Shettihalli Church, a 163-year-old Gothic masterpiece, also called as a Floating Church gracefully submerges in the backwaters of Hemavathi Dam, Karnataka, during monsoons only to rise again in summers revealing its architectural splendour.
The church remains a masterpiece in many ways. It is built on the banks of Hemavathi river in Shettihalli village of Hassan district (about a half hour from Bengaluru International Airport), and is the forgotten testament of the village’s past. A classic example of Gothic architecture, it is purported to have been constructed in 1860 by a French missionary named Abbe J A Dubois. The materials which were used in its construction were the ordinary brick and mortar, along with glass brought from Belgium, Egyptian gypsum, jaggery and eggshells.
Meanwhile times changed as the Gorur-Hemavathi dam was constructed over the river 1960 which uprooted all villages surrounding the area of the church. Since then, the land floods with water and enters the surviving skeletal frame of the building every year during peak monsoon (from June to October). Despite this, the church stands with about one-third of its structure above the water’s surface hence acquiring its name like ‘Floating Church’ and ‘Submerged Church’.