At 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning in Tamarin, the desire to act like tourists in our own country seemed to us to be an excellent idea. Show the boys their Mauritius Island in a different way, make them discover these places that all the guides talk about but that are not well known after all! A family activity in Mauritius is great!
First stop: Chamarel
Chamarel, a small village of 783 inhabitants, the last Rasta stronghold of Moris*! Visited by many tourists all year round, well known for its seven-coloured earths, its rum distillery and the Curious Corner, Chamarel has managed to remain authentic.
And it is by walking along its narrow and winding streets that we decided to have a culinary tasting. Famous also for their small and tasty pineapples,which we bought from a local merchant, we took pleasure in watching the sellerpreparingthemwith an unusual dexterity. The technique used to peel them is really impressive. The children were amazed. Then it was the turn of the bananas, coming directly from the local inhabitant’s house.
“Ayo**, quel délice, pas cauzé mama***”
After this curious conversation in the Mauritian dialect with the seller, we took the car back to Grand Bassin via the Plaine Champagne road. This road goes through the Black River Gorges National Park and we were able to enjoy the luxuriant nature that dwells there. For trekking lovers, this is the place to go for the ascent of the highest peak in Mauritius: the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, which rises to 828 metres. Accessible to all due to itseffortlessness, this hike should please each and everyone. We will talk more about it in a future blog post, be patient…
A surprising arrival at Grand Bassin: a cultural discovery of our Mauritius
And after about 17 kms (let’s say 25 minutes, because we measure the journeys in minutes or hours in Mauritius) we finally arrive at the Ganga Talao or Grand Bassin. This is the sacred place by excellence of the Hindu religion, whose believers formthe majority in Mauritius. They represent 52% of the total population. When you arrive at Lake Ganga Talao, the first thing you see from faris the imposing statue of Shiva, which is nearly 80 metres high. The children were very interested in learning the history of these sacred places which are as important as the Ganges in India. They are usually so talkative and rather energetic, like all the children of their age, but they kept quiet for a short while. As we move closer to the sacred lake, where all kinds of offerings are made, we mingle with an impressive crowd. The profusionof colours of the saris worn by the Hindu ladies represents a unique spectacle. We must not forget the many monkeys that live in this place and who are just as interested in what is happening. We also appreciated the warm welcome from the people who manage this place. It is certainly a very impressive place to visit with the family during your holidays in Mauritius.
Don’t forget the tradition of removing your shoes at the entrance of the temples during your visits. It is a mark of respect.
But as the saying goes: what’s bred in the bone comes out in the flesh! Thus, at the time of departure, the huge space reserved for parking cars was stormed by the boys who started a football game. I understand that it was very attractive, because even my husband was tempted and joined them.
We shared some great moments during the day. We had the opportunity to get to know better unusual places and to better understand the Hindu cult. It was anuncommon family activity, far from the beaches of Mauritius.
* Moris : Means Mauritius
** Ayo : Creole expression meaning everything and its opposite. So we use it when it hurts, when we want to apologize, when we feel sad, when we feel joy, etc. It is used in all languages and under all circumstances. Abroad it is the unfailing sign of who we are dealing with.
***Pas causé mama. Used when you appreciate something.