Posted by Vishva News Reporter on February 22, 2004

 shiv-Daev AND paaARvti-Daevi

FROM HINDUISM TODAY: MAURITIUS, February 13, 2004: faagAN suD 13, svNt 2060

"National Unity and Harmony -- that is the essential message that we wish to express throughout the country on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri" says Rajendra Ramdheean of the Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation (MSDTF), the main organizer of the annual pilgrimage to the Ganga Talao at Grand-Bassin, a large natural lake considered the Ganges of Mauritius.

This year, the week-long festivities will be broadcast to 162 countries by Aastha Television of Bombay between the 14th and 18th of February, 2004 -  thanks to the collaboration of the Hindu House, Mauritius Telecom, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) and the government of Mauritius. The US two million dollar expense of this production will be divided between the government and these organizations. Virendra Ramdhun, president of the Hindu House, says that this is the second time that this television station has broadcast a religious activity celebrated in Mauritius. The first one took place in 2001 at the time of the celebration of Ram Kathaa by the Hindu House....

Please continue reading this amazing lifestyle phenomenon continuing in a tiny veDik community in the island of Mauritius of the east coast of Africa and located some 3000 miles from the cradle of veDik civilization called bhaart or India.....

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 traffic.

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.


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