Grand Bassin, or Ganga Talao, is a vast lake carved out of a crater in the west of Mauritius, and is considered by many to be the most sacred Hindu site in Mauritius. The lake is relatively deep, around 50-55 feet deep, and is surrounded by gorgeous views that contribute to the lake’s serenity.
It is also surrounded by numerous colorful temples and icons of Hindus Gods and Goddesses, and every year during the festivals, it hosts a massive fair. The locals participate in this pilgrimage, visiting the lake once a year to give their prayers to the Lord.
If you’ve been thinking about visiting this sacred lake, keep reading to learn more.
History Of Grand Bassin
Pandit Jhummon Giri Gossagne Napal, who resided in the village of Triolet in the north of the island, found Grand Bassin. The Hindu priest had a dream in which he saw a holy lake connected to India’s sacred river, the Ganges.
Roads were few and far between at the time. It was during 1897. The priest sought the sacred lake until he found it in Grand Bassin, where he recognized a lake from his dream.
The heavenly lake’s fame quickly spread, and pilgrims from all across the island began traveling to Grand Bassin the following year. Mauritius’ Grand Bassin has become one of the most significant Hindu pilgrimage destinations outside of India!
A priest from India brought holy water from the Ganges and poured it into the lake during a ceremony in 1972. From then on, the lake is known as Ganga Talao, Ganga for the Ganges, and ‘Talao’ meaning ‘pool’.
Significance Of Grand Bassin
This huge crater lake is surrounded by temples and divinity sculptures located in a remote hilly region, with impressive giant statues. For example, the Lord Shiva sculpture is an impressive 33 meters tall. The Hindu community believes that Ganga Talao allows the entire country to be hallowed and pious.
On Maha Shivaratri, a significant Hindu festival devoted to Lord Shiva that falls on the 13th day/14th night of the late winter lunisolar month (which is usually around February or March of the Gregorian Calendar), the island becomes a hub for festivity and celebration. Thousands of devotees brave the arduous journey over the rocky island to reach the sacred lake by foot, where they place handcrafted “kanwars,” or shrines, on the banks of the lake and offer prayers.
When To Visit Grand Bassin?
The lake is open for a public visit at all times of the day. However, the Ganga Talao temple remains open between 05.00 AM-12 PM and 01.00 PM-06.00 PM. The best time to visit the Ganga Talao in Mauritius is between the months of May and December. During this time, the weather is dry and sunny.
How To Visit Grand Bassin?
The fastest way to travel to the sacred lake when you are coming from the airport is by car, and it takes approximately 23 minutes to get there.
Or you can get there by bus. Take a bus from the Airport to Souillac then from Souillac you can take a cab to get there. It will take a little longer, around one hour.
You can get there from anywhere around the island, and it usually won’t take longer than two hours. Some tour guides have planned excursions there so you may try to contact one. If you’re not familiar with the area, you might be better off that way, so you have the opportunity to take in the sights on your way.
Let us know in the comments if you are planning to visit this cultural site during your visit to Mauritius.