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Shettihalli Rosary Church: A mystique charm

There was a sudden buzz in my head to go for an unplanned trip. Well, everyone will agree, unanimously, if I say that unplanned trips are the best ones. It was a weekend (we all love weekends and wait for their arrival at the starting of every week) and I did not want to let the day pass without giving me some good memories. I had to go somewhere, but where? Time is always a constraint when it comes to unplanned trips and you have a project to submit on the coming Monday. So, me and my travel partner, a very good friend of mine who is a biker himself, quickly took Google’s help in searching for some ‘one-day travel destinations’ and decided to visit the Shettihalli Rosary Church.

Full view of the church

Full view of the church

Shettihalli Rosary Church, also known as the ‘floating church’, is a lesser explored destination in Karnataka. The magnificent piece of Gothic Architecture is situated 205 km from Bangalore, 22 km from Hassan, in Karnataka. The history of the church dates to 1860s when it was built by the French Missionaries for the then British estate owners, on the banks of Hemavathi river where quondam villages existed long ago. Later in 1960, when the government constructed the Hemavathy Dam, in Gorur, near Hassan, the villages were shifted upstream, leading to the relocation of the people and the abandonment of the church.Since then, the Shetiahlli Rosary Church, has been standing, forlorn and forsaken, for almost 200 years bearing the wrath of time. Since the construction of the dam, every year, the church submerges in water during the monsoon when the water levels in the Hemavathi reservoir are high; only a part of the church is visible making it a rare sight. The church can be seen at its full length during the dry, summer season when the water level recedes. As we visited the church during the summer, we did not have the fortune to see the flowing Hemavathi River (it had dried up), nor did we see the flock of water birds flying above. With many shutterbugs arriving at this destination, the Shettihalli Rosary Church, has started attracting a lot of tourists and is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination.

Shettihalli Church submerged in water

Shettihalli Church submerged in water

Image Source: Google

Coming back to our trip, we left the city of Bangalore early in the morning, at dawn, and reached around 10.00 am. We had no idea about the route so we decided to follow the Google Map. The church was not visible from the main road so we asked the local people about the exact location. From the main road (the point where the Google map ends), we had to take a left turn and drive downhill to reach the church. The downhill road is a dirt track that leads to the church.

The church seen from a distance

The church seen from a distance

Well, I must say, the long bike ride is worth all the trouble once you reach the location. The perfectly clear sky and the vast stretches of Hemavathi river bank makes this place a paradise for photographers. The church is in ruins now showcasing only the skeletal structure. Few walls and towers are still standing upright, just to let us join the dots and imagine what the church would have looked like in its entirety. The eroded and mossed walls bear the testimony of regular flooding since so many years. Nevertheless, the magnificent church standing against the backdrop of the clear blue sky added a beautiful memory of another successful trip and I returned home with the hangover from the mysterious charm of the Shettihalli Rosary Church.

The structure of the churc

The structure of the churc

The broken bell-tower of the church

The broken bell-tower of the church

FACTS:

How to reach:
By bike or car: Takes around 4 hours
By bus: Regular buses leave from Hassan bus station till 16:00

Best time to visit:
You can visit the church during any time of year. The summer will show the church in its full glory whereas the monsoon will narrate a different story of the submerged church.

Entry Fees: Not required

Note: If you visit this mystical place, it is a kind request to keep the sanctity of this place by not littering with plastic and glass bottles, and also by avoiding to scribble on the church walls. Places like the Shettihalli Rosary Church are a handful and we need to be more responsible citizens when it comes to saving such monuments.

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Phurli Jharan – The perennial waters of Kalahandi

Phurli Jharan waterfall

Phurli Jharan waterfall

Well, the wedding season is around the corner again and this time, it is my friend getting hitched with his lady love. So, there I was, planning for the big day, months before. Not only a friend’s wedding brings a lot of new clothes and goodies, but it also brings the joy of going on a vacation, the much-needed break from the daily hustle and bustle. So, I and the rest of the other friends gathered and set off to make some noise in the much-awaited wedding, scheduled in Bhawanipatna – a small city and the district headquarter of the Kalahandi district in the Indian state of Odisha.

Luckily, we had a day off from the busy marriage schedule so we decided to explore. This idea was like a cherry on the cake, as I noticed a photograph of a waterfall named ‘Phurli Jharan’on the last page of the room service menu catalog, provided in each room where the ‘Baratis’ (a fun word used to describe the groom’s friends and family) were put up,  at Hotel Bhagirathi. We managed to hire a cab, comfortable enough to accommodate the big gang and left for the destination.

