Showing that it is not just a beachside tourist haven, the expansive Domaine de L ‘Etoile on the East Coast of Mauritius is a treasure trove of activities. Aimed at providing a family fun day, one can go quad bike riding through the mountainous terrain, engage in horse riding or walk through the luscious green surroundings that takes one into the heartland of nature. A serene stroll along the river that runs through the property is a wonderful appetizer of things to come. We were driven to the highest part of the mountain from where one could enjoy a panoramic view of the island. Tourists seemed to be queuing to go quad biking at Domaine de L ‘Etoile but there’s much more than meets the eye. Indigenous forests, beautiful bird life, stag roaming around the valleys and a silence in the air that gives one a feeling almost of being in a religious sanctuary. Domaine de L ‘Etoile shows off a different side of Mauritius. Where one is captivated by the country’s beaches, Domaine de L ‘Etoile takes one into the bosom of nature, embracing one with beauty and some beasts. It was a different slice of Mauritius, a paradise but for families to take in the atmosphere through the range of activities on offer. Some families bring their children to go horse-riding while the adults drive the quad through the valleys of Domaine de L ‘Etoile.
Mauritius is an island with people of many different faiths. Places of worship on the island date back to 1752. One of the modern wonders attracting tens of thousands of worshippers annually is the 108-foot-tall Hindu god, Lord Shiva regally placed at the entrance of Ganga Talao, also known as Grand Bassin. Majestic even on a wintry day when the sun disappeared briefly, the statue of the Hindu deity looms larger than life near the lake which plays hosts to thousands of worshippers. Plans are underway to build a second statue across the road from the existing giant statue are at an advanced stage.
The statue was built in 2006 and completed in 2007 in Ganga Talao, otherwise known as Grand Bassin. “Ganga” is associated with the Ganges River in India and “Talao” means pool. The Hindu regards this lake as sacred. It is here that you will find the Mangal Mahadev or Shiva statue which stands 33 metres tall in a district where there are many temples where devotees worship Lord Shiva and other gods. Standing at 33 metres or 108 feet, it is the tallest statue in Mauritius and the second biggest statue of Shiva in the world. Compared to other iconic statues, you’ve got the Jesus statue in Corcovado Rio in Brazil, which is only the fourth biggest statue of Christ in the world with nations like Bolivia, Mexico and Peru boasting taller Christ statues.
Construction has already begun on a statue of Durga Maa Bhavani next to Mangal Mahadev statue. It will be of a same height. The main reason is that the temple premises on which the Lord Shiva statue resides becomes heavily congested during Maha Shivrati prayers so another temple would ease the overcrowding which occurs at prayer time. Tens of thousands make the pilgrimage to the temple during prayer time.