A post on a weekend outing to a place which had been on my wish-list for a reasonable amount of time. A monument that has withstood the ravages of time. That is the Rosary Church at Shettihalli! It stays submerged in the waters of the Hemavati River reservoir built near Gorur in Hassan District during the monsoon period. Here is the link for finding the church on Google Maps.
We started from Nelamangala around 9.30 AM. We were near the road to Shettihalli by 12 in the noon. As we wanted to be in Shettihalli in the evening around sunset, we decided to drive till Sakleshpur and have lunch there. On the way we spotted quite a few Indian Rollers, Pied Bushchats and a Black-winged Kite.
The terrain changed as we entered Sakleshpur. The dry land gave way to lush green hills. We had a sumptuous meal at Ossoor Restaurant next to Ossoor Coffee Estate in Sakleshpur. As we were heading back to the car after lunch, we spotted a Scarlet Minivet couple on a tree nearby. They seemed to be nesting there. We decided to head to the Manjarabad fort as we were too early for Shettihalli.
There was a huge crowd near Manjarabad. We decided not to head to the fort as it would be literally useless to climb and not be able to have a peaceful time. We drove back towards Shettihalli. The road was not so great as we approached Shettihalli. On the way we stopped wherever we saw birds. Sightings included Plain Prinia, Purple Sunbird, Black Drongo, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Long-tailed Shrike, Rufous Treepie, Greater Coucal, Common Iora, Spotted Dove, Green Bee-eater, White-cheeked Barbet, Cattle Egret and the Red-vented Bulbul.
This church was built by French missionaries in the nineteenth century. It was built in the European Gothic style very elegantly. In the 1960s the Government relocated the surrounding villages for the purpose of constructing a reservoir across Hemavati river to supply water for the nearby areas. Since then the church lies submerged in the water. Every year it is visible when the water level recedes. The church has an elegant charm to it though it is in ruins. It is hard to imagine how it might have looked in its heydays.
We took a brief walk around the ruins. There were a group of men who seemed to be drunk and creating a ruckus all over the place sadly. They marred our visit here. We decided not to take a coracle ride across the water. We walked away from the church and settled at a spot close to the river further away. A juvenile Brahminy Kite was hovering above us. We then spotted a River Tern, Pied Wagtail and a Common Sandpiper.
The ruins looked so charming as the sun set beyond the hills far away and the moon rose above it. Flocks of Little Cormorants were flying back home. It was time to call it a day and we were on our way back by 6 PM. We stopped for dinner at Kamat Upachar resturant near Chennarayapatna. It was 11 by the time we reached home.