Diverse in cultures and traditions, Mauritius is home to a number of religions and practices.
As you wander the island, you will find a number of Temples, Mosques and Churches in any nook or cranny. These spiritual sites are a signature of the various religions practiced and are well frequented by locals and tourists alike.
It is the on the island If you are visiting Mauritius do visit these spiritual sites, where you can only marvel at all the sculptures and architectural-styles, but also enrich your cultural knowledge.
Ganga Talao also known as Grand Bassin is the number one pilgrimage site in Mauritius, located on a dormant volcano crater. There are several temples around the lake, with a few idols on the surface of the water itself. Grand Bassin is also known as the Lake of Ganges, since the water in the lake is considered sacred and has a link with the Ganges River. Surrounded by Hindu architecture, the various buildings are richly decorated with the sculptures of animals and flowers.
Moreover, Ganga Talao is home to the two tallest statues on the island, the Mangal Mahadev-Shiva statue standing at about 33 metres (108 feet).
Sri Siva Subramanya Temple (Kovil)
The Sri Siva Subramanya Temple is one of the most famous temples amongst the Tamil Community. An indian labourer, Velamurugan, had the dream of building a temple on the flanks of a mountain and this dream came true in 1907. Located on the side of a mountain, Corps de Garde Mountain, it takes over 200 steps to reach the temple. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war. During the Thaipoosam Cavadee Festival, the South Indian community can be seen flocking at the temple as part of their pilgrimage.
Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Temple (Mandiram)
Also known as Kaliyuga Vaikuntam, the Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Temple is a religious site and spiritual temple of worship for the Telugu community. The temple can be found in the village of La Laura- Malenga in the Moka district, at the foot of the mountain Pieter Both. It was originally constructed in 1921, but underwent extensive renovation in the recent years by artists of Southern-Indian origin, who crafted the idols. The temple is a tribute to the Lord Venkateswara, who is another form of the Hindu God Vishnu. One of the highlights of this temple is the shrine of Lord Venkateswara, heavily decorated in gold and precious stones- diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
Panduranga Kshetra Mandir
Following the arrival of indentured labourers from Maharashtra, India, the shrine was built in the year 1902, making it one of the oldest temples in the southern hemisphere. Found in the village of Cascavelle, Panduranga Kshetra Mandir is a relatively small temple that is easily recognised by its three domes. This temple is frequented and maintained by the Marathi community of Mauritius. The temple houses several Hindu idols, along with the main idol of Lord Ganesha, who is known as the God of Wisdom as per Hindu Mythology. The Panduranga Kshetra Mandir is partially carved with volcanic rock, giving the temple a unique look and architectural style.
Kwan Tee Pagoda
Kwan Tee Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas in Mauritius and the southern hemisphere. Also known as the Guan Di Pagoda, this religious site was founded by Hahime Choisane in 1842. Its location is based on the principle of Feng Shui- facing the sea of Port Louis on one side, with the mountains behind. Devoted to the god of wealth, Guna Di, the pagoda has since offered the Chinese community a place of worship, along with smaller altars dedicated to other figures. Along with providing a place to worship, the courtyard is also an oasis of peace and tranquility, used often for celebrating cultural events or for meditation.
Notre Dame de L’Auxiliatrice
Situated in Cap Malheureux, just a few steps away from the alluring blue sea, the Notre Dame de L’Auxilliatrice church is said to be a religious symbol in the remembrance of the men who lost their lives at sea. Founded in 1938, the small chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and draws in many Roman Catholic worshippers as well as visitors. Its bright red roof attracts many passersby and offers a very scenic and quaint backdrop for photos, especially for newlyweds. The church is built following typical colonial architecture, with a wooden frame and stones. It overlooks five northern islets, including Coin de Mire.
Located in the capital city, Port Louis, the Jummah Mosque was originally known as the Mosquée des Arabes (Mosque of the Arabs) in 1853. The small mosque could not accommodate the growing number of Muslims, so between the 1850s – 1880s, the mosque was expanded. Artisans and building materials were sourced from India, since locally it could not be acquired. The architecture is a blend of Moorish and Mughal influences, with an immaculate exterior or white and green. The mosque also houses the tomb of Syed Peer Jamal Shah, a pious figure among the Muslim community in the 1850s.