Mauritius: Places of worship

Melting pot! Mosaic Island! Multicultural island!

So many expressions to describe one of the greatest treasures of Mauritius: an ethnic pluralism that makes it an exceptional island. An island with “ras melanze” (mixed races), a cultural diversity whose roots originate from all over the world: Africa, Europe, Asia.

This population with Indian, African, European, Chinese … descendants constitutes an extraordinary melting-pot which includes culture, world cuisine but also religious beliefs and its rituals. Our people rub shoulders respectfully and sometimes participate in religious festivals even if they are of different beliefs.

This is why there are across the island various places of worship of different faiths, and very often, located next to each other. Pagodas, kovils, churches, temples, mosques decorate the landscape in towns and villages. It’s a must to stop at one of those sanctuaries of diverse architecture, displaying in some cases, bright colors, for others more sobriety, especially the must-see sites which are testimonies of our rich history dating back several centuries.

Here are some unique historical places of worship highlighting the diversity of Mauritius.

Jummah Mosque in the heart of Port-Louis, dating from the 1850s, is a place of worship for Mauritians of Muslim faith. The architecture is a beautiful mix of Indian, Creole and Islamic.

The Evangelist St John Church in Moka dating from 1850.

The Kwan Tee Pagoda dates from 1842 and is located at Les Salines. It is the oldest on the island and in the southern hemisphere also.

The Catholic St Louis’ Cathedral, in the centre of the capital city, Port-Louis, is the oldest Catholic church on the island. The first cathedral was built between 1752 and 1756, and, following several cyclones, the last version was erected between 1930 and 1933, to finish with a restoration in 2007.

The Arulmigu Sockalingum Meenatchee Ammen Tirukkovil, located in the suburbs of Port-Louis, in Sainte Croix, commonly called Kaylasson, built in 1854 and, consecrated in 1860, is a magnificent temple with fascinating sculptures and paintings, dedicated to Hindus settlers from Madras.

Maheswarnath Mandir is one of the largest Hindu temples, located in Triolet in the north of the island, founded in 1888 by a pandit (Hindu priest) from Calcutta, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Among the oldest, we also find the Hindu temple located at Bon Espoir Piton (1830), Sinatambou Kovil at Terre Rouge (1850), Murugan Kovil at Clemencia (1856), Shivala at Gokoolah (1867), Rameshwarnath Shivala at Terre Rouge (1867) and Jharnath Shivala at Adventure (1881).

So many interesting sites to visit. When traveling across multicultural Mauritius, stop for a short visit. If, by any chance, you do not feel any inner peace, you will have discovered, for the least, a part of the rich religious history of our beautiful island.


Mauritius: A traditional Hindu wedding – Part 2
Mauritius - Memories of the past : The surprising washouse