Friday, May 31, 2019

A night at the haunted church : Shettihalli

Frankly speaking, I never knew this beautiful church had a haunted background to it. I always thought that this church was a perfect weekend getaway to many Bangaloreans and people of other towns nearby. Though my thought is still true, the other side of the story can still be creepy especially at night.

The once beautiful church is now nothing but a mere ruin. Because of its uniqueness, it is also a sought after destination to many photo lovers. This place also has less light pollution compared to other places in the state, thus making it a good destination for night sky / astrophotography.

History of the Church

The church was built during the 1860's by the French missionaries. However a century later, the denizens of the area moved along with their belongings, thus abandoning the place. This was due to the construction of the Gorur dam which was built across the Hemavati river, had caused the church to be submerged in water. Even today during monsoons, the church is covered with water, and many tourists visit the place to get a glimpse of this magnificent architecture in a different dimension.

Best time to visit

Though the church is open all around the year, it is suggested to visit the church at-least twice in a year to see the beauty in two different perspectives.

Dec-May : The church is seen as shown above, and one can take a stroll around it to enjoy the structure and appreciate the church.

July - Sep : The whole perspective is changed during this time, where the church is partially submerged in water.

How to reach

Shettihalli is located around 35kms from Hassan (in the state of Karnataka). Hassan is very well connected by roadways and railways from various other places in the state. Hassan is situated around 200kms from Bangalore , around 130kms from Mysore and around 170kms from Mangalore.

Bangalore -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Channarayapatna -> Hassan -> Shettihalli

If you are going by a private vehicle, take the deviation to the left just before Hassan and exit the highway. 

If you are still unsure, use Google Maps :)

Where to Eat

There are plenty of restaurants/dhabas all along the highway until Hassan.  Among these, few noted ones are, Kicchana Halli Mane run by the famous movie star Sudeep , Swathi Delicacy , Hotel Mayura , A2B etc.,
However, if you plan to stay overnight at the church, then it is advised to carry packed food as there are no hotels in the vicinity.


This season I made a couple of visits to the rosary church. First in April 2019 with a group of around 9-10 people and again in early May with a team of almost 25 people. I was mentoring this group as part of the astro photography workshop conducted by Youth Photographic Society.

The church has its own glory even though it is a ruin. Though there are cracks that are developed in the structure, I was amazed at the construction and silently appreciated the people behind its construction back then. 

Why is the church fascinating ?

While I was wondering about the church, I pondered upon these things:

1. Even though the church was abandoned from 1960 (almost 60 years back), the major part of it is still intact.
2. Every year, the church is submerged in water for a good amount of time, and also subjected to immense heat during the later part of the year. However, the church is standing tall irrespective of the harsh natural conditions.

Tips to photographers

1. I suggest you to reach the place before sunset, so that you can shoot the monument along with the setting sun.

The above image is a composite image which was stitched using 10 single images. The gradient light and variation of colors is what makes the place more attractive.

2. Post sunset, the clouds can be as dramatic as it can be. This is considered as the golden hour when you can capture vivid images of the enchanting vistas.

3.  Once the golden hour starts to recede, try the long exposure photography. If you have a private vehicle and a co-operative friend, then ask him to encircle the church with the vehicle's headlights ON. Thereby, in a single exposure you can capture both the light trails and the movement of clouds as shown below.

4.  Later in the night, steel wool can also be tried. However, be careful when playing with fire and also keep in mind that protecting the monument comes first than anything else. So none of your actions should cause any harm to the monument.

5. Also, try your hands with Light painting. 

Light painting, painting with light, light drawing, or light art performance photography are terms that describe photographic techniques of moving a light source while taking a long exposure photograph, either to illuminate a subject or space, or to shine light at the camera to 'draw', or by moving the camera itself during exposure of light sources. Practiced since the 1880s, the technique is used for both scientific and artistic purposes, as well as in commercial photography.

Technically even Steel Wool can be considered as Light painting.

