Some places have the power to transport you straight on to Hindi movie sets when you first encounter them– like the yellow mustard fields, huge mansions with high staircases, temples with lots of bells perched on hill-tops and many more. My visit to the partially submerged
at Shettihalli near Hassan, Karnataka, transported me straight on to the sets of a horror film by Ramsay brothers. Holy Rosary Church
We had found this church mentioned in some corner of our travel guide; yet, we decided to check it out. It was close to evening and the clouds had started gathering but that did not deter us from going ahead. We drove as per the directions but had to ask several people along the way for the ‘Shettihalli church’ as it is popularly known. We almost missed the narrow mud track that takes you close to the church. There was no one around. We parked at a spot and walked through the high bushes along the mud track until we reached an open area from where we could see the submerged church. It was built by the French over a hundred years ago and is now submerged under Hemavathy reservoir. From what I understand, the church is not always submerged under the water, but it was hard to imagine it that way as it looked like it was frozen in time. The dark clouds, the still waters and the eerie silence around added to the spookiness. We were the only ones around and I am sure even a slightest sound could have freaked us out. The longer I looked at the church, the more I got convinced that there must be hundreds of stories lying buried within its walls – stories of hope, belief, pain, destruction and fraternity. Stories that beckoned travelers like me, but left us unsettled looking for answers.