|MURURGA KOVIS (TEMPLE) INAUGURATION BY TAMILS IN MAURITIUS OFF THE COAST OF EAST AFRICA AFTER 30 YEARS OF PRAYERS & kARm-yog |
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on September 15, 2008
Murugan slaying the demon
The 30 year Long Awaited Inauguration Of
September 12, 2008: PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS,
(Mururga is a Mauritius language version of the name Lord rugan
described in the right hand column and on the next page)
Sunday, September 14, 2008 will see the long-awaited
Kumbhabhishekam of the Bala Dhandayudapanee Tirukovil on Monneron Hill,
in the Vallee Pitot region of Port Louis.
Since 1961, members of the local Tamil community have been worshipping
and observing their festivals in the nearby
Gupteswarnath Mandir, thanks
to the generosity of its owner and president, the late Pandit Sooner,
who exemplified the wonderful spirit of Hindu solidarity that prevails
In 1979, the Tamil community set up and registered the Vallee Pitot
Tamil Cultural Circle (VPTCC) and promptly applied for a plot of land
for the construction of a Kovil and a Tamil School, , eventually obtaining
a lease on the Monneron Hill site.
In 1985, the association invited Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami,
known as Gurudeva among his followers and founder of Hinduism Today, to
bless the land.
During his visit, he placed a Vel under a tree,
announcing that a Kovil would soon manifest on that mountain if the
devotees maintained their faith and kept the vibration alive.
end, he advised members of the association to have weekly prayers and
keep on lighting a lamp where the Vel had been implanted.
In April 2008, the VPTCC asked Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami to bless
the construction site, and he told the members that the Maha
Kumbhabhishekam would take place this very year. />
AndAnd so it shall. Prayers and ceremonies have been ongoing since
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 commencing with a huge Ganapati homa. On
Saturday, September 13, 2008 devotees will be allowed to apply oil to
the murtis. The actual consecration of the temple with the murtis will
take place Sunday, September 14, 2008.
Murugan or Muruka? (Tamil: ???????) called Subrahmanya (Kannada:
???????????) is a popular Hindu deity among Tamil Hindus, and is
worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influence, especially South
India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
Lord Murugan is more popular in South India compared to other parts of
India. Like most Hindu deities,
Lord ugan is known by many other names, including Senthil, Sarava?a,
Karttikeya (meaning 'son of Krittika' ), Arumugam or Shanmukha (meaning
'one with six faces'), Kumara (meaning 'child or son'), Guha, Skanda
(meaning 'that which is spilled or oozed, namely seed' in Sanskrit)[
Subrahma?ya, Vela? and Swaminatha.
He He is the God of war and the patron deity of the Tamil land (Tamil
According to the Tamil
devotional work, Thiruppugazh, "Murugan never hesitates to come to the
aid of a devotee when called upon in piety or distress".
Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. A
majority of the republic's residents are the descendants of people from many
different places including Africa, India, France, Great Britain, Australia and
many more. Many of the people have mixed ethnic origins.>
This week is amazing week for PVAF to publish inauguration of a
second Mandir on this planet earth far away from the diverse
cultures in the lands of India where Mandir originated as part of
of the oldest human ancestry of to date known civilizations of the
current humanity on this planet earth ....and the amazing fact is this
Mandir, similar to the South African mandir story published on
PVAF NEWS last week, has been inaugurated by a very
small community of Tamil devotees
never giving up on their belief and dream for 30 years.....
(south India) was the first to
bring vEDik lifestyle
and culture to Mauritius....
As part of PVAF mandate's learning
about life of harmonious co-existence to make your tomorrow happier than
today with KNOWLEDGE.....learn about the location of this Mandir in a tiny island of Mauritius with
a population of about 1.2 million and the history. since 1834, of the migration
and growth of Indian community
therein which today makes the majority of the Mauritius
population ....and still living vEDik
lifestyle they brought to Mauritius in the mainstream of western
culture.....including the puraaANik knowledge about Lord Murugan .....please click on the next line......
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lord Murugan (Kartikeya)
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|God of War
Valli and Devayani
???????) called Subrahmanya
???????????) is a popular
Tamil Hindus, and is worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil
Sri Lanka and
Malaysia. But in
as well as
Buddhists revere a highly sacred Buddhist and Hindu shrine
Katharagama temple (also in
Sinhala "Katharagama Devalaya") dedicated to him and situated
deep south in the country.
