Some ruins of ancient times are much more beautiful than the best buildings of modern eras! ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
This holds completely true for this ruin of a 150 years old church at the bank of Hemavati River near Hassan. It is a perfect option for a day ride with a combo of a great journey as well as destination, a tranquil hideout from a city life to spend some quality time or read your favorite novel. Another interesting thing which makes this place unique is that it gets submerged into water every monsoon because of Hemavati Dam. So, there is a small window every year when this magnificent Gothic architecture can be seen in its full glory.
The idea was to leave home at 4 am to avoid the heat, at least in the onward journey. The timings itself reduced the number of people to our core gang of 4: Chang, Baanke, Anu and I, which further reduced to three due to Chang’s other so-called social commitments.
Ride and Directions
I really stopped counting the number of times we have passed through Hassan highway, as this en route to N number of great places around Bangalore. This is a very well maintained, 4 lane highway and it is always a bliss to ride here. Another great benefit of our multiple rides through this highway is that there is no planning or coordination required as everything is pre-planned, starting from our first meeting point at tea stalls near the Mangalore exit from Neelamangala Highway to our breakfast place A2B which is around 20 km before Hassan.
After some tea shots (as one small tea is never sufficient for me) at our first meeting point around 5:30 pm, we put on the helmets again and were ready to hit the highway. My bike speedometer was showing 150 after a long time and we continued riding till our breakfast place, as always. After a quick refueling of bike by premium petrol and ourselves by awesome Masala Dosa and Kesari Bhatha, we again started aiming for our final destination which was just 50 km away. We took a left from the highway after 30 km and further 20 km on a single lane road through jungle took us to our destination.
According to GPS, we had reached our destination but the church was nowhere to be seen due to large bushes on both sides of the road. After some 200-300 ms, suddenly we saw it in the middle of a wide-open field and the immediate next question was “How to reach there?”. Obviously, there was no road but there were multiple visible trails on the ground.
We decided to continue on the same road and take a first left exit from the main road and cross the bridge to reach the church which seemed to be a reasonable choice.
After continuing on the gravel mud road for sometime when we reached near the bridge, we realized that we’ll not be able to cross the bridge with our bike due to level differences. But we ended up exploring a section which is usually covered in water and were able to take some different shots. We spent around an hour there giving directions to other riders who followed the same path as us.
The only other route was to go back to the main road and find an exit closer to church after the river. Later we realized that there was a very narrow exit at the same point where GPS was directing us earlier.
This place seems to very popular, especially for bike rides. There was a gang of riders clicking group pictures, a solo rider who was reading a book in one corner and a couple relaxing on a riverside.
We saw a tent near the church but there was no one to enquire. So, I am not sure if it is required to have some permission for an overnight camp.
We started back home around 11:30 am when more number of people started coming. It’s better if you will target the place early morning to avoid the crowd. I really want to go one more time to this place in the rainy season when the church is half submerged into water.