Shettihalli church, Hassan – Road trip to the Gothic ruins
Saturday! Hassan! Shettihalli Church! Road trip!
Twisting and turning, tugging away with a blanket pulled over. Like a nimbus the light from my cell sheens… #restless #excitement “Beep… Beep…” there goes the alarm, 5:30 am at last.
A LITTLE ABOUT SHETTIHALLI CHURCH
Picture yourself standing amidst the green opulence carpeted as long as your eyes can see. Embroider the scene with a rhythmically flowing river. Now imagine, standing prominent on the banks, a dilapidated Gothic church, all with a backdrop of the Cordillera. Sounds like a scene from the 1990s? Well, Shettihalli church in Hassan offers something similar.
By the banks of the river Hemavathi, stands the old church of Shettihalli. It was built during the 1860s by the French missionaries, a church for wealthy British estate owners, only to be abandoned 100 years later. Yes, the construction of Hemavathi reservoir during the late 1970s led to the abandonment of settlements from this dorp. Thereafter, the church was left forgotten. Well, it is not that sad. Every year tourists do flock in during monsoon to see that magnificent sight wherein the ruins partially submerge!
ITINERARY FOR A ONE DAY ROAD TRIP TO SHETTIHALLI CHRUCH
“PLOP…” the big blob of water on our windshield drained all my gusto. I hoped for this fast pouring rain to be just another daymare, *Suspiration*.
Not with me? Well, let me rewind a little.
8:37 am: Curtain of green and the ‘almost extinct’ orange lays coupled with the sight of fresh steamed ‘idlis’, an immediate pullover. A ‘Thattukada’ was our first pit stop en-route Belur from Bangalore. You must be thinking, why Belur on a road trip to Shettihalli, right? Truth is, the rosary church was never our destination. We were in search of sunflower fields near Bangalore.
Did we get to see sunflowers if bloom? Read on…
BANGALORE TO SHETTIHALLI CHURCH: HOW TO REACH
Enjoying the scenic beauty of Hassan, Shettihali church is situated about 20km from Hassan, and around 200km from Bangalore.
Nearest railways: You’ll find frequent trains commuting between Bangalore and Hassan.
By road: As always, I would suggest driving from Bangalore to Shettihalli church. It is indeed one of the must-do road trips from Bangalore.
Best time to visitShettihalli church, Hassan, would depend on what view you’d want to have – submerged or not. The church has a different charm to it every season. But yes, to see the ruins go underwater you have to visit during monsoons. Monsoon clouds do add on to that eeriness.
OUR ROAD TRIP FROM BANGALORE TO SHETTIHALLI CHURCH, HASSAN
Having planned to go scouting for sunflower fields around Bangalore, we ended up taking the fork from Hassan to Belur first. No matter, you can go on as per google maps. The roads en-route Shettihalli from Bangalore are quite scenic that you’d want to pull over around every second corner.
Racing the fast pouring rain and howling wind, having aimlessly covered the distance between Hassan and Belur in search of flower patches, we finally ended up near this peaceful lake. Ducks wading, children playing, locals tending to their farms, whilst the storm clouds hovered above… we quickly managed a few shots.
The off-ramp, country roads leading to Shettihalli church are quite narrow and muddy. As we hit the corner she loomed right in front of us.
Tents were put up as well, so if you are into camp-crafting this is one location to add to your bucket list.
Many vehicles were already parked, most of them for pre/post wedding shoots. We lingered about for a little, admiring the architecture and scouting for angles from where we can peacefully click pictures. I did see many trying to climb up the already-in-crumbled-state walls. Please avoid doing this, appreciate the building from a distance.
We played around a little in the rain, trying to give life to Madeline and Inspector Gadget.
“Among the lateritious ruins, she stood, stuck in a deluge of memories, oh Madeline!”
“When I’m following someone, I hate being followed!” – our very own Inspector Gadget…
OUR RETURN FROM HASSAN
That brings us back to the question I started on, did we get to see sunflower fields near Bangalore?
