magge church

Return To The (Now) Drowned Magge Church

The Magge Church, Drowned in the Backwaters of Gorur Dam

The Magge Church, Drowned in the Backwaters of Gorur Dam

In June, I wrote about my trip to the vast land area laid waste by the backwaters of Gorur Dam, and of the church in ruins there. What I saw then was barren land lying in anticipation of fresh flooding from imminent monsoons. I was in Hassan this week and went again to the church, to see after the rains. The vast landscape I had seen is now drowned. The last time, I had walked up to the ruins; this visit, I went there on a theppa. Reaching the church, only the top of which is exposed, I sat on a dry part on the Southern wall, feeling tiny, lost in mind and in body amid this immensity of water. After a while I came to, and spent time savoring cool clean air on my face and arms.

Puttaswamy, who took me there on the theppa, told me it takes a month for water to rise to this week's level.

He didn’t know when the dam was built. He said that on some weekends he ferries over a hundred people a day to the church, but yesterday, Saturday, he had no fare at all. Jotting down this note, I am annoyed with myself, that I can’t believe he ferries a hundred a day. I’m not entirely to blame, of course. It is such a desolate place, and it is hard to imagine a hundred people looking for it on the same day.