For four months of the year, the Hemavati River in Hassan District of Karnataka is home to a haunting apparition. Just across from the riverbank at Shettihalli village is a wreath of pointed arches, scalloped arches, parapets and a belfry that skim the water. Spread across quite a large area, these astonishing remains gaze back at the shore with stoic patience, the visible ruins of India’s only ‘floating church’.
Submerged when the Gorur Dam was built in the late ’70s, they are the ruins of the Holy Rosary Church, which was abandoned when ‘development’ came a-calling to Hassan District. Now, every year, when the river swells during the monsoon, the church goes under and rises again when the water ebbs.
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