March 21, 2023

Located 22 km from Hassan in the small district of Shettihalli in Karnataka, the Shettihalli Church is a structure in ruins, but one that has also stood the test of time. Also known as The Submerged Church and The Floating Church, it has recently become a popular tourist attraction in the region and in Karnataka. Standing tall in the middle of barren fields, Shettihalli Rosary Church gets submerged in water every monsoon. A popular picnic spot and home to some birds, several tourists flock here to spend quality time with friends and family.

French missionaries built the church in 1860. This gothic-designed church was constructed on the picturesque banks of the Hemavati River in Hassan and served the wealthy Britishers as a religious worship centre. The Gothic-style-inspired structure does give haunted church vibes.

Soon after, the government decided to build the Hemavathi River and Gorur dam so the flowing river could become helpful in a better way.

The 1960 dam construction led to massive flooding of the Hemavati reservoir, flooding the church. Since then, the church has half submerged in water every monsoon leaving only the top portion visible, making it a rare sight.

  • It is pretty evident now that I have stated that the church is half-submerged in the water, but once the water subsides, it can be seen as a whole in its full magnificence.
  • The vicinity around the church is a significant movie shooting spot for shooting regional movies & serials.
  • Even after the consistent flooding of the reservoir over the past 25 years, the church stands tall.
  • Those who are photography lovers would love this place. When the dark sky reflects on the church through the Hemavati River in the background of the church, it creates the most amazing panoramic view.
  • For bird lovers and nature enthusiasts, this place would steal your eyes with its breathtaking surroundings.

The church is a masterpiece in many ways. Built on the banks of Hemavathi river in Shettihalli village of Hassan district (about a half hour from Bengaluru International Airport), it is the forgotten testament of the village’s past and a classic example of Gothic architecture. It is purported to have been constructed in 1860 by a French missionary named Abbe J A Dubois. The materials used were the ordinary brick and mortar, along with glass from Belgium, Egyptian gypsum, jaggery and eggshells.

In 1960, the Gorur-Hemavathi dam was constructed over the river which uprooted all villages surrounding the area of the church. Since then, every year during peak monsoon (from June to October), the land floods with water and enters the surviving skeletal frame of the building. Despite this, the church still stands, with only about one-third of its structure above the water’s surface. Over the years, it has acquired names like ‘Floating Church’ and ‘Submerged Church’. Tourists visiting the nearby Gorur dam to watch the waters flood through its gates hire boats for a quick sojourn to the ruins, and fishermen from surrounding areas can be asked for a tour of the historical site.

How to Reach Shettihalli Church Hassan:

By road: The church‘s distance from Bangalore is 200km, and you can always choose to access it through the streets. Buses are also available, which will drop you at the Shattihalli rosary church.

By train: Trains are available daily from Yashwantpur railway station to Hassan, Karnataka. Hassan to church distance is approximately 40 km.

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