KARNATAKA

Standing tall in troubled waters

VISITORS' DELIGHT: Holy Rosary Church near Hassan is submerged by the backwaters of the Hemavathy reservoir

VISITORS' DELIGHT: Holy Rosary Church near Hassan is submerged by the backwaters of the Hemavathy reservoir  

The church was built by French missionaries in 1860

Staff Correspondent

HASSAN: Holy Rosary Church at Shettihalli, which is being submerged in the waters of the Hemavathy, is attracting tourists by the hordes. Many are flocking to the area to get a glimpse of the partially submerged church, which looks like a stranded ship. The ruins of this enormous church are completely visible only in summer.

Situated around 15 km from here on the Hassan-Shettihalli Road, the church is attracting those who visit Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola.

Picturesque

A mention of the name Shettyhalli gets people in the region nostalgic about the picturesque village. The sunflower and castor fields, and the Hemavathy flowing quietly by the side, completes the picture of a quaint village.

However, it was submerged during the construction of the Hemavathy Reservoir at Gorur, to irrigate land in Hassan, Tumkur and Mandya districts. Now the church stands in the middle of the river, as a reminder of a village that was lost.

According to villagers, French missionaries built the church in 1860 for wealthy British estate owners in Alur and Sakleshpur. The church was reportedly built with mortar and bricks and a mixture of jaggery and eggs.

Villagers say that this has given the edifice the strength to withstand the vagaries of nature. The church was used by Christians in Shettyhalli, Changaravalli, Madanakopplu, Doddkopplu and Gaddekopplu.

Reservoir

When the reservoir was built, the villagers were rehabilitated in Maria Nagar of Arkalgud, Alphonso Nagar of Channarayapatna and Joseph Nagar in Hassan taluk.

The church stands to this day as a tribute to the excellent craftsmanship of the masons of those days.

The tourists arriving in Hassan will be able to see only the tip of the spire, as the water-level has increased considerably this monsoon.

Despite being submerged for almost 20 years, a part of the altar is still intact. The cruciform and the nave are also in perfect shape.

The number of tourists visiting Shettyhalli has increased in the past few months after a national television channel featured it in a travel programme. A little publicity and mention in travel books will help put the church on the tourist map.

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