Nestled in the heart of Mauritius, the shimmering waters of the Ganga Talao surrounded by infinite verdant stretches form a spectacular canvas of colors. A revered site of Hindu worship in Mauritius, magnificent statues and temples characterize the pellucid waters of this lake. Formerly known as ‘Pari Talao’ due to the folktales associated with it, the lake was renamed after the sacred Indian river, Ganga. The alabaster Sagar Shiv Mandir on the lake shores is one of the most revered Hindu shrines in Mauritius. Home to the tallest statue in Mauritius, the 108 feet (33 meters) tall Shiva statue dominates other figurines of Hindu deities. Displaying spectacular vibrancy and devotion, thousands of pilgrims walk barefoot to the lake during the grand celebrations of Mahashivratri.
Backdropped by the infinite waters of the Indian Ocean, the Notre Dame Auxillatrice is one of the most charming sites of Mauritius. Located in the village of Cap Malheureux, the whitewashed Roman Catholic church, topped with a striking red roof, is an embodiment of the tranquility that Mauritius offers. Intricate stone-carved altar housed in the interiors is a sight to cherish for many tourists. The church, built as a tribute to victims of an unfortunate shipwreck, is a popular photo-op destination for couples.
The capital of the island nation of Mauritius, Port Louis is a bustling, vivacious metropolis, named after King Louis XV. Historically, the city was always useful to the occupying powers of the island, be it the French or British. Owing to its convenient location, it was an easy entry point for ships and other vessels. It was the French, however, who were instrumental in making the city administratively prominent. Today, the city boasts a vibrant culture, a rich history, and is a recommended starting point for tourists. The Caudan Waterfront almost singlehandedly dominates the metropolitan vibe with its spectacular assemblage of upscale boutiques, restaurants, and cinemas. Landmarks like the Blue Penny Museum and Port-Louis Theatre solidifies the strong historical and social scene of Port Louis. The elite of the city can often be spotted at the Champ de Mars racecourse, which is the oldest race track in the entire Indian Ocean region. A city that has preserved its rich colonial past through its immaculate architecture while progressing towards a bright future, Port Louis definitely merits a visit.
Mahébourg represents history of the Mauritian island; located on the Southern coast, this was the region where colonialism was first established. The National Historical Naval Museum (Mahebourg Naval Museum) truly reflects Mahébourg in true sense of the word; you can check out the artifacts, historic documents, weapons used during the French battles and gain insight into the French colonial rule. While the museum peeks into the history, the Mahebourg Tourist Village unravels the regional art. At this tourist village, you can pick up handicrafts, trinkets and souvenirs. Owing to the popularity of Mahebourg, may resorts like Le Preskil Beach Resort have come up to accommodate the ever-increasing tourist boom. With a rich history and modern entertainment activities on offer, visit to this Mauritian city is a must.
A quaint little village in the district of Black River district, La Preneuse gets its name from a French naval ship that was involved in a battle with the British in the 18th Century. Located close to the village of Tamarin and the magnificent Le Morne Brabant, on the western side of Mauritius, Le Preneuse has a beautiful beach that looks over the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Also, this village is home to the Martello Tower, one of three surviving British fortifications of its kind on the island, which has been restored and functions as a museum. A visit to La Preneuse is a must for tourists who want to experience Mauritian local life.
Located in the district of Plaines Wilhems, Quatre Bornes is a lively little town, which officially came into existence in 1896, when it was declared a 'town' by the then British Governor Harman. With a population of about 75, 967, and covering an area of approximately 7722 square miles, this town has grown to be of much prominence. Today, this town is a great example of the town life of Mauritius, and has various cultural venues, including the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, where one can find a passel of events happening throughout the year. Do visit this inland town and discover what the island has to offer, beside the beaches and resorts.
In sunny Port Louis, a series of crumbling stone ghats or buildings stand testament to a major diaspora that occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries. Between 1849 and 1923, a large Indian labor force was transported through this 'immigration' depot, and as part of the process, umpteen contracted laborers from across the Indian Ocean were relocated for work as deemed fit by the British. At this point, Mauritius became the earliest colony to receive such a sizable contracted labor force from across its waters. Formally known as the Immigration Depot, but also referred to as the Aapravasi Ghat in Hindi, the UNESCO-designated heritage ruins are symbolic of this momentous move in history, one that shaped Mauritius' sub-cultures as we know them today. While the depot was originally built along the Trou Fanfaron Bay, years of development has pushed its location beyond modern attractions like the Caudan Waterfront. Though only ruins and remnants are left of the original structure now, a palpable sense of history still lingers.
Catch the latest flicks and blockbusters at the Star Cinemas. Housed in the Le Caudan Waterfront, it has 3 large screens comprising state-of-art audio-visual facilities. The classy interiors and modern equipments make for a unique and memorable movie-watching experience. For information on screenings and schedule, check their website
Located on the Marina Quay, in the Caudan Waterfront, the Blue Penny Museum holds a treasure of artifacts, documents, stamps, sculptures, and more, that detail the history of the entire island. Primarily known for its stamp collection, this museum boasts a splendid collection, which contains the rare Blue Penny and Red Penny stamps. So if you're curious to know more about the island's history, do plan a visit here. See the website for more information.
An integral part of the heritage of the city of Port Louis, L'Observatoire was built on the spot where once stood a powder magazine. Constructed around 1832 by John Augustus Lloyd, the Observatoire is best known for being the first meteorological observatory in the entire Indian Ocean region. When it was operational, this observatory has helped seamen avert an encounter with cyclones and was instrumental in the weather forecasts at the harbor. Today, the Observatoire is an essential part of the history of the harbor of the city and is also one of the stops on the Parcours Culturel, or Cultural Walk, of organized in the city. Do see the website for more information.
There is much more to Mauritius than just beaches, and even the local galleries and museums are worth visiting. Didus Art Gallery is one such creative space that lays a platform for the local artists to display their exclusive art work. Located at the Caudan Waterfront, the gallery showcases paintings and other art forms; blending local art with modern ideas, the collection at Didus represents local life and folklore. Apart from permanent exhibits, it also features nouveau art by upcoming artists. Visitors can shop for postcards, painting reproductions and other art objects to take back home souvenirs of their lovely trip. For additional details and images, check website.
Built in the 1850s, the spectacular Jummah Masjid is one of the city's premier landmark. An icon of the Muslim settlers that made Mauritius their home, the mosque boasts mesmerizing art & architecture. The mosque rings every Friday calling the faithful to prayer. Jummah Masjid is thus a must see while in the Port Louis.