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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shettihalli Rosary Church Ruins near Hassan, Karnataka

When the waters of the Hemavathy rise, the Shettihalli Church drowns in it and when the waters recede, the Shettihalli church ruins strike a start contrast to the vividly coloured landscape. That is what makes Shettihalli so special as it offers glamour all the year round.

A Shettihalli moment 
Shettihalli is a small village situated on the banks of the Gorur-Hemavathy reservoir, about 25 kilometres from Hassan in Karnataka. In its hey days and prior to the construction of the reservoir at Gorur, Shettihalli used to be a very rich agricultural hamlet that was known for its sunflower fields.

Shettihalli Church Ruins and its surrounding vibrant colours from the Gorur Hemavathy Reservoir Bed 
Today, it is lies in a mystical self with hardly a soul around. This Rosary Church was built at Shettihalli by French missionaries in the mid 19th century. Today, the church lies in in varying states of ruin.

Shettihalli Church Ruins 
During the monsoons and when the reservoir is near to its brim, the Shettihalli church is nearly submerged except for its top most spire. And during the dry season, one can actually walk in and around the church as the reservoir recedes quite a bit.

Shettihalli landscape 
It was the dry season of the year when I was there. The church was set amidst very picturesque landscape. Its brown and yellow colours contrasted splendidly against the green and the blue of the landscape. In fact, the church can be seen from a distance towering from the banks of the Hemavathy reservoir.

Shettihalli Church Ruins 
This place is not well known. In fact, I had heard about it only once and that too from true travellers. I was fortunate to be a part of a group of expert travellers who led me here. Apart from its idyllic setting, this place is fantastic for birding too. During my 2 hours here, I spotted a grey heron, Indian pond heron, painted stork, little cormorant, many egrets, lots of river tern and many Brahminy kites.

Hemavathy Reservoir Mudflats against the Shettihalli church 
This location is also ideal for landscape photography. The rich colour and hues that this place offers is eye candy for any one with a wide angle lens. For those not keen on birding or photography, the Shettihalli church and nearabouts offer a great break from the fast paced life of the city and that too in nature in its purest form.

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