There’s a fascinating multi-cultural heritage on the island of Mauritius, with a religious mix of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.
If you want a day away from the beach, there’s plenty of culture to discover on the island. Here’s a quick tour of the top temples and ruins to visit.
1. Balaclava Ruins
On the northwest coast of Mauritius, between Port Louis and Grand Baie are the Balaclava Ruins, just a few metres away from the Bay of Turtles.
The foundations of the fortress estate were laid down by the first French governor Mahé de Labourdonnais.
The ruins are set amidst tropical vegetation, and you can see the original sea walls of the fortress within the grounds of the Maritim Hotel.
2. The Triolet Shivala
The largest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, is found at Triolet Shivala in the North of Mauritius. Built in 1819, the temple honours the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Brahma, Ganesha and Muruga.
The Maha Shivarathri festival is celebrated here in February/March each year. There’s also a traditional early-morning Sunday market every week at the village.
3. Dutch Ruins
Set on high ground at Vieux Grand Port, you’ll find the oldest settlement in Mauritius, where the Dutch built their first fort. It’s regarded as a key part of Mauritian history and work is under way to further excavate the site.
4. Martello Towers
Five martello towers were built by the British in Mauritius, to defend their colony against the threat of attack by the French. In the early 1990s, the tower at La Preneuse in Black River was restored and protected as a national monument.
5. Ganga Talao at Grand Bassin
Ganga Talao is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites on Mauritius. Each year locals make their pilgrimage here during the Maha Shivaratri festival.