There is something surreal about the skeletal and fragmented remains of the Shettihalli Rosary church. This 19th-century Gothic style church which is said to have been constructed in 1860 to be precise, was abandoned a 100 years later along with its surrounding villages, following the construction of the Hemavati/Dam and Reservoir (also known as Gorur dam) in 1960.
Since then, it has deteriorated into ruins with an overhanging aura of mysteriousness and intrigue. Hauntingly beautiful (in more ways than one, since rumor albeit unsubstantiated, has it that it is also inhabited by ghosts), this church draws tourists and photographers like a magnet, throughout the year.
It also has the distinction of presenting 2 different perspectives in a year, one in its ‘high and dry’ avatar and the other when it is submerged during the monsoon months of July to October when most of it disappears under the waters of the flooded river Hemavati.
There is also a bridge nearby where people drive up to click pictures of the church.
Boats can be hired for a reasonable fee and one can sail out into the waters to get favorable views of various angles of the ruins.
Sunrise and sunset are obviously also popular times to get great images.
The church is in the village of Shettihalli in Hassan district and is around 30 km off the main highway near Hassan city.
From the Hassan bus stand, it is 20 km away and apparently there are local buses that make trips towards Shettihalli, with a bus-stop that is walking distance from the church. Autos and taxis can also be hired for the to and fro trip, with an additional waiting charge.
This road is in good condition for the most part and in the non monsoons one can drive right up to the church. There is ample parking but not much else by way of shops or restaurants etc.
For all other food and stay requirements, Hassan city is a convenient place.
From Bangalore, the distance of 200 km can be easily covered by car in less than 4 hours, on roads that are in great condition.
I had always wished to visit this place and this time I got the opportunity while on a road trip from Bangalore to Chikmagalur via Hassan.
A 45 minute detour from Hassan city, brought me to this place in the evening but unfortunately due to a lack of time, I could not wait for the sunset. I had to make do with whatever I clicked, while my camera tried to weave in and out, avoiding the random crowd that hung around the place occupying all the best arches and generally hindering my joy. I guess I will have to visit again for my Arch’che din