Staircase leading to the waterfall

Staircase leading to the waterfall

 

The journey was breathtakingly beautiful. The tall trees arched over the meandering road forming a canopy of leaves, the lofty grass on either side of the road formed an enclosure of the barren land beyond, the wind carried the fresh aroma of the jungle and the hamlets exhibited the simplicity of a new beginning. The place was scarcely inhabited by the people who were merely touched by the progress of time. The roads stretched into the horizon as far as the eyes could see, lying like a cobra with seductive curves, until we heard the sound of the water swishing over the rocks.  We took the turn and parked our vehicle.

Entrance to the lake

Entrance to the lake

A series of descending steps, built by the rocks and boulders, surrounded with picturesque landscape having thick, overgrown roots took us to the waterfall, magnificently pounding the tiered rocks. As the water was surging and plunging  on the stones shaded with the color of moss and lichen, it gradually formed a narrow path which merged into beautiful serenity-lake at the bottom.  The shallows of the lake were clear like a crystal enabling us to see the pebbled bottom and it became deeper toward the center. This place was not thronged by the crowd and hence had the perfect balance of tranquility and serenity. The chirping of birds, the trickling sound of the water coming all the way from the fall to merge with the lake, the chirrups of the crickets, the rustling of the bushes – everything existed in equal harmony making the place alive. The trees by the lake stooped down to get a glimpse of their beautiful reflection in the clear waters of the lake, which was magnified by steeping sun rays. Last but not the least, we saw a big idol of Lord Shiva in the mediating position as we made our way to the waterfall.

The lake

The lake

Clear water

Clear water

Visiting this winsome location was a sheer delight as we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. We became the living evidence of the charming sight of evergreen forests and the rainbows created by the sun rays falling on the disintegrated water particles. After having an extremely pleasant time in this sublime location, we departed with the departing rays of the sun. Deciding to come here instilled a refreshing feeling, much alike the feeling after a nice shower, following which we were all decked up in our best garments, with intensified invigoration to burn the dance floor on our friend’s wedding event.

Location Detail Summary:

  • Name: Phurli Jharan
  • Location: 15 km from Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi District.
  • Height: 15 – 16 meter
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kesinga. It is about 45 km from the main Kalahandi City.
  • Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneshwar. It is about 418 km away.
  • Roadways: Well connected by Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (O.S.R.T.C) and private buses. Taxi services are available from railway station and airport.
  • Nearest National Park: Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
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Kiradu – A place lost in time.

Nothing is immortal. Everything that is the epitome of blooming prosperity and sustainability has to surrender before time. It can create and destroy anything living or dead, leaving behind the indelible history and a scope of evolution for the upcoming generations.

Located about 35km from the desert city of Barmer a city that shelters many lives in the bleakness of the Thar Desert — is Kiradu, a city obliterated with time. Previously known as ‘Kirat Koop’, this solitary place has made its mark on the pages of history during the 11th and 12th century, when it was under the binate rule of Someshwara from the Parmar dynasty and Maharaja Madan Brahma Deo from the Chauhan dynasty. Both the kings owned their allegiance to the Solanki Kings from Gujrat.

During this time, the city witnessed the development of the glorious culture and its artefacts. Many temples were established depicting famous scenes from the ancient epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Also, scenes of the city being attacked by invaders are sculpted. But, among all these, the main attraction of the ruins is the collection of five temples that still stand erect, defending the power of time, among the 108 temples built during the prosperous era. Some of these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and some to Lord Vishnu. These temples portray a fine example of the architectural mix of the Maru (Madhya) Pradesh and Gurjar (Gujrat) Pradesh. The Solanki style of architecture featuring a closed hall, a porch can also be noticed. The ‘Someshwara Temple’, the ‘Garbh Graha’ the ‘Maha Mandap’ and the ‘Dwar Mandap’ all showcase the exquisite mythology of the Indian culture. History also says that this place was invaded by Muslim leaders which led to the consequential destruction of the temples and the defaced statue of the Gods and Goddesses.

The only things that remain in this lonely place are the vandalized temples, the dance halls, the rubbles of the houses and the mystery of this hidden place. A visit to Kiradu can make anyone wonder about re-birth, reincarnation, majesty of the kings. The remains of the temples competing with time, in it, are a great example of victory over ruination. Hidden between mountains and lush greenery (a very rare sight in an arid region), this magnificent place perfectly exemplifies the elegant cultural history and the intricate architecture of India.

Thus, a visit to this mystical place can deliver you in the hand of time and a peep to the glorious past of our culture.