Posted by Vishva News Reporter on September 15, 2008


Murugan slaying the demon Surapadman
Lord Murugan slaying the demon Surapadman

Tamil Mauritians Celebrate
The 30 year Long Awaited Inauguration Of
Mururga Temple
Map of MauritiusLocation of Mauritius
Hinduism Today: 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 Maha 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 Mauritius.

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.

To that 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 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".

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 vEDik cultures in the lands of India where Mandir originated as part of vEDik lifestyle 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.....

 Tamil community from Pondichery (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......




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Lord Murugan (Kartikeya)
This content has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. You can comment on its removal.
God of War
Tamil script ???????
Affiliation Deva
Abode Kailasa
Weapon Bow, Vel
Consort Valli and Devayani
Mount Peacock
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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. But in Sri Lanka, Hindus 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[1].

Lord Murugan is more popular in South India compared to other parts of India. Like most Hindu deities, He 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)[2], Subrahma?ya, Vela? and Swaminatha[3]. 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 Mricchakatika. The 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 Ikshvakus, an Andhra dynasty, and the Guptas.[4] 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.

Contents/h2> [hide]

[edit] Sanskrit literature

Murugan slaying the demon Surapadman
Murugan slaying the demon Surapadman

Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated herself at the Daksha Yagna, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Sati was reborn as Uma, or 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 instantly.

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 Lord.

[a title="Edit section: Hindu epics" href="">edit] Hindu epics

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 Svaha, 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 Asura Mahisha.[5] (In later mythology, Mahisha became the adversary of Durga.) Indra 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.

The Ramayana version is closer to the stories told in the Puranas discussed below.

Raja Ravi Varma's impression
Raja Ravi Varma's impression

[edit] Vedas

The Atharva Veda describes Kumaran as 'Agnibhuh' or son of Agni, the fire god. The Satapatha Brahmana refers to him as the son of Rudra 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.[6]/a>

[edit] Puranas

Though slightly varying versions occur in the Puranas, they broadly follow the same pattern. By this period, the identification of Shiva/Rudra with Agni, that can be traced back to the Vedas and Brahmanas, had clearly made Karthikeya the son of Shiva.

The 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 rishis. Taraka 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 known as 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")

[edit] Sangam literature

Image:Tirutani murugan.jpg
Classical Tamil representation of Murugan with Deivanai and Valli
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Tamil 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 worship in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Malaysia. Murugu was believed to hold power over the chaotic and could be appeased by sacrifices and Veriyaattu to bring order and prosperity.

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 Tamils."[7]. 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 Paripaatal, the Akananuru and the Purananuru.

One poem in the Paripaatal describes the veneration of Murugan thus:

"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.[8] According to noted epigraphist 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.

[edit] Tamil liturgy

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 lance by his mother in order to vanquish the demons. 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 connotes Mangala, the god of planet Mars and war. This reveals the link between Skanda and Kujan (Mangala).

[edit] Symbolism

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.

[edit] Worship through ages

Coin of the Yaudheyas with depiction of Karttikeya.
Coin of the Yaudheyas with depiction of Karttikeya.

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 war."

Kartikeya's presence in the religious and cultural sphere can be seen at least from the Gupta age. Two of the Gupta kings, Kumaragupta and Skandagupta, were named after him. He is seen in the Gupta sculptures and in the temples of Ellora and 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 Kathasaritsagara. Kalidasa made the birth of Kumara the subject of a lyrical epic, the Kumaarasambhavam.

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 town of Pehowa in 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 Pehowa town of Haryana because this shrine celebrates the Brahmachari form of Kartikeya. Reminders of former devotions to him include a temple at Achaleshwar, near Batala in Punjab, and another temple of Skanda atop the Parvati hill in Pune, Maharashtra. Another vestige of his former popularity can be seen in Bengal, where he is worshipped during the Durga Puja festivities alongside Durga.

[edit] Popularity in Tamil Nadu

In 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 of Kanchipuram. (He was a scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit literature, and a votary of the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy.)

He is married to two deities, Valli, a daughter of a tribal chief and 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 mother, Parvati, and embodies her energy and power. The flag of his army depicts a 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 rooster.

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 of Vishnu.

Lord Subramanya is the major deity among the Thiyyas of northern Kerala.

Lord Subramanya is worshipped with utmost devotion in districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the state of Karnataka. Rituals like nagaradhane are unique to this region.

[edit] Puranic Stories

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.

[edit] Worship

[edit] Major temples

Murugan Icons carried in procession during Thaipusam at Batu Caves.
Murugan Icons carried in procession during Thaipusam 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) - Thiruchendur, Swamimalai, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparangunram, Palani (Pazhani), Thiruthani - and other important shrines like Mayilam, Sikkal, Marudamalai, Kundrathur, Vadapalani, Kandakottam, Vallakottai, Vayalur, Thirumalaikoil, Vella Kovil, Kukke Subramanya. Malai Mandir, a prominent and popular temple complex in Delhi, is one of the few dedicated to Murugan in all of North India apart from the famous Pehowa temple in Haryana.

