Shettihali Church

Shettihali Church, a historic sight with religious significance has today become a famous tourist attraction among offbeat travellers. One may wonder, why is Rosary Church so famous? Is it because of its Gothic architecture or because it evokes reminiscence of the colonial era? Or is it simply due to its dilapidated state that creates a rugged backdrop for a perfect picture? Whatever may be the reason, Shettihali Church has today become a quick stop for travellers and photo enthusiasts. But where did it all begin?


Shettihali Rosary Church was built by the French missionaries in the year 1860. It is said to have been built for wealthy British estate owners in Alur and Sakleshpur. The church was reportedly constructed with mortar and bricks and a mixture of jaggery and eggs. Villagers say that this has given the edifice the strength to withstand adverse weather conditions. The church was frequented by Christians in Shettyhalli, Changaravalli, Madanakopplu, Doddkopplu and Gaddekopplu. 


When Hemavathi dam was built in the year 1960, the church submerged in the backwaters and therefore was abandoned. Today, it stands vacant, overlooking the dam waters, displaying the remains of its Gothic architecture and creating an impressive backdrop for passionate photographers. Shettihali church has also been nicknamed as the submerged church or the floating church. 

This roofless church comprises of remains of the pillars in the nave and an almost intact altar. An array of pockets on the side walls of a structure hints once presence of a wooden stairway towards the church bell.

How to Get there?


Shettihali is a small village located nearly 22km from Hassan and 200km from Bangalore. While driving on NH75 (Bangalore-Mangalore Highway) from Bangalore, approximately a kilometre after you have passed the deviation to Hassan town, you will find a signboard to the village on your left. Turn left and drive 15 km on this road to reach Shettihalli church. The church is located about 500mts down the road from the village center before the bridge over Hemavathi Dam backwaters. Google Maps should easily guide you to the location. In dry season, you can drive all the way up to the church. However, during Monsoon, you will have to park your vehicle by the main road and walk about 250mts to reach the church. 


Alternate ways to get there involves taking a bus to Hassan and hiring an auto-rickshaw to Shettihalli. You can also try to find some transport that takes this route to reach the town of Gorur (15kms from Shettihali). 


Different Seasons 


One of the most striking features about this monument that attracts tourists is that it takes a completely new form every season. During Monsoon, the church is submerged in water. One could only see the tip of the building from a distance. As the water begins to recede, it unveils the church a little by little. During dry season, it is easily accessible. The pristine surroundings also transforms with time. Its lush surrounding post monsoon turns tan as winter approaches. 

The total time to drive to the Shettihali church from Bangalore is around 3Hours. Therefore, it makes up for a wonderful weekend getaway for Bangaloreans. Carry some food and enjoy this idyllic setting at Shettihali that holds an interesting mix of nature and history. 


  1. Another lesser known gem in Karnataka..

    1. Indeed. A great place to visit during all seasons.


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