Lord Murugan is more popular in South India compared to other
parts of India. Like most Hindu deities, He is known by many other
Karttikeya (meaning 'son of
Krittika' ), Arumugam or Shanmukha (meaning 'one
with six faces'),
Kumara (meaning 'child or son'),
Skanda (meaning 'that which is spilled or oozed, namely
seed' in Sanskrit),
Vela? and Swaminatha.
He is the
God of war and the patron deity of the Tamil land (Tamil
Nadu). According to the Tamil devotional work,
Thiruppugazh, "Murugan never hesitates to come to the aid of a
devotee when called upon in piety or distress".
The references to Murugan in Sanskrit literature can be traced
back to the first millennium BCE. There are references to
Subrahmanya in Kautilya's Arthashastra, in the works of Patanjali,
in Kalidasa's epic poem the
Kumarasambhavam and in the Sanskrit drama
Kushanas, who governed from what is today
Peshawar, and the
Yaudheyas, a republican clan in the Punjab, struck coins bearing
the image of Skanda. The deity was venerated also by the
Andhra dynasty, and the
The worship of Kumara was one of the six principal sects of Hinduism
at the time of
Adi Shankara. The
Shanmata system propagated by him included this sect. In many
Shiva and Devi temples of Tamil Nadu,
Subrahma?ya is installed on the left of the main deity.
Sati, the consort of
immolated herself at the
Yagna, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Sati was reborn as Uma,
Parvati the daughter of the mountain king Himavaan (the
Himalayas). Shiva withdrew himself from the universe and engaged
himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas.
In the meanwhile, the demon
Surapadman ravaged the earth and tormented its beings. It was
realized by the gods that only the son born of Shiva could lead the
gods to victory over Tarakasuran, Surapadman and their demon
companions. They plotted with
Kamadeva, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in
meditation, so as to make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kama
aimed his arrow, Shiva opened his third eye and burned Kama to ashes
The sparks of the fiery seed of Shiva were unbearable; even the
fire God Agni could not bear them; this fire was then transported by
the river Ganga into the Saravana forest into a pond called the
Saravana Poigai(located at mouths of river Ganga), where the sparks
became six children. They were raised by the six
Krittika or Kartika - the stars that make up the Pleiades,
earning the name Karthikeya. Parvati combined these six babies into
one with six faces, ie. Shanmukha or Arumugan. Since he was born in
the Saravana he was also called 'Saravanabhava.'
Murugan became the supreme general of the demi-gods then escorted
the devas and led the army of the devas to victory against the
demons. The six sites at which Karthikeya sojourned while leading
his armies against Surapadman are Tiruttanikai, Swamimalai,
Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Pazhamudirsolai, Tirupparamkunram and
Tiruchendur. All these sites have ancient temples glorified by the
Tamil poems of Tirumurugaatruppadai of the Sangam period (circa the
3rd century CE).And these six sites collectively came to be known as
"Arupadai Veedu" (Lang:Tamil), it means the six battle camps of the
[a title="Edit section: Hindu epics" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Murugan&action=edit§ion=2">edit]
TThe first elaborate account of Karthikeya's origin occurs in the
Mahabharata. In a complicated story, he is said to have been
born from Agni and
after the latter impersonated the six of the seven wives of the
Saptarishi (Seven Sages). The actual wives then become the
Pleiades. Karthikeya is said to have been born to destroy the
(In later mythology, Mahisha became the adversary of
attacks Karthikeya as he sees the latter as a threat, until Shiva
intervenes and makes Karthikeya the commander-in-chief of the army
of the Devas. He is also married to Devasena, Indra's daughter. The
origin of this marriage lies probably in the punning of 'Deva-sena-pati'.It
can mean either lord of Devasena or Lord of the army(sena) of Devas.
Ramayana version is closer to the stories told in the Puranas
Raja Ravi Varma's impression
Atharva Veda describes Kumaran as 'Agnibhuh' or son of
the fire god. The Satapatha Brahmana refers to him as the son of
and the ninth form of Agni. The
Taittiriya Aranyaka contains the Gayatri mantra for Shanmukha.
The Chandogya Upanishad refers to Skanda as the "way that leads to
wisdom". The Baudhayana Dharmasutra mentions Skanda as 'Mahasena'
and 'Subrahmanya.' The Aranya Parva canto of the
Mahabharata relates the legend of Kartikeya Skanda in
considerable detail. The
Skanda Purana is devoted to the narrative of Kartikeya./a>
Though slightly varying versions occur in the Puranas, they
broadly follow the same pattern. By this period, the identification
that can be traced back to the
Brahmanas, had clearly made Karthikeya the son of Shiva.
