Maha Shivaratri Festival at the sacred lake of Ganga Talao

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Maha Shivaratri Festival at the sacred lake of Ganga Talao

Once a year huge, colourful crowds converge upon the Grand Bassin, the most sacred Hindu place on the island, to celebrate Shiva.

Located in the highlands, the Grand Basin (also called ‘Ganga Talao') is the largest shrine of the Hindu community of Mauritius, and for good reason: in 1972, sacred water from the Ganges was poured into the lake, which is dominated by a giant statue of Shiva. Each year, at the time of the « Day without moon of the month of Phalguna, » some 600,000 international faithful walk to the lake to worship the deity during a long night festival called ‘Maha Shivaratree'.

A few days before the celebration, you can see pilgrims dressed in white walking on the road of Bois Cheri to reach this centre of worship. They carry on their shoulders kanwar altars made of bamboo, bells, paper flowers, mirrors, and representations of the god. All Mauritians, not just Hindus, participate: other denominations feed and lodge the pilgrims as they make their way on foot to the holy site.

Grand Bassin, Savane district
Mauritius

7 March 2016

Free