Giant, Awe-inspiring Hindu Statues in Mauritius
19th July 2019
Mauritius is a vibrant and unique country, filled with unbelievable wonders and amazing surprises; from gorgeous tropical beaches and lagoons to sensational undulating surrounds, unique natural sites as well as a fascinating history and a phenomenal culinary scene, Mauritius really has it all.
One of the best parts about this multifaceted country is definitely its amazing people and the multicultural landscape that exists here and, of course, the variety of religions that are celebrated in the island nation. The majority of the population in Mauritius practices Hinduism, but Christianity, Buddhism and Islam are also observed with incredible religious festivals of all kinds taking plahice throughout the year.
There are also a number of religious sites scattered across the island which include everything from churches and shrines to incredible statues, by far the most impressive of which can be found at the spiritual site at Grand Bassin. But they are not the only huge statues in Mauritius.
Here's what you need to know about the tallest god and goddess statues in Mauritius and where exactly you can find them:
Two of the statues can be found at Grand Bassin
Grand Bassin, also known as Ganga Talao, is a significant spiritual site for those following the Hindu faith. This sacred lake can be found in the heart of the Savanne district, surrounded by lush tropical jungle and actually lies in the crater of an extinct volcano, around 550m above sea level.
The lake, the origin of which is steeped in mystery and legend, has been declared a holy lake, one that is rumoured to connect directly with the water of the Ganges in India. Fringed by shrines (depicting different deities such as Lord Shiva, Lakshmi, Hanuman and others) and a Hindu temple, this holy site also serves as the fabled pilgrimage site during the annual Maha Shivaratri - Shiva’s Great Night - in honour of the deity.
Grand Bassin is well worth a visit (but remember, as it is a sacred site please dress conservatively). It’s a place of prayer, meditation and tranquillity, where many people simply come to enjoy the stunning surrounds. As you approach the site, you will be greeted by two enormous copper-coloured statues (two of the biggest deity statues in the Southern Hemisphere); one of Lord Shiva standing with his trident at the entrance of Grand Bassin and the other of the Hindu goddess Durga Maa a few metres away from the giant statue of Lord Shiva.
The Lord Shiva statue is also known as the Mangal Mahadev
The incredible statue of Lord Shiva is also known as the Mangal Mahadev and is as beautiful as it is majestic. This impressive statue of the Hindu God of Destruction is actually a copy of the Shiva statue near Sursagar Lake in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. The construction of the statue was finished in 2007 and it was officially unveiled with a ritual (the “Sthapan”) during the Maha Shivratri festival in 2008.
The statue of Durga Maa is the biggest of its kind in the world
Towards the end of 2017, the biggest statue of the Hindu goddess Durga was unveiled in Mauritius, to accompany the nearby Mangal Mahadev. The construction for this statue started in 2011 and it took 6 years for specialists to craft this gorgeous work of art, which was celebrated in 2017 with a special Durga Puja which took place after many consultations with Indian gurus who are very familiar with the sacred Hindu texts and the stars. The goddess Durga Maa is said to be an incredible warrior, and so the statue includes a lion, which symbolises courage and strength. The statue was built thanks to donations and is made up of some 400 tons of iron and 2000m3 of concrete.
The Lord Shiva and Durga Maa statues measure a whopping 33 metres high
If you don’t quite believe that these statutes are absolutely massive, then try to comprehend the fact that each of them measures 108 feet, or 33 metres, high. This makes the Lord Shiva statue the highest in Mauritius and the third tallest of its kind in the world and the Durga Maa statue is the actually the largest statue of a Hindu goddess in the world, trumping the Durga statue in Kolkatta - needless to say, these statues, and the holy Grand Bassin, are an absolute must-see while in Mauritius.
There is actually another huge statue in Mauritius
If the fact that Mauritius has two huge god and goddess statues already wasn’t impressive enough, there is actually another, perhaps lesser known, statue that is as magnificent as the others we have already mentioned. At 16eme Mille, Forest Side, at the temple of Hari Hara Devasthanam, there stands an impressive statue of Lord Sri Venkateswara (which is one of Lord Vishnu’s other forms in the Hindu faith), the only one of its kind in the world.
When this statue was unveiled, some 20 000 people were in attendance to witness the event and celebrate the unveiling. Brilliantly coloured with accents of gold, this statue represents power (the discus in his upper hand) and existence (the conch shell) and his lower hands are behind his back ready to protect his devotees. As with the other statues in Mauritius, this huge statue stands at 108 feet or 33 metres tall and was created to bless Mauritius and the countries nearby. At the Hari Hara Devasthanam, devotees can join in prayer according to the principles of the Sanatan Dharma and gain greater spiritual awareness.
You will also find other impressive statues here (although nowhere near as big) such as the Panchamukhi Hanuman, made out of black stone, which represents a powerful force for good vibes and protection for the people and country of Mauritius.
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