Skanda Purana narrates that Shiva first wed
Dakshayani (also named Sati), the granddaughter of Brahma, and
the daughter of Daksha. Daksha never liked Shiva, who, symbolizing
destruction and detachment, begs for food, dances in a graveyard
smeared with ashes, and has no possessions, not even good clothes
for himself. Daksha publicly insults Shiva in a
Yagna ceremony, and Dakshayani immolates herself. The Yagna is
destroyed although protected by all the other Gods and the
believed that, because Shiva is an ascetic and his earlier marriage
was conducted with great difficulty, his remarriage was out of the
question, hence his boon of being killed by Shiva's son alone would
give him invincibility.
The Devas manage to get Shiva married to
Parvati (who was Dakshayani, reborn), by making Manmatha (also
Kama), the God of love awaken him from his penance, but Manmatha
incurred the Lord's wrath indicated by the opening his third eye -
"Netri Kann" , and being destroyed & resurrected. Shiva hands over
his effulgence of the third eye used to destroy Manmatha to Agni, as
he alone is capable of handling it until it becomes the desired
offspring. But even Agni, tortured by its heat, hands it over to
Ganga who in turn deposits it in a lake in a forest of reeds
(shara). The child is finally born in this forest (vana) with six
faces-eesanam, sathpurusham, vamadevam, agoram, sathyojatham and
adhomugam. He is first spotted and cared for by six women
representing the Pleiades - Kritika in Sanskrit. He thus gets named
Karthikeya. As a young lad, he destroys Taraka. He is also called
Kumara (Sanskrit for "youth")
Classical Tamil representation of Murugan with Deivanai
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status and is pending deletion. You can
on its removal.
Sangam Literature (early centuries CE) mentions Murugu as
a nature spirit worshipped with animal sacrifices and associated
with a non-Brahmanical
priest known as a Velan , a name later used to refer to the
deity himself. The worship of Murugu often occurred in the woods or
in an open field, with no particular associated structure. The
rituals practiced included the Veriyaattu, a form of
ritual-trance-dancing, which is still a common part of Murugan
Malaysia. Murugu was believed to hold power over the chaotic and
could be appeased by sacrifices and Veriyaattu to bring order and
Tolkappiyam, possibly the most ancient of the extant Sangam
works, glorified Murugan, " the red god seated on the blue peacock,
who is ever young and resplendent," as " the favoured god of the
The Sangam poetry divided space and Tamil land into five allegorical
areas (tinai) and according to the
Tirumurugarruppatai( circa 400-450 CE) attributed to the great
Sangam poet Nakkiirar, Murugan was the presiding deity the Kurinci
region (hilly area). (Tirumurugaruppatai is a deeply devotional poem
included in the ten idylls (Pattupattu)
of the age of the third Sangam).
The other Sangam era works in Tamil that refer to Murugan in
detail include the
Akananuru and the
One poem in the Paripaatal describes the veneration of Murugan
"We implore thee not for boons of enjoyment or wealth, But for
thy grace beatific, love and virtuous deeds".
Architectural findings of pottery in several places in
Tamil Nadu and elsewhere had ideographic inscriptions of this
name as far back as 3rd century BCE.
According to noted
Iravatham Mahadevan, the ideographs signify a brave warrior
capable of killing evil demons to save the devoted.
Lord Muruga was worshipped for giving the meaning of the Pranava
Mantra (OM) to Lord Shiva himself.
Murugan is venerated through out the Tamil year. There is a six
day period of fast and prayer in the Tamil month of Aippasi known as
the Skanda Shasti. He is worshipped at
Thaipusam, celebrated by
Tamil communities worldwide near the full moon of the Tamil
month Thai. This commemorates the day he was given a Vel or
by his mother in order to vanquish the
Vaikasi Visakam or the full moon of the Tamil month of Vaikasi
signifies his birth. Each Tuesday of the Tamil month of Adi is also
dedicated to the worship of Murugan. Tuesday in the Hindu tradition
Mangala, the god of planet Mars and war. This reveals the link
between Skanda and Kujan (Mangala).
Kartikeya symbols are based on the weapons - Vel, the
Divine Lance that He carries and His mount the
peacock. He is sometimes depicted with many weapons including: a
sword, a javelin, a mace, a discus and a bow although more usually
he is depicted wielding a sakti or spear. This symbolizes His
purification of human ills. His javelin is used to symbolize His far
reaching protection, His discus symbolizes His knowledge of the
truth, His mace represents His strength and His bow shows His
ability to defeat all ills. His peacock mount symbolizes his
destruction of the ego.
