- LIFE 320 Ecology
- NR 150 Oceanography (Section 2)
If you want to experience the unique cultural blend of Mauritius, this program begins with a visit to the octagonal Chinese pagoda. In its interior splendid red and golden decoration and thick clouds of incense await the visitor. On the altars the believers deliver oblations to their gods and their ancestors. Next, you will see Marie Reine de la Paix, a huge area of greenery on Signal Mountain with an open church overlooking the city of Port Louis. Erected in 1940, the Priest James Leen used to go here to pray for Mauritius to be spared during World War II. Since then it has become a place of great spiritual significance. Seven terraces interspersed with patches of flowers of all colors and 82 steps of hard rock lead to the church and a beautiful view of the city. One of the major events at the church was in 1989 when the Pope John Paul 2 visited the island and people from all over the country and of all nationalities gathered there to pray.
The trip continues to the Tamil Temple Kaylasson, a wonderfully ornate complex with colorful domes and carved gods on different tiers. The temple was built around 1854 according to the rules of Dravidian architecture for sacred buildings. The temple complex was built in the shape of a human body, with the main parts of the complex representing the heart and the brain. Every year since its construction, inhabitants of Port Louis go to Kaylasson temple where processions from the other temples in the region converge for the cavadee festival. Then visit the Hindu temple Maheswarath, one of the largest temple complexes in Mauritius. Built at the end of the 1850s, in honor of the Gods Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Brahma, Ganesha, and Muruga, the temple is an impressive site. The temple buildings are bright white and colorfully painted. At the entrance, right next to the parking lot, is one of the most beautiful banyan trees on the island. The temple complex, also known as the Shivala complex, consists of the main temple and several smaller buildings dedicated to various gods.
The last stop is at Labourdonnais ‘A chateau in a natural setting’ at the heart of a magnificent natural estate where you will discover the Mauritian life style in the 19th century during the colonial era. This grand mansion built in 1859 has been beautifully restored to regain its entire original splendor. After the visit you can stroll through the lush garden and old orchards to discover the richness of the domain with endemic plants and a wide variety fruit trees.
Lightweight clothing, comfortable shoes, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are advised. Leather shoes and belts should be removed when entering religious places.