That’s me posing in the rain 😀 – It was drizzling as we walked towards the Marigold patch. There were few farmers lazing around, resting, who guided and showed us the path to the field, also warned us about the slippery mud paths. They were quite excited to have visitors to their farm all the way from Kerala.
Well, we never got to see the sunflower field but was fortunate to stand amidst the marigolds while returning to Bangalore from Hassan. PS: Do not “stampede” in these fields if ever you chance upon one…
I still remember the run we made for our car after shooting this, some heavy rain that was!
6 THINGS TO DO NEAR SHETTIHALLI CHURCH, HASSAN
Road trip from Bangalore to Shettihalli church is itself really satisfactory. But if you want to push in a little more to your adventure, this can be your guide.
List of fun things to do near Shettihalli church you can club to your Bangalore to Shettihalli road trip itinerary. Scroll on to see a list of few things to do in Hassan.
1) Haluvagilu Waterfalls
Pit stop near Haluvagilu waterfalls en-route Shettihalli rosary church is indeed a must. Breathe in the serenity of this place and enjoy a probably short trek to the waterfalls.
PS: Enquire with the locals as to how to reach the waterfalls from the main road.
2) Gorur dam
Who goes to Shettihalli church and not see the dam that caused its abandonment? Gorur dam, or the Hemavathi dam, on Hemavathi river is a sight of must visit on your road trip to Shettihalli. It is perfect for all those searching for quaint picnic spots near the Rosary church.
Info: Gorur is also known by the name of Gokarna Kshetra owing to Sage Gokarna.
3) Temple Hopping
Hassan and Shettihalli are not just about picturesque sights and picnics. You also have Paravasudeva as well as Yoganarasimha temples quite near to Gorur dam. The Yoganarasimha temple is said to house a “three-eyed” deity who sits facing west.
Few kilometers from this small town of Gorur lies yet another temple town, Holenarasipur, yet another story. As the folklore goes, the Lakshmi Narasimha temple here is situated exactly at the place where Lord Vishnu, as Narasimha, appeared before Sage Vasishta. He, in turn, asked the Lord to tarry and grant wishes of all those who come to visit him there. You can stop at this temple en-route Shettihalli from Bangalore.
PS: Do not forget to chat with the priests for a clearer version of these stories!
4) Hunting Sunflower and Marigold fields
Roads en-route Hassan and Belur do play hosts to beautiful stretches of sunflowers and marigolds. You can spot these easily during summer, and if lucky, might chance upon flower fields close to Shettihalli church as well!
Try asking locals selling marigold flowers along the roadside to direct you to some nearby fields!
PS: Be careful not to destroy the crops. Also, respect if the farmers don’t appreciate you going into their fields #don’t_trespass
5) Halebeedu and Belur
If you are planning for a two-day weekend trip, then exploring the Hoysala temple architecture at Belur and Halebeedu is a must.
Are you among the non ‘architectural buffs’, now thinking, “isn’t there anything apart from temples and histories?”. Don’t fret yet. Get mesmerized by the dense ghats and milky waterfalls, set out on trails exploring coffee and cardamom at Sakleshpur. You can even go on a green route trek along the abandoned railways. PS: Be sure to confirm if it’s made legal again 😉
FEW CURIOS ON SHETTIHALLI CHURCH, HASSAN
As I’ve already been blabbering throughout the article, the rosary church of Shettihalli submerges completely during monsoon. Even so, the church stands in full glory once the water recedes. Something here, ‘builders’ of our generation needs to learn eh? #punning 😉
Having said that, any guess to what would have been mixed with mortar and bricks? Scroll on…
I did read that a mixture of jaggery and eggs were used to build the famous ‘haunted’ Shettihalli Rosary Church. Is it true? Who knows…
Eventhough the haunted tag has been attached to this church, the “Shettihalli church haunted” keyword just left me with nothing interesting. The eeriness of this church is quite popular among photographers and movie makers though! 🙂 #ShootingLocation
And to conclude…
Walking between the rubble in search for good frames, I visualized how this church would have once stood. I could picture 100’s of people gathering for masses, cries of children as the priests go on and on, and the thronging of a huge bell that hung above…
Have you been to this Gothic ruins at Shettihalli before? Let me know through the comments 🙂