His six heads represent the six siddhis bestowed upon
yogis over the course of their spiritual development. This
corresponds to his role as the bestower of siddhis.
Worship through ages
Historically, Kartikeya enjoyed immense popularity in the Indian
subcontinent. One of the major Puranas, the
Skanda Purana is dedicated to him. In the
Bhagavad-Gita (Ch.10, Verse 24),
Krishna, while explaining his omnipresence, names the most
perfect being, mortal or divine, in each of several categories.
While doing so, he says: "Among generals, I am Skanda, the lord of
Kartikeya's presence in the religious and cultural sphere can be
seen at least from the
Gupta age. Two of the Gupta kings,
Skandagupta, were named after him. He is seen in the Gupta
sculptures and in the temples of
Elephanta. As the commander of the divine armies, he became the
patron of the ruling classes. His youth, beauty and bravery was much
celebrated in Sanskrit works like the
Kalidasa made the birth of Kumara the subject of a lyrical epic,
In ancient India, Kartikeya was also regarded as the patron deity
of thieves, as may be inferred from the Mrichchakatikam, a
Sanskrit play by
Shudraka, and in the Vetala-panchvimshati, a medieval
collection of tales. This association is linked to the fact that
Kartikeya had dug through the Krauncha mountain to kill the demon
Taraka and his brothers (in the Mrichchakatikam, Sarivilaka
prays to him before tunnelling into the hero's house).
However, Kartikeya's popularity in
North India receded from the Middle Ages onwards, and his
worship is today virtually unknown except in parts of
Haryana. There is a very famous temple dedicated to Him in the
Haryana and this temple is very well-known in the adjoining
areas, especially because of the fact that women are not allowed
anywhere close to it. Women stay away from this temple in
Haryana because this shrine celebrates the
Brahmachari form of Kartikeya. Reminders of former devotions
to him include a temple at Achaleshwar, near
Punjab, and another temple of Skanda atop the Parvati hill in
Maharashtra. Another vestige of his former popularity can be
Bengal, where he is worshipped during the
Durga Puja festivities alongside
Popularity in Tamil Nadu
South India, Murugan has continued to be popular with all
classes of society right since the
Sangam age. This has led to more elaborate accounts of his
mythology in the Tamil language, culminating in the Tamil version of
Skanda Purana, called Kandha Puranam, written by
Kacchiappa Sivachariyar (1350-1420 CE.) of Kumara Kottam in the city
Kanchipuram. (He was a scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit literature,
and a votary of the
Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy.)
He is married to two deities,
a daughter of a
Deivayanai ( also called Devasena), the daughter of Indra.
During His bachelorhood, Lord Murugan is also regarded as
Kumaraswami (or Bachelor God), Kumara meaning a bachelor
and Swami meaning God. Muruga rides a
peacock and wields a
bow in battle. The lance called Vel in Tamil is a weapon
closely associated with him. The Vel was given to him by his
Parvati, and embodies her energy and power. The flag of his army
rooster. In the war, the demon Soorapadman was split into two,
and each half was granted a boon by Murugan. The halves, thus turned
into the peacock (his mount) and the
As Muruga is worshipped predominantly in
South India, many of his names are of Tamil origin. These
include Senthil, the red or formidable one; Arumuga,
the six-faced one; Guha and Maal-Marugan, the nephew
Lord Subramanya is the major deity among the Thiyyas of northern
Lord Subramanya is worshipped with utmost devotion in districts
Dakshina Kannada and
in the state of
Karnataka. Rituals like
nagaradhane are unique to this region.
Given that legends related to Murugan are recounted separately in
several Hindu epics, some diferences between the various versions
are observed. Some Sanskrit epics and puranas indicate that he was
the elder son of Shiva. This is suggested by the legend connected to
his birth; the wedding of Shiva and Parvati being necessary for the
birth of a child who would vanquish the demon Taraka. Also,
Kartikeya is seen helping Shiva fight the newborn
Ganesha, Shiva's other son, in the
Shiva Purana. In the Ganapati Khandam of the
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, he is seen as the elder son of Shiva and
Ganesha as the younger. In South India, it is believed that he is
the younger of the two. A Puranic story has Ganesha obtain a divine
mango of knowledge from Narada winning a contest with Murugan. While
Murugan speeds around the world thrice to win the contest for the
mango, Ganesha circumambulates Shiva and Parvati thrice as an
equivalent and is given the mango. After winning it, he offers to
give the mango to his upset brother. After this event, Ganesha was
considered the elder brother owing as a tribute to his wisdom.
