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Shettihalli church, Hassan – Road trip to the Gothic ruins

Saturday! Hassan! Shettihalli Church! Road trip!

Here’s quick navigation to help you plan your road trip to Shettihalli church in Hassan from Bangalore:

  1. History about the ‘haunted’ Shettihalli Church in Hassan
  2. How to reach Shettihalli Church from Bangalore
  3. Itinerary for a one-day road trip to Shettihalli from Bangalore
  4. Things to see near Shettihalli Church, Hassan
  5. Lesser-known facts about Shettihalli Church in Hassan

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.


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.

schettihalli church hassan roadtrip

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!


“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…


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 visit Shettihalli 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.


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.

near haluvagillu watefalls hassan

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.

shettihalli church ruins at hassan

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.

shettihalli church hassan images

We played around a little in the rain, trying to give life to Madeline and Inspector Gadget.

photoshoot at shettihalli church hassan

“Among the lateritious ruins, she stood, stuck in a deluge of memories, oh Madeline!”

photoshoot at shettihalli church ruins hassan

“When I’m following someone, I hate being followed!” – our very own Inspector Gadget…


That brings us back to the question I started on, did we get to see sunflower fields near Bangalore?

marigold field near bangalore in hassan

That’s me posing in the rain :D. It was drizzling as we walked towards the Marigold patch. Few farmers were 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!


Road trip from Bangalore to Shettihalli church is itself 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.

en route shettihalli church ruins 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.

Haluvagilu Waterfall near Hassan

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 kilometres 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.

6) Sakleshpur

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 😉


  • 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…

  • Even though 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 moviemakers 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 🙂

17 thoughts on “Shettihalli church, Hassan – Road trip to the Gothic ruins”

That is a really good read

Brings eeriness but also depicts of how the whole building is structured and what are the nearby places of popularity

Looks like a must visit site for all and especially travel loving freaks 😉😊😁

🙂 Shettihalli church in Hassan is indeed a place of must visit, I’d recommend road trip from Bangalore…

Hi Salman! It’s quite near to Bangalore… You should definitely plan a day trip to this place… If there’s more time, do spend it exploring those nearby places as well.

Never heard of this church before.Must plan a road trip from Bangaluru.Made delightful reading especially when we were looking around for places to visit on a weekend

++Who wld hv thot of a Gothic like church ruins in ones backyard ?! The picture(s) perhaps didnt show justice enough..but then commentary as always stands infallible !

++ And to realise the water levels in the adjoining river alternatingly submerges n raises this eerie lateritious relic intact, is just fascinating (with its walls mixed in jaggery+eggs u say ?!) Wht a marvel it shld be !

++ And if the Rosary church in itself wasnt nuff to entice, you cleverly add few other sidebar attractions as well !! All worth the visual gulp !

Cheers Meera..and yes..love your prose..! Key factor for my draw ! ( hundreds out there..why you therfore !)

Ah yes!! these pictures can’t compare to what your eyes get to witness at Shettihalli and Hassan, a backyard wonder indeed!! Should definitely visit one day 🙂 and also include those other places I’ve mentioned!!!

“ What you missed in your backyard turns the best glitter you missed so long”
It happens, but cheers to that soul who saw its worth and told you what you missed this long.
Absolutely well narrated giving that curiosity adequate to probe.
A lot many places to see..when??

I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of
it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new things you post厊
Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post. It was helpful.
Keep on posting!

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Billiga Fotbollströjor

Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues.
It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful.
Many thanks for sharing!
Billige Fodboldtrøjer

Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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