Every year on the tiny island of Mauritius a good pilgrpicture occurs. Thousands of Hindus make the rugged journey to a volcanic crater that houses the Ganga Talao, a lake elevated up high above the Indian Ocean, for a touch of divinity.

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Divine water

Tbelow are few similarities between the Ganges and also Ganga Talao at initially glance. One is a substantial river coursing with South Asia, the other a placid lake. For Hindus but, the connect that binds the 2 bodies of water is strong; spiroutine and also important.

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In 1887 a priest claimed to watch the waters of Ganga Talao flowing from the goddess Ganga in a dream – the exact same goddess who personifies the holy waters of the Ganges. Word of this revelation spread, transcreating Ganga Talao. A simple lake no even more, it was currently the embodiment of a Hindu god, connected directly to the mighty Ganges situated almost 4,000 miles away.

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Ever because worshipers have journeyed to the sacred lake, a social touchrock for the island’s Indian emigrants and a attach to their South Eastern past. Today it sits at the heart of the island’s a lot of crucial Hindu festival, Maha Shivaratri.

Creating a residence from home

To understand the celebration’s definition is to understand also the difficult history of Mauritius’ Indian neighborhood. The island’s Hindus are the descendants of half a million indentured laborers, subjects of the British Empire carried to Mauritius in the nineteenager century via the promise of a far better life. However the life that awaited them was much from that.

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Disease was rife aboard the vessels crossing the Indian Ocean, via cholera, smallpox, malaria and also yellow fever before claiming stays at sea or on countless quarantine islands at the doorstep of Mauritius. Those that made it to the mainland worked in the sugar cane fields in tough conditions. It was not slaincredibly, however it far from a normal functioning setting.

“When they came they carried incredibly (few) product possessions,” defines Sarita Boodhoo, that has combated to maintain the legacies of her forefathers. “What they brought in their heart, in their throat, in their psyche was that means of living of hundreds of years.”

Central to their method of living was their faith. The revelation that Ganga Talao was connected to the Ganges permitted the Hindus of Mauritius to bathe in spiritual waters once more.


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“The water is pure,” claims Sateesh Dayal, head priest at one of the many type of holy places at the water’s edge. “It’s pure (and) it’s divine.”

Maha Shivaratri celebprices the god Shiva, one of Hinduism’s three major deities, the creator and the destroyer. Pilgrims carry hand-made “kanwars” – shrines dedicated to Shiva – to Ganga Talao, and also once they uncover a area at the water’s edge, they perdevelop their own exclusive ceremonies through offerings of fruit, incense and also fire.

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“When they carry out their prayer through some water they are purified,” Dayal explains. “While (they are) pouring the water, the energy that Shiva has actually, that power is transferred to you.”

For human being who cannot make the pilgrimage, those at the lake will certainly bottle up the water and also rerevolve it to their friends and also families. It’s a opportunity for everyone to pray for forgiveness and feel the touch of the sacred liquid.

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“I must go for all my family members, my kid, for the people in my village,” says worshiper Raguv Mahadeo. “(It) is a spiroutine place. We go tbelow, we have actually some stresses. We finish that (stress) as soon as we go tright here. All the anxiety, it goes.”