6. Once the stars engulf the sky, the magic unfolds. A person who is from urban areas will get to witness millions of glowing jewels that they seldom see in cities.

Night sky / Astro photography is a very challenging genre of photography and equally exciting as well. Once you start capturing the beauty of the night sky, it is very hard for you to come out of it.

Star Trails :

These are not falling stars, but the movement of stars captured using a technique called Long Exposure. The movement of stars is due to the Earth's rotation and it can be seen as a trail.

More details on the techniques to capture Night sky is written in this blog. Click here to read about it.

Once you have captured the trails, try to make it more interesting by placing an object of interest and compose the frame accordingly.

Milky Way :

Milkyway is the galaxy where we live. Inorder to capture the milkyway, one should have a camera that is capable to shoot long exposure with a high ISO. A fast lens with a large aperture is a good choice.

Haunting at the church :

While we were shooting the night sky and enjoying the tranquility, an eerie feeling arose and we could sense something amiss. All of a sudden we heard a sound and when we went near the entrance of the church, we could not believe what we saw.

This marks the end of our eerily beautiful trip to the land of the rosary church : Shettihalli.

Don't get tensed, this was one of our model who posed for us :D

Points to remember : 

1. As I always say, please don't litter the place. The last time I went there, it was very disappointing to see the church surrounded by plastic plates and other trash around it.
2. If you are alone then night stay is not suggested. 
3. Carry sufficient food and water to keep you energised.
4. Neither the walls of the church need your poetry nor the people visiting the place need to know whom you love. Hence, please do not scribble on the monument and be a disgrace to the humanity.
4. Be a responsible citizen and help to protect the monument.

Thank you

Friday, May 10, 2019

Chao Phraya Dinner cruise : An evening in Bangkok

Bangkok is one of the most beautiful cities and its nightlife is what attracts more tourists. The magnificent malls, enthusiastic tourists, vibrant vistas and everything about this city makes one exhilarating.

Among the many attractions of the city,  dinner cruise in the Chao Phraya river is what many people crave for. 
Not only you get to savour the delicious dinner, but you can also visually savour the fascinating architectures of the city.

Chaophraya Cruise

The Chaophraya Cruise consists of two decks, the lower deck is the air-conditioning room, the upper deck is the open-air. The Cruise’s interior is vividly pronounced over distinct Thai Style. They are convenient, glamorous and decorated with Thai Style embracing your dinner cruise experience at its best.

Once you are onboard, you get to see the following memorials on your right hand side.

1. Sheraton Hotel 

Sheraton Hotel

2. Memorial Bridge
3. Wat Pho

4. Grand Palace

Grand Palace

5. Thammasat University

6. Rama VIII Bridge 

Rama VIII Bridge

The cruise then makes a 'U' turn beneath the bridge and then heads back towards the Pier. While heading back, you can see the following monuments on your right hand side.

7. Wat Arun

Wat Arun

8. Wat Kanlaya
9. Hilton Hotel
10. Peninsula Hotel

Peninsula hotel

11. Asiatique


Asiatique mall would be the last thing on your plate before the dinner cruise ends at the Sheraton Hotel river Pier. This marks the end of a 2 hour magical journey.

Highlights of the dinner cruise :

1) You get to see the beautiful city of Bangkok
2) The dinner is delicious 
3) You can dance to the tunes of Bollywood numbers performed by the live orchestra inhouse 
4) The upper deck offers a different perspective of the city.
5) Alcohol is served in the cruise (at extra cost)

1) If you are there on a weekend, then expect lot of tourists. 
2) Due to large influx of tourists, it is not well organized, and you can see people shouting and rushing during the entry/exit.

Altogether it is a different experience, and I would recommend you to relish this experience if you are in Bangkok.

Tips for tourists

1. Reach early to avoid last minute rush.
2. Entry tickets can be obtained online 
3. Many travel companies have this program in their packages. If not, you can get it added.
4. Respect the local culture, and help in preserving the beauty of the city.

Thank You 

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