In many traditions, Murugan is seen as a bachelor. Many of the
major events in Murugan's life take place during his youth, and
legends surrounding his birth are popular. This has encouraged the
worship of Murugan as a child-God, very similar to the worship of
the child Krishna in north India. Other traditions have him married
to two wives, Valli and Devayani.
Murugan Icons carried in procession during
at Batu Caves.
The main temples of Murugan are located in Southern Tamil Nadu.
They include the
Aru Padaiveedu (six houses- rather, military camps in his
campaign against demon) -
Thiruthani - and other important shrines like
Malai Mandir, a prominent and popular temple complex in
is one of the few dedicated to Murugan in all of North India apart
from the famous
Pehowa temple in
There are innumerable temples dedicated to Lord Subramanya in
Amongst them , the most important ones are Subramanya temple in
Haripad, Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Swamy temple in
The key temples in Sri Lanka include the sylvan shrine in
Kataragama / (Kadirgamam), or Kathirkamam in the deep south, the
temple in Tirukovil in the east, the shrine in Embekke in the
Kandyan region and the famed Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna.
There are several temples dedicated to Murugan in
Malaysia, the most famous being the
Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur. There is a 42.7m high statue of
Lord Murugan at the entrance to the Batu Caves, which is the largest
Murugan statue in the world.
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road, Singapore is a major
Hindu temple where each year the Thaipusam festival takes place with
devotees of Lord Muruga carry Kavadis seeking penance and blessings
of the Lord.
In United kingdom, Highgate Hill Murugan temple is one of the
oldest and most famous.
Murugan temple in
Hill) is a major Hindu temple for all Australian Hindus.
Worship in Sri Lanka
Kartikeya or Murugan is adored by both Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese
Sri Lanka. Numerous temples exist throughout the island. He is a
favorite deity of the common folk everywhere and it is said he never
hesitates to come to the aid of a devotee when called upon.
In the deeply Sinhalese south of Sri Lanka, Kartikeya is
worshipped at the temple in
Kataragama (Kathirkamam), where he is known as Katragama Deviyo
(Lord of Katragama) or Kathiravel. This temple is next to an old
Buddhist place of worship. Local legend holds that Lord Murugan
alighted in Kataragama and was smitten by Valli, one of the local
aboriginal lasses. After a courtship, they were married. This event
is taken to signify that Lord Murugan is accessible to all who
worship and love him, regardless of their birth or heritage. The
Nallur Kandaswamy temple, the Maviddapuram temple and the Sella
channithy temple near Valvettiturai are the three foremost Murukan
The Chitravelautha temple in Verukal on the border between
Trincomalee and Batticaloa is also noteworthy as is the Mandur
Kandaswamy temple in Batticaloa. The late medieval-era temple of the
Kandy, dedicated to the tooth relic of the Buddha, has a
Kataragama deiyo shrine adjacent to it dedicated to the veneration
of Skanda in the Sinhalese tradition.
Sri Lankan idol recovered", BBC News (11 June,
Clothey p.49 Skanda is derived from the verb
skan?r meaning "to attack, leap, rise, fall, be
Many Faces of Murakan: The History and Meaning of a South
Indian God By Fred W. Clothey p.1
Ratna Navaratnam ; Karttikeya, the divine child:the Hindu
testament of wisdom published in 1973 by the Bharatiya
Mahabharata, Aranyaka Parva, Section 230 of the
vulgate translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883-1896 )
Ratna Navaratnam ; Karttikeya, the divine child:the Hindu
testament of wisdom published in 1973 by the Bharatiya
Kanchan Sinha, Kartikeya in Indian art and literature,
1979,Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan.
"Muruga in Indus Script" - a note by the renowned
- Free Encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Regions with significant populations
title="Rose-Hill" style="text-decoration: none; color: #002bb8; background: none;" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose-Hill">
|Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin,
Indo-Mauritians are people of
descent living on the island of
Mauritius, where they represent a majority comprising 68% of the
population according to the
July 2007 statistics.
The first of these Indians arrived to the
Immigration Depot in 1834 as
indentured labourers to work the sugarcane fields. They were
often referred to as "coolies",
working under a leader known as "Sardaar". They were mostly
Bhojpuri-speaking areas (including both
Muslims) but to a much lesser extent from regions such as
Telugus came some decades before, probably brought by the
French, as skilled workers.
