On Friday, I rented a taxi and went around the south of the island. Mauritius is a small island but nevertheless there are a few highlights (barring the beaches, there are other spectacular places elsewhere in the world).
My first stop was at Grand Bassin or Ganga Talao. This is a sacred Hindu lake (I believe majority of the locals are Hindus). There are statutes of different Indian Gods and Goddesses at the lake. Legend goes that water from the Ganges was put into this lake making it sacred. Every year, during Mahashivratri (great night of Lord Shiva) thousands walk to offer their prayers at the lake.
Next stop was the Black River Gorge viewpoint. It had nice views but not stunning in my view. I was a tad disappointed but the next stop at Chamarel made up for the initial disappointment.
Chamarel also known as coloured earth is a place where the earth’s soil has multiple colours (due to iron oxidation). It is pretty but my personal highlight was getting close to the tortoises. Sadly these are not native to the island (the Dutch and the French wiped them out) but are taken from Seychelles (I think).
Next stop was Le Morne and the beach there. Le Morne has a sad story associated with it. I don’t know if this is indeed true. There were slaves living on this mountain who had run away from their masters. When slavery was rightly and finally abolished, the French soldiers went to the mountains to let the slaves know that they were free. But the slaves sensed that the French were there to capture them. so instead of going back to slavery, they jumped off the mountains and committed suicide.
The final stop was Gris Gris – another beach area. To reach Gris Gris, we drove along the ocean for more stunning views of the coast.
On Saturday, I attended my friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful and elegant beach wedding. Out of respect for the couple (since I don’t have their permission or release to post their pictures on a public website) I have this picture which hopefully captures the setting.
Then it was a lot of eating and dancing before I called it a night.
I am looking forward to my last 3 days on the island. I will be going North tomorrow and hope to get a better idea of the culture.
Before I sign off, 2 experiences to note:
1. I met the ex minister of sports (long time back) and we had a great chat of the history, culture, tax regimes etc – my kind of conversation. I am supposed to meet him and his family for lunch or tea today.
2. I got a glimpse of sega dance and it was beautiful. The picture doesn’t capture the vibrance of the dance – I have a video and I will upload to my FB page when the Internet connection is better.
Till the next time….