Mauritius ~ A Compilation of Cultures

The island of Mauritius was first settled by the Dutch, then taken over by France, and eventually during the Napoleonic Wars by Britain. During its rule in the 1700s, the French brought enslaved Africans to Mauritius to work in the sugar plantations. The British in about 1835 freed the slaves but brought in hundreds of thousands of indentured workers from India and China to replace them. Each group brought with them their cultural traditions, foods and religions, and many of these are evident in the culture today.

We visited the largest Hindu temple in Mauritius, built in 1819, and located in the coastal village of Triolet. We also saw statues around the temple in honor of some of their deities.

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The lush exotic plants and trees of the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens are a beautiful example of the lush green gardens prominent on Mauritius.

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  Ornate Gate welcoming us into the Gardens.

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The unusual Bilbao tree found in many African countries 

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 Upon entering the gardens, we saw a tree filled with bats.

Mauritius9 Mauritius is also known for its giant lily pads.

Mauritius10 Hunting for lunch amongst the lily pads.

 

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 Picture of the Pink Pigeon found only on Mauritius.

Was nearly extinct a few years ago, but has made a come back, with approximately 300 now in residence.

Mauritius was also the location where the last known Dodo bird died a few decades ago, becoming extinct.

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Across the street from the Gardens is St. Francois Church, which was one of the earliest Catholic churches in the area.

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The Grand Bassin, includes a lake that is sacred to the Hindu community living on the island of Mauritius. Here you see family members presenting offerings of water from a golden vessel, flowers, and food in the form of fresh coconuts they cracked and placed into the water. The statues of several Hindu gods can also be found around this lake.

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 Tortoises abound in this region of the Seychelles and Mauritius.

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Seven Colored Earths, is a unique geological curiosity whose name was inspired by the various colored soils found at the site, which is layered in extraordinary hues of yellow, blue, red, gray, green, orange, and brown.

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At this same site we saw a beautiful waterfall and a very unexpected site of men clearing and burning some of the foliage near the waterfall.

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We traveled on to the Chateau of Labourdonnais that was constructed in1858 and became one of the leading sugar plantations of the time. Its sugar factory was the estate’s primary source of income for many years and income from the production of sugar sustained the economy of the entire island for over a century.

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 Tree lined drive up to the Chateau

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In 1960, a major agricultural diversification program on the Chateau grounds led to the planting of a 120 acre orchard that produces 1,000 tons of tropical fruits a year, enabling the manufacture of naturally flavored fruit by-products such as fruit bars, jams, marmalades and fresh fruit juices.

We also visited the Aventure du Sucre – a former sugar factory converted into an interactive museum, provided the history of sugar cane – a product that has had a profound impact on the economy and culture of Mauritius. Barb is promising to write a blog post for us on the History of Sugar so it should appear some time in the next couple of weeks.

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Different kinds of sugar

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 Retired sugar making equipment

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “Mauritius ~ A Compilation of Cultures”

  1. Barbara Van Cleve November 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Extremely interesting! I had no idea that it looked like this nor that its economy was once based on sugar. Thanks.

  2. What an adventure you are all on! Your pictures have been absolutely marvelous. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey. Olivia

    Olivia Rogers, MA Manager, Out of School Programs Educational Alternatives and Interventions 1790 NW Spanish River Blvd. Boca Raton, FL 33431 ph-561-982-0925 PX 50925 fax-561-982-0943 FX 50943

  3. Yet another fantastic report! Thank you!

  4. Wonderful pictures and text. Thank you. Judith Becker

  5. My, my, what a close-up of Mr. Tortoise !!! I love the clever/unique angles of photo shots … and the shots of unexpected “nooks and crannies” … the juxtaposition of the small boy immediately after the sculptures was a clever arrangement …

    I keep having to remind myself that Africa is composed of vast deserts, a well as thick jungles … it’s the jungles that I think of when I encounter the word, Africa … have to get my head straight.

    What a glorious trip !!!

  6. The sugar plantation looks like you are back home or in Georgia.

  7. What an INTERESTING tour!

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