The paradise island of Mauritius is a Hindu majority country and quite interestingly inhibits 670,000 Hindus, which is quite a considerable number, given the picturesque and tiny geography of the island. It is the only island off the coast of Africa with such a major Hindu population. You can find some Hindu temples spread out all over Mauritius. Navratri is an auspicious occasion that is grandly celebrated by the Hindus on the island. The 2017 Navratri celebrations were even more special as Mauritius made all the Hindus in the country and around the globe very proud by building the tallest Durga Mata statue in the world!
The enormous statue of Durga Mata can be found on the banks of Grand Bassin or Ganga Talao, which is a crater ]]-lake situated in the Savanne district of Mauritius. The story behind the discovery of Ganga Talao goes back to 1887 when a Pandit had a dream about how this lake of Mauritius is connected to the holy river of India – the Ganges or Ganga. Since the discovery of Ganga Talao, it has become popular as a sacred lake for the Hindus all over the island who come from different parts of the country to take a dip in the holy waters in the Talao. A beautiful Sagar Shiv Mandir was established eventually on the banks of the lake. Following that in 2015, a gigantic Bhagwan Shiv statue was unveiled near the Mandir, which is reputed as one of the tallest Shiv Ji statues in the world.
The statue of Maa Durga was unveiled on the 30th of September and the 1st of October 2017. It is 33 metres high, that is 108 feet. There is a reason behind this particular height specification, and it is quite impressive. The number 108 has a special significance in the Hindu mythology. It is believed that sages could envision the cosmic existence synchronised by the natural order of ‘rta’ regarding cycles. It has been explained how the distances between the Sun, Earth and Moon with respect to each other, the planetary rotations and the resulting impact - everything is closely related. The number 108 is important for the fact that the diameter of the Sun when multiplied with 108 results in the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Besides, the diameter of the Moon when multiplied with 108 results in the distance between the Moon and the Earth. Furthermore, the Sun’s diameter is 108 times the diameter of Earth.
The Maa Durga statue surpassed the Deshpriya Park Durgotsav Maa Durga statue in Kolkata, which was 80 feet high. Construction of this magnificent spectacle of Indian art began in 2011. The funding was strictly dependant on donations, and not a single penny was extracted from the public funds. The project involved six years of relentless and dedicated hard work and intricate designing. Engineers, sculptors and workers from different parts of Mauritius and India worked unanimously. They adhered to the Hindu scriptures as a source of reference and inspiration. The construction of the statue required nearly 2000 cubic metre of concrete and about 400 tons of iron. The Devi Maa Murti is in close vicinity from the Bhagwan Shiv Murti, which is widely known as Mangal Mahadev. It has become a landmark of one of the most significant milestones on the island and a primarily visited tourist attraction. As a result, the Durga Maa Murti is becoming a key factor for bolstering the tourist footfall further.
A grand Durga Puja was organised for the unveiling ceremony of the statue. Mauritians in large numbers irrespective of their faith attended this holy event. The planning and preparation for this Puja began in advance after a Shubh Muhurat was conformed. It was quite fascinating for how the Hindus from India cohered to their traditions and beliefs in spite of being so far away from their homeland.
Registrations for the Guinness Book of Records and LIMCA World of Records have already been requested by Mr Bheechock, one of the trust coordinators of the temple.
So if you have plans of visiting Mauritius in around September or October, make sure you align your dates with Navratri and visit Ganga Talao to experience something magical. Take a dip in the holy waters of the lake, seek the blessing of the deities and immerse yourself in this sublime setting amidst the splendour of Maa Durga and Bhagwan Shiva.
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