As we walked down the steps from the not so high altitude of Yana Caves, it started to drizzle. By the time we took the next few steps it was a downpour. The rains in the mountains are very unpredictable and make a lot of noise as they come through the trees. You get drenched to the bones before you can open your raincoat.
Nestled in the western ghats near Sirsi, Yana is situated in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnatka. It is about 45 minutes from Sirsi or about an hour from Gokarna. As you reach the parking lot at Yana, you are greeted by the non-stop, high decibel sounds of cicadas and monkeys. You climb through a series of well paved trails and some cemented steps. All through the trek, you have a gushing stream to your right, which adds to the sound effect of the trek. We didn’t see or hear many birds, maybe because it was too rainy for them. The forest is dense and must be home to some amazing creatures. We had to stop for a few minutes to let a baby Russel’s Viper cross our path.
There are several man made structures on the way including a place to rest, toilets and a temple. But within a few minutes, as you take a bend in the path you get the first look at the beautiful Karst rock formations (I googled it!) which is very dark in colour. You continue past the first of those formations to end up in a small flat square piece of land where what looks like a private temple on the right and the entrance to the cave on the left. I say private because there are no government notifications or boards on display anywhere. There was a portly looking chap collecting money to let people into the temple or go to the caves! Ok, may be not. Maybe he was collecting a fee for letting you keep your footwear anywhere you wanted!
The trek to Yana is not very long, but it is breathtakingly beautiful. But as with a few places I have visited in Karnataka, the tourist infrastructure is non existent. No forest guards, no signboards, not even water to drink, which may not be an issue in monsoons. The place is filthy with empty food packets and water bottles. I am not posting those pictures here.Here is what I wrote about my trip to Shivamogga in Jan 2015.
You got to give credit to Kerala Tourism when it comes to providing infrastructure to tourists. Karnataka has to learn a lot from them.
Coming back to Yana, it is a gem in the western ghats and worth visiting, especially in the monsoons. Thank you Gulliver’s Adventures & Travels Pvt. Ltd. for an amazing experience.