Mahashivaratree is among the most important Hindu festival celebrated in Mauritius. This day is declared as a public holiday in Mauritius further to its significance to the Hindus and the multiracial facet of our island. Do not miss this testimony of faith towards Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism. The Grand Bassin, a sacred lake for the Hindus, is at the heart of this festival in Mauritius. Also known as the ‘Ganga Talao’, it is a lake located in a secluded area in the district of Savanne, which is about 1800 feet above sea level. The lake is surrounded by a beautiful natural scenery.
Mahashivaratree literally means the ‘Great Night of Shiva’. Devotees observe a fast of 10 days prior to the Great Night. They perform daily prayers in honour of Lord Shiva. It is the tradition for the pilgrims to build bamboo structures ornated with flowers and cloth, known as the Kawal, which they will carry to the sacred lake, Grand Bassin. At least three days prior to the Great Night, devotees start their pilgrimage to the Ganga Talao.
Witness this unique scene of hundreds of devotees all around the island converging to the sacred lake, all dressed in white. Experience the generosity of the Mauritian people while people from all races and religions provide food and refreshments in all parts of the countries to the pilgrims.
At Grand Bassin, the pilgrims pray to Lord Shiva and the other Hindus deities before starting their way back to home with the water from the sacred lake. During the Great Night of Shiva, prayers sessions are carried on all night long till morning and the holy water from the sacred lake is poured on the Shiva Lingam.
Apart from being an important festival for the Hindus, all the Mauritian population contribute to the success of the pilgrimage of the devotees through their generosity.