There are innumerable temples dedicated to Lord Subramanya in Kerala. Amongst them , the most important ones are Subramanya temple in Haripad, Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Swamy temple in Kottayam.

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.

In Australia, Sydney Murugan temple in Parramatta (Mays Hill) is a major Hindu temple for all Australian Hindus.

[edit] Worship in Sri Lanka

Kartikeya or Murugan is adored by both Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists in 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 temples in Jaffna. 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 tooth in 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.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Rare Sri Lankan idol recovered", BBC News (11 June, 2008). 
  2. ^ Clothey p.49 Skanda is derived from the verb skan?r meaning "to attack, leap, rise, fall, be spilled, ooze"
  3. ^ Many Faces of Murakan: The History and Meaning of a South Indian God By Fred W. Clothey p.1 [1]
  4. ^ Ratna Navaratnam ; Karttikeya, the divine child:the Hindu testament of wisdom published in 1973 by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  5. ^ Mahabharata, Aranyaka Parva, Section 230 of the vulgate translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883-1896 )
  6. ^ Ratna Navaratnam ; Karttikeya, the divine child:the Hindu testament of wisdom published in 1973 by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  7. ^ Kanchan Sinha, Kartikeya in Indian art and literature, 1979,Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan.
  8. ^ "Muruga in Indus Script" - a note by the renowned epigraphist, Iravatham Mahadevan.

[edit] External links


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Flag of India Flag of Mauritius
Total population


Regions with significant populations
Port Louis, , Triolet, Vacoas, title="Rose-Hill" style="text-decoration: none; color: #002bb8; background: none;" href=""> Rose Hill
Creole, English, French, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, others
Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Spiritualist, non-religious
Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin, Desi

Indo-Mauritians are people of Indian descent living on the island of Mauritius, where they represent a majority comprising 68% of the population according to the July 2007 statistics[1].



[edit] Indentured Labourers

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 immigrants from Bhojpuri-speaking areas (including both Hindus and Muslims) but to a much lesser extent from regions such as Gujarat and Bombay. Some Tamils and Telugus came some decades before, probably brought by the French, as skilled workers.

[edit] Later Immigrants

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 most being Hindus. Tamil 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="">Sikh doctors, businessmen, lawyers, scientists and traders and their families began arriving in Mauritius. These people have contributed significantly to Mauritius' economy and knowledge.

[edit] Demographics and Indo-Mauritians Today

Today the population can be broken down into three main groups: Hindus,Muslims and 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 Sikhs, Christians, 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 Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Tamil or Telugu. Out of the whole population, 0.6% of Indo-Mauritians do not speak 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.

Prominent Indo-Mauritians
Indo-Mauritian Birth year Death year Description
Dookhee Gungah 1867 1944 philanthropist, social worker, benevolent entrepreneur, pioneer of free education in Mauritius
Seewoosagur Ramgoolam 1900 1985 first Prime Minister and one of the three founding fathers of Independent Mauritius
Sookdeo Bissoondoyal 1908 1977 politician and one of the three founding fathers of independent Mauritius.
Anerood Jugnauth 1930 alive current President of Mauritius.
Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay 1945 alive chief justice.
Navin Ramgoolam 1947 alive current Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Vikash Dhorasoo 1973 alive Mauritian-French football player.
Abdool Razack Mohamed 1906 1978 born in Calcutta, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Mayor of Port Louis

[edit] Sports

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, Golf, Water-Skiing, and various other water sports as well as Cricket.

[edit] Popular culture

Indo-Mauritian family life was portrayed in 2005 Hindi film Dil Jo Bhi Kahey with Amitabh Bachchan in lead role.



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Republic of Mauritius
République de Maurice
Flag of Mauritius Coat of arms of Mauritius
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Stella Clavisque Maris Indici"  (Latin)
"Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
(and largest city)
Port Louis
20°10'S, 57°31'E
Official languages English1
Recognised regional languages French, Mauritian Creole, English, Malagasy, Portuguese
Demonym Mauritian
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Anerood Jugnauth
 -  Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Date March 12, 1974 
 -  Republic March 12, 1992 
 -  Total 2,040 km² (179th)
787 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.05
 -  2007 estimate 1,264,866 2 (151st)
 -  Density 616/km² (18th)
1,564/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
 -  Total $16.0 billion (119th)
 -  Per capita $13,703 (51st)
HDI (2004) ? 0.804 (high) (65th)
Currency Mauritian rupee
Time zone MUT (UTC+4)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+5[1])
Internet TLD .mu
Calling code +230
1 [2][3]
2 The population estimate is for the whole republic. For the island of Mauritius only, as at 31 December 2007, it is 1,227,078[4]

Mauritius (pronounced: IPA: /m?'r???s/; French: L’île Maurice /il m?'?is/; Mauritian Creole: Maurice), officially the Republic of Mauritius, French: République de Maurice, is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the republic includes the islands of St. Brandon, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of 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 dodo.



