Chances are that having reached Yana, one might think one has landed in the midst of nowhere. Yana, a tiny spot, is lodged deep within the Western Ghats in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The place was formerly known as Sahyadripura. In the times of the British, people who trekked here, when questioned by their colonial masters said they were going on a ‘yana’, meaning pilgrimage in Kannada. And thus the place got its name. The thick forest cover, the cooling streams with darting butterflies, dragon flies and birds make it a trekker’s paradise. You might even make the acquaintance of a cobra or a monitor lizard.
But the attractions of Yana are decidedly the two rock-like formations, craggy peaks named Mohini Shikara and Bhairava Shikara, rising 90 metres and 120 metres respectively. It could well be Inca country. Scientists and geologists have been at pains to explain how these rock-like formations occurred. Some say it was due to a volcanic eruption. Whatever be the case, the twin structures might well have been the handiwork of a playful God.
In a small village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, there is a pillar that defies all laws of gravity. Lepakshi is the place where this ‘Hanging Column’ or the Pillar of Lepakshi Temple is. This column does not rest on the ground, giving a impression that it remains forever floating. There are around 70 pillars at this incredible 16th century temple of stone, but this pillar is the most famous and is regarded as a tribute to the engineering genius of ancient and medieval India’s temple builders. Another major attraction of Lepakshi is a huge Nandi Bull made of a single granite stone on the main road, 200 metres from the temple. It faces the shivalinga shielded by a huge serpent inside the temple.