Again this year, many Mauritians of Hindu culture began their procession from last week to the sacred lake of Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao).
It is with a heart full of gratitude and devotion that the pilgrims made their way with their Kanwar on his back and headed to Grand Bassin, lake situated on the heights. Northerners of the island began their pilgrimage a week before. A pilgrimage during which the faithful braved the weather and fatigue to take the precious water of Ganga Talao, dominated lake at the entrance by the big statue of Shiva.
A few hours before they begin their procession, we met the group at The Friendship Rattle. Several people from various cultures and faith come together in this association to celebrate all the religious events of the country. At the head of this movement Beekarry Anand, a local resident.
It's been a month since he prepares his Kanwar, a large structure of over two meters, with his friends in his backyard to the rattle. Together they drove to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, February 16, after a religious ceremony.
Ashwan Kurnauth is a member of this group. For him, especially Maha Shivaratree represents a thanksgiving. "I manage all my projects and I am healthy. This is what matters and I consider it my duty to make the pilgrimage to Grand Bassin to thank Shiva for this, " he says.
Dressed in white to symbolize purity, the devotees took the road for a long walk. Once at Ganga Talao, pilgrims make offerings such as coconuts and other fruits to Shiva. According to Hindu beliefs, Shiva swallowed poison to prevent harm to humanity.
"Coconut water is poured over the statue to soothe the pain of Shiva due to this poison," says Anand Beekarry. Hindus have recourse to Shiva Bishek, a ritual of pouring milk and honey on the statue.
After prayers, the devotees make the pilgrimage again to shivalas, temples where they usually meet to pray. On the occasion of Maha Shivaratree, the faithful pour holy water of Ganga Talao recovered on the representation of Shiva in places of worship for the great night of Shiva. That from Monday 20 to Tuesday, February 21 during which the faithful pray and take care.
You should know that there is not that Mauritians who make the pilgrimage to Grand Bassin. Some come from Reunion but also in South Africa.
Maha Shivaratree is celebrated by Hindus around the world. In India, the faithful take a ritual bath in the Ganges, before going to the temple to the god Shiva bathe in milk, honey or water, and the cult extends throughout the night.
According to Hindu mythology, the lake of Grand Bassin is connected to the Ganges. For the record, in 1972, water from this river had been spilled in Grand-Bassin. Since then, the body of water located in the highlands is considered sacred and is known as the Ganga Talao.