AAfter the abandonment of the indentured labour system in
Mauritius, Indian immigrants had already formed the majority of the
population of the island, but there were latter waves of immigrants
to complement them. These immigrants came from all over India, with
people from pondichery(south India)came during the french period (i.e
a century before the British) for the construction of the city of
Port-louis and construction of Churches, mosques and Kovils. They are
known to be the first people to bring hinduism in the island.
Since the early 1900s,
a title="Sikh" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh">Sikh
and their families began arriving in Mauritius. These people have
contributed significantly to Mauritius' economy and knowledge.
Demographics and Indo-Mauritians Today
Today the population can be broken down into three main groups:
Christians. Of the entire Indo-Mauritian population,
North Indian Hindus compose 52%,
South Indian Hindus another quarter, and the Muslims (from any
part of India) forming most of the the remaining population. There
are also minorities, such as
Hare Krishnas (became popular throughout the 1970s) and
non-religious. A small and unspecified population are also
followers of the
Bahá'í Faith. There is also a small Buddhist population.
Hindus tend to follow the Indian Caste system to a certain
extent, though, because of their relatively small population in
comparison to India, the system has become less complex and in some
cases completely overlooked.
There is a Sikh Gurudwara in Port Louis, named Sri Guru Singh
Sabha. It is the only major Gurudwara in Mauritius. Most Sikhs
outside Port Louis pray at home. Several Mosques and Temples also
exist throughout the island. Indian-dominated churches are mostly
based in southern Mauritius.
There are also small groups of Indo-Mauritians in Rodrigues,
locally known as Indo-Rodriguans. The population on the main island
has increased by the arrival of the
Chagossians of Indian origian, although they are classed as
"other" under the national census.
Most Indo-Mauritians speak Creole. The remaining population speak
Telugu. Out of the whole population, 0.6% of Indo-Mauritians do
Creole. However, because most Mauritians are multilingual, most
of the Indo-Mauritians speak both Creole and at least one (if not
more) Indian Language, plus English and French.
Indo-Mauritians have had the largest impact on Mauritian life
dominating the economic and political faces of the island. Most
Hindu celebrations are public holidays. Indian food and ingredients
are enjoyed by all ethnic groups, with Alouda, Dhol Puri,
Carri (curry) being some of the most well-known dishes.
Indian influenced music is also strong. The island has its own
groups of Bhojpuri singers and this style is becoming as popular as
the Sega. Bhojpuri as well as Bollywood and
Bhangra are some of the most popular genres of music.
Football is the most popular sport amongst Indo-Mauritians.
Vikash Dhorasoo is of Indo-Mauritian origin, with his family
originally hailing from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
He made his international debut in
2006 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first person of Indian origin
to be in the World Cup.
Indo-Mauritians also enjoy Horse-racing,
Water-Skiing, and various other
water sports as well as
Indo-Mauritian family life was portrayed in 2005
Dil Jo Bhi Kahey with
Amitabh Bachchan in lead role.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republic of Mauritius
République de Maurice
Motto: "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici" (Latin)
"Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
(and largest city)
Recognised regional languages
||French, Mauritian Creole,
English, Malagasy, Portuguese
2,040 km² (179th)
787 sq mi
||1,264,866 2 (151st)
||$16.0 billion (119th)
0.804 (high) (65th)
estimate is for the whole republic. For the island of
Mauritius only, as at 31 December 2007, it is
Mauritius (pronounced: IPA:
French: L’île Maurice
Mauritian Creole: Maurice), officially the Republic of
French: République de Maurice,
island nation off the coast of the
African continent in the southwest
Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560
Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the
republic includes the islands of
Rodrigues and the
Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the
Mascarene Islands, with the
Réunion 200 km (125 mi) to the southwest and the island of
Rodrigues 570 km to the northeast. Mauritius has a very mixed
culture as it was once owned by the French and then the British.
The island of Mauritius is renowned as the only known home of the
The first record of Mauritius comes from
Dravidian(tamil people) and
as early as the 10th century.
Portuguese sailors first visited it in 1507 and established a
visiting base leaving the island uninhabited. Three ships of the
Dutch Second Fleet that were sent to the
Spice Islands were blown off course during a cyclone and landed
on the island in 1598, naming it in honour of Prince
Maurice of Nassau, the
Stadtholder of the Netherlands.
 In 1638, the Dutch
established the first permanent settlement. Because of tough
climatic conditions including cyclones and the deterioration of the
settlement, the Dutch abandoned the island some decades later.
