A new prayer paying homage to the Goddess Ganga is to be introduced as part of
the celebrations this year. The Ganga Aarti will be done at 5:45 PM everyday
between the 15 and 17th on the shore of the Grand Bassin lake.
Two cultural troops from India (one directed by the famous classical singer
Savita Devi and the other by Rajendra Jain, who lent his voice for the televised
series Ramayana of Ramanand Sagar) will give dance and song recitals in the days
leading up to Maha Sivaratri. They will appear at Hindu House on February 16, at
Grand-Bassin on the 17th and at other locations around the island.
The MSDTF expects some 450,000 pilgrims (including some from India, South
Africa, Singapore and Malaysia) to converge on the holy mountain lake at Grand-Bassin
this year -- this in a country with just 1.2 million people.
It counsels all pilgrims to follow the sacred prescriptions governing this
pilgrimage and observe strict discipline on the road. In fact, the Maha
Sivaratri pilgrimage usually causes enormous bottlenecks and traffic jams on the
roads of the country in spite of the efforts of the police to regulate the
The MSDTF considers that the kanwars (decorated bamboo towers) carried by the
pilgrims (or decorated carts pulled by groups) as an act of penance, are not the
only persons to blame. "Itinerant merchants posted alongside the roads selling
religious items to the pilgrims are also at fault.
We ask the regional administrations exercise a strict check," explains Samraj
Auckloo, vice president of the MSDTF.
As in preceding years, the organization at Cassis will welcome pilgrims to
stop for refreshments at its big tent erected along the pilgrimage route. At the
Hindu House, meals will also be served to more than 15,000 pilgrims, estimate
the persons in charge.