[edit] History

Main article: History of Mauritius

The first record of Mauritius comes from Dravidian(tamil people) and Austronesian sailors as early as the 10th century.[5] The Portuguese sailors first visited it in 1507 and established a visiting base leaving the island uninhabited. Three ships of the eight 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.[6] [7] 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 Labourdonnais.

During their numerous military conflicts with Great Britain, the French harboured the outlawed "corsairs" (privateers or 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,[citation needed] subsequent administrations have laid claim to the islands stating that the divestment was illegal under international law, a claim recognised by the United Nations.[citation needed]

A postcard c.1900-1910 showing the Port Louis theatre.
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 stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record,[8] and has attracted considerable foreign investment earning one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.[9] Jojoc

[edit] Politics

Mauritius is a parliamentary democracy similar in structure to the United Kingdom.[10] The 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 3 July 2005 in all the 20 mainland constituencies, as well as the constituency covering the island of Rodrigues.

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.[11]

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.

[edit] Districts and dependencies

The island of Mauritius itself is divided into nine districts:

  1. Black River (Capital: Bambous)
  2. Flacq (Capital: Centre de Flacq)
  3. Grand Port (Capital: Mahebourg)
  4. Moka (Capital: Quartier Militaire)
  5. Pamplemousses (Capital: Triolet)
  6. Plaines Wilhems (Capital: Rose Hill/ Curepipe)
  7. Port Louis (Capital of Mauritius)
  8. Rivière du Rempart (Capital: Mapou)
  9. Savanne (Capital: Souillac)

[edit] Dependencies

  • Rodrigues, an island 560 kilometres north-east of Mauritius, which attained limited autonomy in October 2002.[12][13] It had the status of the 10th administrative district of Mauritius before autonomy was attained.[14]
  • 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.

[edit] Other Mauritian territories

Mauritius also claims the following territories:[15]

[edit] Geography

Map of Mauritius
Map of Mauritius

Together with Réunion and 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 southwest, 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.
Satellite image of Mauritius, February 2003, with traced outline of island.

The local 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 Curepipe, Vacoas, Phoenix, Quatre Bornes, Rose-Hill and Beau-Bassin .

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 exaggeration…")

[edit] Economy

Skyline of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius.
Skyline of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius.
Main article: Economy of Mauritius

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, 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 infrastructure.

Estimated at US$10,155 for 2005 at purchasing power parity (PPP),[16] Mauritius has the seventh-highest GDP per capita i in Africa, behind Réunion (US$19,233 at real exchange rates),[17] Seychelles (US$13,887 at PPP), Gabon (US$12,742 at PPP), Botswana (US$12,057 at PPP), Equatorial Guinea (US$11,999 at PPP), and Libya (US$10,727 at PPP).[16] 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 France, 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 in India and 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. France 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 Singapore and Dubai, 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.[18] In addition, reforms aimed at attracting new business opportunities have also been implemented. Recently, in the 2007-2008 budget, Finance Minister Rama Sithanen reduced the corporate tax to 15%[>citation needed]. The British American Investment Company represents Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Saab car sales in Mauritius.[19]

A plan by ADB Networks calls for Mauritius to become the first nation to have coast-to-coast wireless 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).[20]

[edit] Demographics

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.

[edit] Language

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.

[edit] Religion

There are a lot of different religious in Mauritius.The Largest remains Hinduism with a total of 52%,Roman catholism (27%),Islam(14.4%),Bhuddism(3%)and Atheists (3.6%).

[edit] Culture

Main article: Culture of Mauritius

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 rum is 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.[citation needed] Pierre Charles François Harel was the first to propose the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius, in 1850.

The 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 using metal 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.[citation needed]]

Mauritius was the only known habitat of the extinct Dodo bird.
Mauritius was the only known habitat of the extinct Dodo bird.

In 1847, Mauritius became the fifth location in the world to issue postage stamps. The two types of stamps issued then, known as the 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 dodo (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 imported 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.[citation needed]

[edit] International rankings

Organisation Survey Ranking
Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal 2008 Index of Economic Freedom 18 out of 157
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index (2007) 25 out of 169
Transparency International 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index 2007 553 out of 179
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 65 out of 177

[edit] See also

v  d  e
Flag of Mauritius Mauritius topics
Coat of arms of Mauritius
  • This page was last modified on 15 September 2008, at 17:10.


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