France, which already controlled the neighbouring Île Bourbon (now
Réunion) seized Mauritius in 1715 and later renamed it Île de
France (Isle of France). Under French rule, the island developed
a prosperous economy based on sugar production. This economic
transformation was initiated in part by governor François Mahé de
During their numerous military conflicts with
Great Britain, the French harboured the outlawed "corsairs"
pirates) who frequently took British vessels as they sailed
between India and Britain, laden with valuable trade goods. In the
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) the British set out to gain control
of the island. Despite winning the
Battle of Grand Port, Napoleon's only naval victory over the
British, the French lost to the British at Cap Malheureux three
months later. They formally surrendered on 3 December 1810, on terms
allowing settlers to keep their land and property and to use the
French language and
law of France in criminal and civil matters. Under British rule,
the island's name reverted to the original Mauritius.
In 1965, the United Kingdom split the
Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius to create the
British Indian Ocean Territory in order to use the strategic
islands for defence purposes in co-operation with the
United States. Although the Government of Mauritius agreed to
the move at the time, subsequent administrations have laid
claim to the islands stating that the divestment was illegal under
international law, a claim recognised by the
A postcard c.1900-1910 showing the Port Louis theatre.
Mauritius attained independence in 1968 and the country became a
republic within the Commonwealth in 1992. Mauritius has been a
democracy with regular free elections and a positive human
and has attracted considerable foreign investment earning one of
highest per capita incomes.
Mauritius is a parliamentary democracy similar in structure to
head of state of Mauritius is the
President, who is elected for a five-year term by the
National Assembly, the
unicameral Mauritian parliament. The National Assembly consists
of 62 members elected directly by popular vote, with between four
and eight further members appointed from "best losers" election
candidates to represent ethnic minorities, if under represented
after the elections. The government is headed by the
prime minister and a council of ministers.
The Government is elected on a five-year basis. The most recent
general elections took place on
all the 20 mainland constituencies, as well as the constituency
covering the island of
Historically, elections have always had a tendency to adhere to a
system comprising two major coalitions of parties.
In international affairs, Mauritius is part of the
Indian Ocean Commission, the
Southern African Development Community and the
Commonwealth of Nations and
La Francophonie (French speaking countries) amongst others. A
more complete list can be found in the main
Politics of Mauritius article.
In 2006, Mauritius asked to be an observing member of
Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) in order to
become closer to those countries.
Mauritius does not have a standing army but it does have an
military structure (like Coast Guard officers) and does have
security and police forces.
Districts and dependencies
The island of Mauritius itself is divided into nine
Black River (Capital:
Centre de Flacq)
Grand Port (Capital:
Plaines Wilhems (Capital:
Port Louis (Capital of Mauritius)
Rivière du Rempart (Capital:
Rodrigues, an island 560 kilometres north-east of Mauritius,
which attained limited autonomy in October 2002.
It had the status of the 10th administrative district of
Mauritius before autonomy was attained.
Agalega, two small islands about 933 kilometres (580 mi)
north of Mauritius.
Cargados Carajos Shoals, also known as the Saint Brandon
islands, about 402 kilometres (250 mi) north of Mauritius.
Other Mauritian territories
Mauritius also claims the following territories:
Rodrigues, Mauritius is part of the
Mascarene Islands. This
archipelago was formed in a series of undersea
volcanic eruptions, as the
African plate drifted over the
Réunion hotspot. They are no longer volcanically active, and the
hotspot now rests under Réunion. The island of Mauritius itself is
formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the
Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres (2,717
ft). Around the plateau, the original crater can still be
distinguished from several mountains.
Satellite image of Mauritius, February 2003, with traced
outline of island.
climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is
a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot, wet, and humid
summer from November to May.
Anti-cyclones affect the country during May to September.
Cyclones affect the country during November-April.
Hollanda (1994) and Dina (2002) were the worst two last cyclones
to have affected the island.
The island's capital and largest city is
Port Louis, in the northwest. Other important towns are
The island is well known for its natural beauty. Author
Mark Twain, for example, noted in
Following the Equator, his personal travelogue, "You gather
the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that
heaven was copied after Mauritius". (This quote is often taken out
of context. Twain actually wrote: "From one citizen you gather the
idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven
was copied after Mauritius. Another one tells you that this is an
Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a
agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified
economy with growing industrial, financial, and
tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been
of the order of 5% to 6%. This has been reflected in increased life
expectancy, lowered infant mortality and an improved
Estimated at US$10,155 for 2005 at
purchasing power parity (PPP),
Mauritius has the seventh-highest
GDP per capita i in Africa, behind
Réunion (US$19,233 at real exchange rates),
Seychelles (US$13,887 at PPP),
(US$12,742 at PPP),
Botswana (US$12,057 at PPP),
Equatorial Guinea (US$11,999 at PPP), and
(US$10,727 at PPP).
