Shettihalli church caught my attention a few years back when some of my friends had posted pictures of it on facebook. It was a new car shoot and the place gave it a great majestic background. A little bit eery but then it is a ruined church standing in the middle of a river so the eeriness is justifiable. Ever since then Shettihalli was on my mind. Am easily drawn towards ruins and heritage architecture and so I badly wanted to see this as well. I have gone on road trips down the Hassan highway many times but I do not know driving and am at the mercy of the one who drives, that a visit to the Shettihalli church has eluded me for so long. Recently on a trip to Sakleshpur, we took a quick detour to Shettihalli church and my wish got fulfilled.
About Shettihalli Church
The church is believed to be built by the French missionaries for the wealthy British estate owners in the 18th century. With it being on the Hassan highway which leads to a lot of coffee estates, this theory could be quite possible. Apart from word of mouth and information on the internet, I don't really know where to source information about this abandoned church. It is built on the banks of River Hemavathi or that is how it is now. In all probability from what I read, there was a village along with this church. But then they decided to build the Gorur reservoir and that meant the surrounding area started to flood. The villagers were relocated but this splendid church was left behind. I can only imagine it to have looked splendid cos it looks very similar to churches like St.Philomena's Cathedral of Mysore. Maybe not that majestic but the architecture wise.
Bangalore to Shettihalli Rosary Church
The Hassan highway is one of the prettiest highways to go on a one day drive from Bangalore. I love this highway. The coconut farms are still up and the plantain farms are up and it is green farms all throughout the way. It is the way to Belur, Halebid, and many other Hoysala temples. And also the drive to Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur is through this Hassan highway. So Shettihalli can be clubbed along like a stopover on the way or combine it with other Hoysala temples and make it a one day trip. On this particular day, it was drizzling beautifully adding on to the beauty of this highway.
Drive down the NH 75 and once you reach Hassan, a deviation on your left clearly marks the way to Shettihalli. It is a village but how you reach to the church is like solving a mystery puzzle. We did solve it but to date, I do not know if it is the right way. Once you take the deviation from the highway, more farms spring up and the village scenery sets in. After driving up for about 20km, we could see the water body which meant the church was nearby. But we couldn't see the church and the maps seemed to have small lanes branching to the church. A bike emerged from a muddy path and they directed us on the same mud path. It was a one way and definitely, the way meant for two-wheelers. The thick bushes suddenly cleared up and there it was standing. There was also another way from the other side of the church which opened up to a vast space and cars can drive without any hindrance.
When we reached the place it was just us and the place wore an eerie deserted look. Only the walls are up. I stood in front of it, putting a roof above it in my head, adding some colored glass panes to give that Gothic architecture a complete look, a simple altar and wooden chairs filling up the place. I took a couple of pictures and walked towards the Hemavathi river.
I walked towards the Hemavathi river. It remained super calm and it was super vast. The water from the Gorur Hemavathi Reservoir had receded so we could see the complete church. During the monsoon the water brims and submerges the church. That is quite a scene that many people drive to see while it is raining. Even coracle rides are done during the monsoon. But it is not a tourist place so there will be nobody monitoring it nor will there be any lifeguards. Take it at your own risk. Soon a couple of bikes drove in with young guys and girls who were clearly not happy to see us. Seriously?! It is just four walls standing up and I dunno what kind of privacy they were expecting.
The place could have been kept a lot cleaner. People come here to camp and leave behind beer bottles and plastics. Painful to see an area such as this kept uncleanly. I also got to know that photographers come here at night to capture the church against the Milkyway and do some star gazing.
The place is pretty deserted, I wouldn't recommend solo woman traveling to this place. This picture below was shared by one of my friends when he visited during peak monsoon. Yup, that is all you get to see!
How to Reach Shettihalli Church
From Bangalore take on the NH 75 and follow the Hassan highway bypassing the city. Soon you will find a deviation pointing the way to Shettihalli church. It is a deviation from a major four-way so there are very fewer chances for you to miss it. Shettihalli church is about 200km from Bangalore. Driving or riding down is the best way to enjoy Hassan highway and it is easier to reach the church. If you are taking a bus, there are plenty of buses to Hassan from where you can hire an auto or so. From
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