Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Drowning Church of Karnataka: Shettihalli Rosary Church!

Shettihalli Rosary Church 2 Shettihalli Rosary ChurchWith every submerging cycle a part of this1860 built beautiful French Missionary church – ‘Rosary Church of Shettihalli’ goes into the Hemavati river near Gorur Reservoir Dam.
In 1960 the government built the Gorur Resovoir on the Hemavati river to aid agriculture. The collateral damage in process submerged 28 villages including Shettihalli where the Gothic Rosary Church stood tall. The Church could not be saved. The villagers were rehabilitated in Marianagar of Arkalgud, Alphonsonagar of Chanarayapatna and Josephnagar of Hassan taluk.
This Gothic church was built by French Missionaries in 1860 to the wealthy British estate owners of Alur. The surreal roofless skeleton of the church stands today in appreciation and in tribute to the excellent craftsmanship of the masons of those days! Apparently eggs & jaggery were added to the motar which strengthened the structure and it has stood the test of time with each monsoon submerge from 1960.
Bangalore to Shettihalli is approximately 210 kms. One has to take the Bangalore – Mangalore highway through Kunigal and toll paying highway! Approaching Hassan, towards the end of the bye-pass ( don’t enter town) take a left on to a small village road, 22 kms of tangling roads takes you to this mystical place. Please ask the local population for directions to Shettihalli, there are no sign or direction boards to this place.
Once you reach the end of Shettihalli passing a modern built church proceed further on to a barren field to the left, much much before the bridge one can notice this surreal skeleton gothic roofless structure looming out of nowhere in the middle of a vast expanse of land (or water – depending on the season you go).
Breathtaking – even though it is in ruins! This roofless structure draws you in. This structure looks good at anytime of the day! Sunsets are gorgeous. It takes you an hour to explore this place. There are no hotels or restaurants out here. Carry your own beverages and eatables. The place is littered. Wear good footwear when traversing the locale. The place is infested with anti-social elements and ruffians – Beware! Camping is dangerous. Be in groups for safety. This place is a good picnic spot. . . Huge river bed. An ideal corporate picnic area.
No organization or government body has taken charge of this beautiful edifice which is a photographers ideal structure. During monsoons water rises up to the towers and submerges the church structure. Tourists & photographers take coracale rides closer to the structure.
One can make this place a day picnic trip travelling 4+4 – a 8 hour drive of good roads. The road off the Hassan bye-pass is the only bad single scenic village road. Or, one can include Shravanabelgola, Belur, Halebedu & other places in your tour plans. Overnight suggested places are KSTDC state tourism guest houses at Belur or Halebedu, or if you want to spend the night in comfort & luxury – it’s Hassan… Lot of hotels to suit everyone’s budget. These places are connected well by train & buses. If you are driving nothing like it. I did see a lot of two-wheeler riders on fancy bikes on these beautiful roads.
Head out, travel and explore the beauty of Karnataka. Enjoy the scenic beauty and also imbibe a little of our rich glorious past history.

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