Shettihalli Rosary Church – A short day trip back in time.
Shettihalli is a quaint little village located 22 kms from Hasan and approximately 190 kms from Bangalore.
Here, on the banks of the Hemavathi river, lies a Gothic church built by the French Missionaries in the 1860s. Popularly called as the Shettihalli Rosary church, this scenic spot is not something that you would find easily while doing a mundane “One day trip near Bangalore” google search. It is off the touristy map and a place kept secret by true blue travelers.
Shettihalli Rosary Church was constructed using bricks, mortar and a mixture of jaggery and eggs. Back in the day it housed a prayer hall, school and even a hospital.
In the year 1960, the government built the Gorur dam nearby and resulted in flooding the waters of Hemavathi.
The residents of 28 villages near its reservoir including Shettihalli were relocated to another village but the Rosary church was left behind.
Every year during the peak monsoon season, the dam waters flood the reservoir and submerge the church till its spire.
Once the monsoon subsides, the water level recedes and the church gloriously emerges out standing the test of time.
A few years back, I’d read about the Shettihalli Rosary Church in a little snippet on Lonely Planet magazine. On researching further, I found an interesting blog by Neelima Vallangi and instantly fell in love with this surreal place.
After many years, the day had finally arrived. It was Independence Day weekend of 2016 and with the company of my best friends which made this day most memorable.
We started bright and early at 7am (It’s early for me!) and headed for the highway. We reached our pit-stop – Hotel Mayura, and enjoyed some mouth watering masala dose and idli-vade.
The road till Hasan ring road was brilliant, but got slightly narrow with rough patches after that. There were no clear road signs to Shettihalli Rosary Church but we switched on Google maps which pointed out the exact location of the church. A tiny mud road led us to the banks of the Hemavathi river and we had finally arrived at our spectacular destination.
Even though you’ve seen several photos of the Shettihalli Rosary Church, nothing can compare to the experience of viewing the magnificent structure in person.
The setting is straight out of a postcard with clear blue skies, lush greenery, color of the water changing from deep blue to light green due to the reflection of the clouds above, sights n sounds of the water birds and the majestic Shettihalli Rosary Church standing tall amidst them all.
We found a lovely place to park near the river bank and opened up our picnic baskets. We spent several hours chilling by the river bank, monkeying around, watching the birds effortlessly pluck fish from the river, sharing our meals with native dogs, enjoying the sounds of the flowing water n chirping birds and for a change zero traffic sounds. This was paradise!
We thoroughly enjoyed scouring the area around the Shettihalli Rosary Church for photos, putting the pieces together and imagining how it would have looked in its heyday. It was a trip back in time and one which I will never forget.
Shettihalli Rosary Church is a perfect one day trip and completely off the tourist radar. Go there now before it gets crowded!
The trip to Shettihalli Rosary Church is incomplete without a visit to the nearby Gorur Dam which offers the best views of the vast Hemavathi reservoir.
Directions: Google maps link – Bangalore– Nelamangala–Kunigal–Chennarayapatna–Shantigrama –Hassan (take the bypass ) and carry on the Gorur road for 22kms.
Time taken: 3 hrs from Bangalore including breakfast pit-stop.
Ideal time: Monsoon season when the water nears the Shettihalli Rosary Church. You can rent a coracle and take a ride circling the church.
Food availability: Pack your own picnic baskets as there are no places to eat nearby.
Places to visit nearby :
- Religious : Shri Ranganatha temple on Mavinakerre hill, Ramanathpur Temple, Nageshwara and Channakeshava temple, Bhagawan Bahubali Statue (Gommateshwara), Kedareswara Temple, Kukke Shri Subramanya Temple.
- Historic : Belur – Halebid
- Hill Station : Sakleshpur
Where to Stay: Hassan has plenty of affordable hotels for a comfortable overnight stay.
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