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Places Of Interest

The Entrance of Blue Penny Museum

Mauritius has a bit of everything, from nature to history and culture. Some aspects are unique in the world including endemic birds and plants, the oldest horse race track in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest Hindu pilgrimage outside India, “Maha Shivaratri”.

There are more historical sites such as the museum for the Blue Penny post stamp, the UNESCO World Heritage sites Le Morne and Aapravasi Ghat. Nature sites include Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve, Valley de Ferney and Black River Gorges National park. There are also cultural sites such as the Rault Biscuit Factory, the Jummah mosque and markets places in Port Louis. In other words, there many places of interest on the island of Mauritius!

On the less well-known sister island Rodrigues, visitors should consider visiting Port Mathurin, Ile aux Cocos and Caverne Patate.

In the shade of centuries-old orchards, the “Château de Labourdonnais”, built between 1856 and 1859 by Christian Wiehe and beautifully restored between 2006 and 2010, traces the footsteps of a family who lived in a bygone era. This privately owned estate known as “Domaine de Labourdonnais” was founded in 1774 and encompasses a magnificent 5540 hectares of land bordered by lush sugar cane fields in the north of the island, just 20 minutes from the capital Port Louis. The grand mansion is a monument of history and since its conversion into a museum, invites visitors to discover the nineteenth century Mauritian lifestyle.

The means used to take the visitor on this journey has been carefully worked out and in addition to old documents on display, original tolls and equipment also form part of the décor. An old counter that was once in the post office of Curepipe takes the visitor back in time. The museum not only hinges on pure philately but also on the passionate lives of people who have been delivering good and bad news to the population through newspapers and mail. You will see the most common means of transport of the postman, still used today, the bicycle, on display along with the uniforms they used to wear which have been mounted on mannequins.

18th September 1598: the history of this gem of the Indian Ocean begins with the disembarka­tion of the first Dutch settlers in the South East of Mauritius, at the village of Ferney.

25th November 2006: a wonderful preservation and restoration project opens its doors to the public on the valley and forest of Ferney created by the uns­hakable determination of the CIEL group and the cooperation of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) and the local authorities.
Beyond these symbolical dates, part of a chapter of a nation's history unfurls over centuries with its natural heritage and reveals itself to the enchanted eyes of the visitor.

On the way to Père Laval's shrine you pass the wonderfully ornate Tamil Kaylasson temple.

The large complex is an extravaganza of colourful domes and carved gods on different tiers, around the intricately-carved, multi-hued roof. The flashes of gold and strong blues make a dazzling contrast with the green backdrop of the Moka mountains and the colours inside are equally striking.

A good time to visit, providing you are not squeamish, is during Cavadee, when the whole area around the complex fills with penitents praying and piercing their bodies. Friends and family take skewers and needles from battered tins before inserting them into the pilgrims' cheeks, chests, backs and arms in an elaborate design. The tongue is pierced last and, after prayers and celebrations in the temple, the pilgrims, many of whom are by now in a trance proceed to the fire-walking.

Cavadee, which takes place in January or February, is one of the most spectacular events in the Tamil calendar with this religious festivals taking place throughout the island.

The Caudan Waterfront is so named for a famous figure of the French colonial past of the island. Jean Dominique Michel de Caudan, came to the Ile de France from Languedoc (a department in the South of France). A historical site, the peninsula called “Le Caudan” was created around a fossil coral islet, and has since hosted a gunpowder house, an astronomy and meteorological observatory, quays, warehouses, various small enterprises over the last 250 years.