The economy is mainly dependent on sugarcane plantations, tourism,
textiles, and services, but other sectors are rapidly developing as
well. Mauritius, Libya, and Seychelles are the only three African
nations with a "high"
Human Development Index rating (Réunion, as part of
is not listed by the UN in their Human Development Index ranking).
Sugar cane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and
accounts for 25% of export earnings. However, a record-setting
drought severely damaged the sugar crop in 1999. The government's
development strategy centres on foreign investment. Mauritius has
attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities; many aimed at commerce
South Africa while investment in the
banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Economic
performance during the period from 2000 through 2004 combined strong
economic growth with unemployment at 7.6% in December 2004.
is the country's biggest trading partner, has close ties with the
country, and provides technical assistance in various forms.
In order to provide locals with access to imports at lower prices
and attract more tourists going to
Mauritius is gearing towards becoming a
duty-free island within the next four years. Duty has been
eliminated for several products and decreased for more than 1850
products including clothing, food, jewelry, photographic equipment,
audio visual equipment and lighting equipment.
In addition, reforms aimed at attracting new business opportunities
have also been implemented. Recently, in the 2007-2008 budget,
Rama Sithanen reduced the corporate tax to 15% . The British American Investment
Company represents Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Saab car
sales in Mauritius.
A plan by ADB Networks calls for Mauritius to become the first
nation to have coast-to-coast
internet access. The wireless hot spot currently covers about
60% of the island and is accessible by about 70% of its population.
Mauritius ranks first in respect of
FDI inflows to India amongst all the countries, with cumulative
inflows amounting to US$10.98 billion. The top sectors attracting
FDI inflows from Mauritius between January 2000 and December 2005
are electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and
gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial).
Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic
groups. A majority of the republic's residents are the descendants
of people from many different places including Africa, India,
France, Great Britain, Australia and many more. Many of the people
have mixed ethnic origins.
The official language of Mauritius is
English. All government administrative documents are therefore
drawn up in English. Together with English, French is also used in
instruction in the educational system.
French, however, predominates in the media, both broadcast and
printed, as well as in business and in corporate affairs.
The most widely-spoken language of the country is
Mauritian Creole, which has close ties with French
pronunciation, but with a few marked differences, too. Mauritian
Creole is considered to be the native tongue of the country.
There are a lot of different religious in Mauritius.The Largest
Hinduism with a total of 52%,Roman catholism (27%),Islam(14.4%),Bhuddism(3%)and
Cuisine of Mauritius is very mixed; Creole food, European Food,
Indian food, Chinese food and a mixture of all of them. Mauritius is
known for its delicious food.
The production of
widespread on the island. Sugarcane was first introduced to
Mauritius by the Dutch in 1638. The Dutch mainly cultivated
sugarcane for the production of "arrack",
a precursor to rum. However, it was during the French and British
administrations that sugar production was fully exploited, which
considerably contributed to the economical development of the
island. Pierre Charles François Harel was the
first to propose the concept of local distillation of rum in
Mauritius, in 1850.
sega is a local folklore music. Sega has African roots, and
main traditional instruments for producing the music are goat-skin
percussion instruments called ravane and metallic clicks
trianglesa>. The songs usually describe the miseries of
slavery, and has been adapted nowadays as social satires to voice
out inequalities as felt by the blacks. Men are usually at the
instruments while women perform an accompanying dance. Shows are
regularly hosted in the coastal hotels.
Mauritius was the only known habitat of the extinct
In 1847, Mauritius became the fifth location in the world to
postage stamps. The two types of stamps issued then, known as
Mauritius "Post Office" stamps, consisting of a "Red Penny"
and a "Blue Two Pence" denomination, are probably the most famous
and valuable stamps in the world.
When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a
previously unknown species of bird, which the Portuguese named the
(simpleton), as they appeared to be not too bright. However, by
1681, all dodos had been killed by the settlers or by their
domesticated animals. An alternate theory suggests that the
wild boars that were set free destroyed the slow-breeding dodo
population. Nevertheless, the dodo is prominently featured as a
supporter of the national
coat-of-arms (see above).
The island has also given rise to a diversified literature,
prominent in the French, English, and Creole languages.
- This page was last modified on 15 September 2008, at 17:10.
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