rocks came to be formed.
Hindu Mythology links this place with an event in the life of the Asura, 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 any one’s head, he would burn them up and turn them into ashes (bhasma). It is further narrated that, in order to test his powers, Bhasmasura wanted to place his hands on his patron Lord Shiva’s head. He chased Shiva, which unnerved Shiva and prompted 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 enticedBhasmasura with her beauty. Bhasmsura was quite infatuated 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 hand over head. Without realizing 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 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 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’s hill”), and the smaller peak, a few steps down below, being Mohini Shikhara (“Mohini’s hill”) where an idol of goddess Parvathi is installed. There are also several other small caves nearby. There is also a Ganesha temple in the vicinity.
The stones could be quarried and we might lose this natural heritage. Therefore it is important that rocks around Yana (there are many spread out in a 3 km radius) are protected under the Indian law. The thick forest around the rocks is also home to a rich biodiversity and needs to be protected.
We will report on more details on these rocks once we are back from visiting them. On our No-Reservations trip to Gokarna, we might make an excursion to these jagged beauties and come back with more stories, information and photos to share!
Note: We would be covering more of such unique places and monuments of India, so if you have a few recommendations feel free to write to us on breakfreejourneys(at)gmail.com or call us up on 09820023362!
Text by Rushikesh Kulkarni, photo courtesy Wikipedia images